Gee: Those that love addicts know treatment is the only way forward

Apr 27, 2023, 1:36 PM | Updated: 3:54 pm

Addicts treatment...

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 06: A member of public walks through a lane near to a safe consumption van set up by Peter Krykant on November 6,2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. Peter, a recovering heroin addict and former drugs worker, has set up the drug consumption van where addicts can inject safely and take drugs under supervision. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Remember your first set of friends growing up? Mine just so happened to be my cousins. Derrell and Daniel were my best friends.

When I was about five years old, my dad would say, “Hey, we are gonna go to Derrell and Daniel’s house.” It was the equivalent of going to Disneyland.

I can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I can remember going to my cousin’s house at a really young age. Derrell was one year older, and Daniel was one year younger than me.

My grandmother (Mama Scott) lived there, along with my Aunt Darlene (Derrell and Daniel’s Mom). This was on the south side of Chicago in a complex called Parkway Gardens. It’s gone now, but back in the early 80s, there was a seesaw out front that I loved.

Gee on Nerf Wars: ‘Don’t do this in Gig Harbor if you look like me’

One of the main reasons I loved going over there is because of my Aunt Darlene. Ahh, she was (still is) the most beautiful woman. I’m telling you, she would walk into any room and would command attention. I don’t remember eating anything but fried chicken when I was there.

Let me be specific, she would make me chicken wings and always tell me how handsome I was and how much she loved me. To this day, when I have chicken wings, I think about Aunt Darlene.

Fast forward to the present day, and one of the problems that still exists in our country is drug consumption. According to the CDC, drug overdose deaths rose from 38,329 in 2010 to 70,237 in 2017 and have remained steady through 2019. Then, in 2020 we saw a significant increase, with 91,799 reported deaths.

From 1968-2020, 1,106,859 have died from drug overdose in the United States. Wait, how does that happen? President Nixon declared a War on Drugs in 1971, so you’d think we wouldn’t have the problem that we have today.

Let’s check the receipts. In 1972 there were 6,622 overdose deaths. Then in 1980, there were 2,492 overdose deaths. That’s when the increase continues. So, if there was a War on Drugs, why didn’t that stop the problem? Well, let’s look up what the word “war” means.

War: a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations

: a period of such armed conflict

: weapons and equipment for war

: a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism

: a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end

So was the war on the problem, or was the war on the people?

I’ll let you answer that. Also, what is it about a war that brings in so much money? The U.S. spent $56 billion a year on the war on drugs, spending over $1 trillion in 50 years. All that money is spent, and we are really slim with the amount of drug treatment services in this country.

More than 54% of voters approve King County Crisis Care Center levy

Then I hear folks say, “Well, why don’t they get help?” Well, most of the time, it’s financial reasons, stigma, and sometimes geographic location.

Another problem is how outdated we are with the discussion centered around drugs. For the most part, we are still repeating what Nancy Regan said, “Just say no!”

Yeah, so how’s that working? It’s not. And for over 50 years, the inaction by our Federal Government has us where we are today.

Drug treatment shouldn’t just be accessible to those that are financially able. Drugs touch all of us, whether we use drugs or not — our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or acquaintances.

Let me take this time to apologize right now. I’m sure some of my family will be upset with this next part, but this is what’s on my heart. If you’ve listened to me on the radio, then you’ve heard my stance on this drug issue. What you don’t know is why I speak on it this way.

I never saw my aunt use drugs. I was a kid, so how would I know? Well, I knew by listening to what adults were saying. It must have been pretty bad cause anytime I would hear her name, it was always connected to the discussion about drugs. Back then, it was crack.

I was really confused, though. I was confused because every time I would see her, she would always say, “Hello, my handsome nephew.”

I always felt so much love. As a matter of fact, I remember she was dating a guy by the name of Derek. He worked on the radio.

Well, one night, he said the names of my cousin and me, and I thought that was soooo cool. Maybe the seed was planted then that one day I would be on the radio myself.

Through her addiction, she still loved everyone. That was my lesson on drug addiction. Sure, there’s drug addiction, but inside, there’s still a beautiful soul. A soul that’s fighting something that needs so much help.

I speak passionately about this for the love of my Aunt Darlene. Do you know that no matter what, she makes sure to text me on my birthday? And she was the first to text me this year.

My heart goes out to any of you that have lost loved ones due to drugs. I’m sure it’s not easy.

My hope and prayer is that there is a dramatic increase in drug treatment facilities. Individuals struggling with addiction need access to quality treatment programs. Period!

While we treat those that are fighting, we also need to improve education. There needs to be more education about the harms and risks of drugs, and I’m not talking about the one annual school assembly. It needs to be put into our school curriculum. There has always been a battle (war) on the supply but not on the demand. We address the demand through more education.

I will continue to use my platform to help with the drug problem in this country, and I will also use my platform to remind my Aunt Darlene how much I love her. You are still the most beautiful woman in the world, and I love your heart. I know you love me and everyone else, Auntie.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

KIRO Newsradio Opinion

seattle city council, 10 minutes election...

L.B. Gilbert

Gee & Ursula: Seattle City Council has been ‘way too dysfunctional’

The 2023 Seattle City Council election is gearing up with 45 total candidates registered to run across seven districts.

2 days ago

baby branding...

Dave Ross

Ross: Maybe more Americans should consider baby branding

According to Bloomberg, some anxious American and European parents have been hiring branding consultants to name their baby.

2 days ago

Rules for airline passengers...

Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula discuss the rules of the skies for airline passengers

With Memorial Day coming up, Gee & Ursula thought it would be a good time to take up the rules of the skies for airline passengers.

3 days ago

Pete Carroll Ted Lasso...

Gee Scott

Gee: Is Pete Carroll the real life Ted Lasso?

I wonder if the writers of Ted Lasso reached out to Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll at all when creating the show.

3 days ago

ross graffiti...

Dave Ross

Ross: This level of graffiti is like defacing the Great Pyramid

Dave Ross: Graffiti on the highways is bad enough, and to have it center stage at the city’s front door is taking tolerance too far.

3 days ago

Seattle homeless crisis...

Ursula Reutin

Ursula: $134M high-rise won’t solve Seattle homeless crisis

The Rise is being touted as Seattle’s first “affordable housing” high-rise in more than 50 years. It officially opened this week.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Gee: Those that love addicts know treatment is the only way forward