I’m going to be critical on my generation. I want to tell you that I hate doing this – and I do – but Farmer Jones might also tell you how much he dislikes bacon while he sells you a hog.
There are two very, VERY large issues affecting my generation in Montgomery County. The consequences spread far, but suicide and heroin abuse don’t hit a demo much harder than the one I represent. I won’t claim to have the answers today, but I’ll speak on both. A conversation is at worst a starting point.
Are there enough conversations? Do conversations do anything? I haven’t been affected by suicide – at least that I can recall. I had a friend in high school die under odd circumstances that I don’t think fit the broad definition of the act we’re talking about.
But I have had experience with addiction. I don’t think that’s a stretch to think many of us have. I’ve seen cousins, friends, extended family and the guy in the mirror deal with addiction. I only struggle with tobacco, but I’ve watched loved ones struggle with much worse.
I’ve seen people I love dearly succumb to drugs that I can’t fully fathom because I’ve never experienced them. Have you ever screamed at a brick wall? Try it. Tell it that it’s too dense and that it needs to adapt. That’s what it’s like talking to someone addicted to heroin and similar drugs. But the terrifying part about a human – which you don’t have to worry about when yelling at a brick wall – is that the human can choose to crumble. You can only tell a human he’s wrong so many times before he believes you. And humans, unlike brick walls, can choose to give way.
Some of you know how terrifying this dynamic is. You tell your family member that they’re going to die if they continue doing the drugs they’re doing, but if you tell them too much you’re worried they’ll kill themselves.
What do you do?
I assume that for most of the adults reading that last question you don’t have an answer . . . now imagine you’re 15. Imagine that you have all the strange problems that a 15 or 16 year old has - can you drive a standard transmission? On top of that, you have to deal with opioid addiction being widespread among family and peers and the balance between keeping yourself out of that world and bringing others out of it.
I told you that I don’t have the answers today. I also told you that I was going to be critical of my generation. Both are true – my generation is getting it wrong and the next one doesn’t seem to have a great grasp on things either. I’ve always heard that it’s best to ask for help when you see the failure rather than after you execute it.
So, is there an answer out there? Let’s hear it. The worst we can do is have a conversation, right?
Neil Burk is the Editor of The Paper of Montgomery County. He has spent his adult life in and around Crawfordsville, apart from a stint on the East Coast. His column appears periodically on Wednesdays in The Paper. He can be reached at neil@thepaper24-7.com or 260-433-8519.