Our Middle-Aged and Elderly Citizens Are America’s Forgotten Addicts

The younger generation gets most of the ink when it comes to drug-related problems. There’s no question that drugs have cut a horrific swath through the teen and twenties generation, but the upheaval of artificially transforming the brain into a useless and often deadly fog encompasses a much larger population than just the youth among us.

I never thought I’d be writing about radical radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh in a non-political context and somewhat sympathetically at that. About a decade ago Limbaugh allowed as to how he was addicted to OxyContin and other prescription painkillers. In 2009 he struck a deal with prosecutors on a charge of “doctor shopping” for prescriptions for as many as 2,000 pills in a six-month period. If he met certain criteria, all his legal problems would go away.

Of course Limbaugh fraudulently obtained the prescription drugs and withheld information from doctors in doing so and yet a deal was struck. If he continued to seek treatment, he would beat the rap. This may surprise you, but I agree with the “deal.”

I thought of Limbaugh and others who have suffered similar prescription drug/controlled substance addictive fates in light of a recent spate of deaths within the middle-age population of people I either knew or had a friendship with their close relatives. These victims, all men, though the problem isn’t limited to men, were all upstanding citizens at one time or another in their lives. And they all died pathetic, broken souls. And they were all hooked either on prescription drugs or hard-core street drugs; usually crack, cocaine and heroin.

Most had accompanying health problems as their drug-addled lifestyle broke down the immune system over time. Their lives consisted of the inability to keep jobs, atrocious eating habits, too much food or too little and highly irregular schedules and sleep patterns. They’d gorge on fat and sugar or maybe not eat or sleep at all for days at a time. They became estranged from wives, children and extended families and finally marched to their graves in virtual solitude.

One of the recently passed was highly successful in his professional pursuit for many years. The last I saw of him he was laid out on the floor at the rear of a Memorial Chapel service for yet another addicted middle-aged drug user. In passing out from God know what, he knocked over two lamps that made a hellacious glass-shattering noise. He was checked out at a nearby hospital and released. These people are amazingly resilient until the last few months; then they fail quickly.

We know senior citizens also abuse prescription drugs either intentionally or as a consequence of confusion or dementia. The suicide rate is also way up there for people who are essentially social furniture after age 70 as far as the rest of the younger world is concerned. Spouses, family, friends and a reason for being keeps most “golden agers” alive. A home alone, elderly figure who rarely ventures out and receives few visitors is the very definition of an old person of little self-esteem or perceived purpose, who is not only a potential suicide, but a likely one.

Heroic social agencies do what they can with the resources they have. But that’s rarely enough, especially when you have heartless Republican bastards slashing funds for life-saving interventions, How can you possibly say anything positive about a group of people who literally don’t give a damn about feeding indigent and helpless elderly. You can’t and should vote every one of these pieces of s*** out of office at your earliest opportunity.

Another factor that must be considered for middle-age male sufferers of addiction is that they’re often a danger to themselves and others. A friend’s son who recently passed had to be restrained most of the time for his safety and the safety of his caregivers. His was the memorial I was attending when the earlier collapse happened that I described. The Funeral Chapel was SRO. There were friends of the deceased and his family. Eulogies praised the son as always being upbeat and supportive of his friends with a great sense of humor no matter his personal demons.

As my last lines of the Funeral Home’s online memoriam contribution read, “David (not his real name) was a good son under attack by elements out of his control. He left behind a small army of people who loved and supported him. That’s a great accomplishment for one carrying such heavy burdens.”

“Bless you David. You are free.”

His final days and weeks were a nightmare that I won’t go into in deference to his family.

I have yet another near-term case that followed a similar pattern to the others I’ve referenced. A really successful guy who falls into the addictive lifestyle, loses a succession of jobs and starts the wandering path to self-destruction and death.

Jails and prisons are often repeated stops for the afflicted. More money for the giant private prison corporations. Estimates of an addicted and mentally ill prison population reach as high as 50%. Other than murder, weapons, assaults and other crimes that endanger innocent people, put these desperate addicts and mentally ill in treatment centers. How old is this argument? Decades? For those Republicans who think in only money terms, how much money is the economy losing over millions of non-contributors?

An addiction is like cancer. It will either be cured, in remission or it will take your life. We must attack this problem head on. The first step is to elect Democrats because naïve statements to the contrary, Republicans are in power in the House and state legislatures through sheer majority numbers and in the Senate through the filibuster. President Obama is essentially powerless and immobile because of Republicans. People who are not millionaires and billionaires are suffering like dogs and hundreds of thousands are dying because of Republicans.

That’s an irrefutable fact. Democrats – GOTV!!!

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