The Opioid Crisis

“Grandpa is hauling out the opiates.”

Many in Europe seem not to have heard of fentanyl yet, the drug plaguing North America and threatening would be chill drug users across the continent.

It sounds horrifying and incredible at the same time, as the drug is apparently so powerful that it dwarfs the effects of crystal meth. Now two or three years ago, I would have thought crystal meth was about as nuts as you could get as far as endgame type drugs go. The kind of drug you only take when you retire or when you’re on your deathbed, just to see what all the hype is about.

But now there’s this fentanyl and it’s really changed my retirement party plans. Imagine all your friends and family ca. 2060, “grandpa is hauling out the opiates.”

All joking aside the opiate crisis is tragic. Drugs naturally impact poorer classes more widely and more negatively. That’s not because they somehow get better trips than rich people, it’s because they don’t enjoy backgrounds that allow occasional drug use. Some in society are privileged enough that because of class backgrounds they can freely enjoy drug abuse without worrying it is going to ruin life’s perspectives. Coming from higher classes, in most cases you can safely assume you will have the proper support networks to deal with an addiction. While drug problems can become serious, they won’t threaten you in the same way they threaten the most marginalized groups in our society.

Drugs are fun, and there is no disputing that. Anyone who’s ever taken MDMA knows that. They’re meant to be fun, too. But for a lot of folks drugs are act as an escape that ends up a trap, and if you are someone with very little money, children or a bigger family to take care of, drug use can really hurt you and marginalize you further.

The scary thing about fentanyl is that it takes regular drug abuse to another level. Traces of it show up in ecstasy and other drugs all across the continent, which is a very unfortunate reality in party scenes across North American cities. Even outside of them – I know a group of kids in a town of less than 1000 people where some of their cannabis, trafficked across the continent, was laced somewhere along the way with fentanyl. All the kids got sick, luckily no one died. How sickening is that though, that someone would put fentanyl in marijuana?

Apparently the naked eye cannot possibly gauge how much fentanyl will result in a fatal overdose or be a normal dose to get high. You actually need medical equipment to calculate a safe dose, so that is part of the reason why so many people are overdosing. Someone who is irretrievably addicted to crystal meth comes across fentanyl, they try it, and they are stuck using it essentially until they use too much, and they die.

Imagine if North American governments had progressive enough governments to legalize and regulate the whole corpus of drugs. People are going to use them anyway, and their circulation is only going to continue contributing the perpetuation of endemic poverty. Some sort of legal regime controlling and distributing drugs would offer a viable solution, and still allow people to inevitably use drugs. But instead of trying to gauge the proper dose yourself and potentially overdosing, you would have a medical professional charged with making sure you get high in a safe way and in a safe environment.