Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
I didnât vote for you. You see, I was born with a brain injury. Doctors at Childrenâs Hospital in Boston told my parents I would never be able to walk normally.
Young children are mean. As a young boy, insults, and laughs became a daily ritual. When I walked into a classroom, a restaurant, or down a street, people didnât look into my eyes. They always looked down as I limped awkwardly along.
But I overcame and became a varsity athlete at a prep school outside of Boston. As a teenager, I grew strong, and anybody that made fun of my limp or my awkward gate became irrelevant.
Frankly, Mr. President, the day you mocked a disabled reporter should have been the end of your presidential candidacy.
That said, I for one am all for giving you a chance to âMake America Great Again.â Mr. President, I implore you to focus more of your efforts on the heroin epidemic that is crushing the American dream in every state in the Union.
I understand that the stigma and moral issues of heroin addiction run deep. Todayâs heroin epidemic parallels the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. The old school philosophy back then was, âMen having sex with men. Itâs not natural. Thatâs Godâs punishment.â
Although the diction has changed, the sentiment remains constant today. âI didnât force them to stick a needle of heroin into their arm. Why should I be forced to pay for their rehabilitation?â
But you see, we are not just junkies, Mr. President. I am three decades clean, have won the prestigious du-Pont-Columbia as a journalist, written a bestseller, became a WGA screenwriter and worked onÂ The Fighter, a feature film that won two Academy Awards.
I have spoken to organizations and recovery centers all across America. And what amazed me the most were the rooms were filled with middle-class kids whose fathers were chiefâs of police, firefighters, teachers, lawyers, and doctors.
Heroin addiction is insidious: in several states across this country, young women are selling themselves asÂ sex-slaves to maintain their daily heroin habit.
Just recently,Â NPR did a radio program about heroin addictsÂ who are purposely committing crimes, so theyâll be arrested and locked up to get the treatment they need.
Treatment is just not available on the streets because there arenât any beds available in recovery centers. The medical community could never have prepared for the onslaught of heroin in their neighborhoods.
Mr. President, this epidemic was given birth by Purdue Pharma and their owners, the Sackler family. In fact, the Sacklers became known as theÂ Godfathers of OxyContinÂ and rang in at number 19 on last yearâs Forbes annual list of Americaâs richest families.
Through Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family acquired a fortune with the blood of young Americans. Although a judgeÂ convicted Purdue Pharmaâs top executives in Federal CourtÂ of knowingly and willfully misleading consumers, unfortunately, your old friend Rudy Giulianiâs law firm got them off with a sweetheart deal.
As President of the United States, you have an opportunity to save countless lives. Please consider creating a âsin taxâ similar to the cigarette and alcohol tax levied by several states. If big Pharma wants to do business on the backs of the American consumers suffering from chronic pain, force them to pay a ârecovery tax.â
Please consider creating a work program for heroin addicts that want help. A simple, weâll pay for your thirty-day recovery hospital and continued care, and youâll work cleaning up roads or run down areas of your community to pay for it.
Finally, why not designate a line on the IRS tax forms for people to donate a dollar or more to help put an end to the suffering brought on by the countless deaths of promising young men and woman.
Mr. President, you have a daunting task in front of you. But you canât âMake America Great Againâ by sitting back and watching 4,380 Americans die every month from an accidental overdose of heroin. Thatâs right,Â 144 people a day die from an accidental overdose of opioids.
I have an 11-year-old son who is on the brink of growing up in a society that will be the most dangerous environment in Americaâs history. You see, Mr. Trump, not since your predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, has the youth of America been more in jeopardy.
Think about it; not since the Vietnam War has a generation been at greater risk to die between the ages of 18 to 25. Please help them. An entire generation is on the verge of being wiped out.
Follow Ritchie Farrell on Twitter:Â www.twitter.com/ritchiefarrell1
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for theÂ SAMHSA National Helpline.
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