Perspectives with Shirley Hallee
Dr. Brian Ferguson has come up with a really novel idea. He would like to see to it that drug dealers receive training related to their trade. It might be a degree in pharmacology, or at the very least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.
The problem - as Dr. Ferguson has noted - is that those who are selling drugs have no idea what the impact will be on their customers. They don’t have enough knowledge, good common sense, and concern to warn the person who might be tempted to "experience" the effects of oxycodone and/or hydromorphone...or one of the so-called designer drugs being sold on the street.
In the last year this physician has seen the deaths of young people due to overdose.
One young person showed up for treatment at the emergency room - after using a drug – with a heart rate of 170 beats per minute. The normal heart rate for a young person is 70 beats, or less.
Dr. Ferguson also told me about a young man who tried a "special" type of marijuana...named after an assault weapon. The stuff really assaulted his mind. For many, many hours - going into nearly a span of two days - his behaviour was frenzied, ultimately resulting in danger to himself and others.
Another young man required treatment after likely being slipped a drug at a party. He and
his friends were having a good time when all of the sudden his behaviour was "off the wall." His friends got him to the hospital and he was put into a safe area until the drug wore off.
While in his altered state he did not recognize friends or family.
Unfortunately, the majority of those impacted by the lack of knowledge of the drug dealers are the young. They might pop a pill at a party, drink some alcohol and begin to feel really tired - decide to take a short nap...and never wake up. There are horror stories of the ravages to young bodies and minds from Crystal Meth. So many young people are drug naive in they are not regular users...their bodies do not know how to deal with these drugs.
In addition to the fact these drugs are dangerous there is no quality control related to street drugs. Many drugs are laced with other substances and some drugs are over the top in potency.
If the reader hasn’t yet realized that Dr. Ferguson was expressing his opinion in a "tongue-in-cheek" manner, I am now letting you know that was exactly the case.
This well known physician spoke to me a number of years ago about his concern with so
many young people showing up at the emergency room with alcohol poisoning. At that time he stated that parents need to realize their child may be one of those needing treatment unless that child fully understands the impact alcohol can have on them. He stated it would be wise to let their young person experience the effects of a drink in the safety of the home...in much the same way families in Europe introduce their children to alcohol.
Under no circumstances should experiencing drugs be a part of parenting. Dr. Ferguson
wants to see more extensive drug education in the schools - but most of all he wants young people and their parents to fully understand that a first-time use of a drug can be the end of life. After all, drug dealers have no medical training. They don’t know what they are selling...and they likely don’t care.
Come to think of it - the ideal classroom for drug dealers might have bars on the windows and some very high stone walls surrounding the campus.
Shirley Hallee’s column appears bi-weekly in the Amherst News.