Gyasi Ross: Indian Country entering a new era with drug game

Gyasi Ross. Photo from Facebook

Gyasi Ross wonders whether tribes, and other governments, are sending Native youth the wrong message on drugs:
The United States Food and Drug Association recently approved the use of OxyContin for children as young as 11. Folks say that powerful narcotics like OxyContin are necessary. Maybe? I mean, OxyContin has only been on the market for twenty years and somehow people coped without it. Before that it was simply called “heroin.”

But it begs the question—can something that the human race existed without for millennia really be considered “necessary?”

In any event, the fact is that painkillers are absolutely tearing Native communities up. Kids, of course—they’re the most vulnerable. But moms, dads, aunties, uncles, grandpas and grandmas, Councilpeople and common folks all are affected by prescription pills. I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m pretty sure that every single person who’s reading this story either has been affected by prescription pill addiction or knows of someone who has had a prescription pill addiction. Myself, I currently have folks within my family who are struggling with prescription pill addiction.

Which makes me consider drugs more generally—what message does it send when governments say that drugs are ok?

Sure, we all know that drug use and abuse happens. Yet, when institutions that are entrusted with the protection of a group of people—whether a tribal government, a state government, or the FDA—says that something that has been shown to be harmful is ok, what does that tell its citizens?

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: Tribal Governments, Ganja and OxyContin: When Government Says Dope Is "OK" (Indian Country Today 8/17)

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