Drugs, Guns and Racism's Connection
A Louisiana man who has been identified as a senior leader in the Aryan Circle, a white supremacist group, has pleaded guilty to murder as well as weapons possession and narcotics trafficking. He’s not the only one. Another person who claimed membership in the Aryan Circle reportedly murdered another man in an effort to improve his standing within the white supremacist group.
White supremacy is everywhere in the US, and this particular group claims to have splinter groups in a number of different states as well as people who are running the show from both inside and outside of prison.
Those who have claimed membership and shared the details of the organization with law enforcement report that members were often disciplined with threats of violence, assault, attempted murder, and murder in order to make sure that everyone followed orders blindly.
In short, white supremacist groups like drug cartels follow a “by any means necessary” protocol that puts profits before people – even their own people – in every scenario. When groups are formed with the goal of doing nothing but making money off substances that kill the people who use them, there are no boundaries, no safeties in place, and nothing to protect anyone involved at any point along the way.
Seeing What You Want to See
Unlike other industries that are driven by marketing designed to sell products to consumers, there is no drug dealer trying to convince you that doing a certain substance will make you famous, rich, powerful, thin, and/or happy.
You won’t be blasted with commercials on TV, streaming services, or print ads for crystal meth, heroin, or the latest synthetic substances available. And yet, the industry rakes in billions of dollars a year selling products that are literally destroying and even ending the lives of their customers.
How is this possible? It is the nature of the substance itself. An addictive substance that can trigger someone to crave more and more and more despite the negative health, relationship, and financial consequences is a powerful substance indeed. Experts have found that it’s a problem that is self-perpetuating.
That is, any use that is continued by choice for a period of time will soon cause a tolerance to the substance, or the need to take larger and larger amounts in order to achieve the original high.
Not only are these substances mind-altering in the moment, changing the way a person perceives and interacts with the world around them, but these drugs can physically alter the structure of the brain over time as well. With these physical changes come changes in function that make it harder to manage life in general and increase the prioritization of drug use, which in turn contributes to the development of addiction.
Protecting Your Loved One
If your loved one is driven by drug use and addiction, you can take steps to protect them when they are no longer able to protect themselves. Though you cannot control the choices that your loved one in active addiction will make, you can help point them in the right direction by:
- Avoiding behaviors that inadvertently enable addiction. When you have your loved one’s best interest at heart, want so badly to ease their pain, and want to let them know that you are on their side and support them, you may accidentally do things that serve to buffer them from the negative consequences of their addiction and prolong their active use of substances.
- Talk to them about how addiction has hurt them and negatively changed their life. Your loved one may be so absorbed by the now that they are unable to pull themselves up enough to look back and see clearly all the changes that have occurred due to their use of substances. You can aid in this process.
- Discuss the option of treatment. Inpatient or outpatient, traditional or alternative, religious or not – there are a number of different options for intensive addiction treatment and talking about what that could like in detail may assist your loved one in considering the possibility.
- Stage an intervention. If you have done all you can to stop the enabling behaviors and help your loved one recognize the need for treatment to no avail, your best path forward is to stage a more formal intervention that makes it clear that treatment is needed, and it’s needed now.