I sit looking at my dear friend of over 40 years. He's 51 years old , my age. Yet, the man looks old enough to my father. His eyes are sunken deep in their sockets, his eyes have very dark circles, and bags around them. His eyes are blank, hollow, and absent any glint of hope. His cheeks are so sanked in that the outline of his teeth shows through his jaws. His skin is ashen, very aged, leathery and, lined. Even his skin tone has changed, he went from a young man with ebony skin, to an older man with powdery pale skin.
He is on all fours picking at my rug. He is feverishly scratching at the rug fibers looking for crumbs of crack he says he dropped on my floor (of course he had'nt dropped anything, he's fiending). The Chicken Scratch. He has lost all zest for living a meaningful life. He has but one desire in life, Crack Cocaine. He rises from sleep chasing crack, he spends all his waking hours, from early morn to late eves looking for ways get cracked up. He only ends his quest when he exhausts himself to point where his body collapses from lack of sleep. He's on the never ending mission to get the very addictive drug.
Crack, the most devastating thing to ever happen to the black community.
In the mid 1980's I was introduced to Crack Cocaine via the CBS news special 48 Hours On Crack Street. This was the first 48 Hours special, it took place in NYC, and it focused on the trail of destruction through broken lives and community that the drug caused. Crack, perhaps the most deliberate, cold calculating additive substance known, addicts it's users with such speed and efficiency that users are most often hooked the very first time they try it. Therefore, most of crack victims never knew what hit them. They never stood a chance.
Fortunately, for me, I have never been the type to use random drugs. Tragic for a very large numbers of my peers, who trusted their relatives and friends. Relatives and friends that gave them their first hit of crack. A very low-down thing to do. These relatives and friends were only thinking of ways to get more crack for themselves.
My friend says he's not had any sleep in two days. He finally falls out on my floor, he is so tired he can not will himself to stay awake any longer. I will let him get the much needed sleep his body demands. Since he only visits when he needs sleep, and is to embarrassed, or he can't to go to his home. He had to move back with his mother, for he stopped caring about paying rent for his own place, over two decades ago.
I often wonder if the people who so causally flooded the community with this terrible stuff ever took a look at what their greed has caused. Total Despair. I also wonder if they ever thought of consequences, and please believe me when I tell you, the consequences are dire. Families destroyed, there are so many children orphaned by crack in this country, that crack orphans in America rivals AIDs orphans in Africa. Entire communities dismantled by crime, business closings, homelessness, gang violence, abandon homes that are now used as crack houses, and all the other social problems that such a drug causes. Prostitution has become a career, for both men and women addicts. Crack is a neighborhood killer. I am sure the people that dumped crack in the community were aware of all of this. They just didn't care.
I call this entry Anniversary into Hopeless Darkness, because for a crack addict everyday is one less day since he or she was normal and, one more day into hopeless darkness.
The sixty second, sixty minute, twenty four hour anniversary. This is a realty for my friend and millions of others in this great country of ours. No hopes, no dreams, no looking ahead for a decent life, just a never ending mission to get Crack Cocaine.