Friday, December 4, 2015

High on an Insecticide

Raid comes in a great many varieties.
I don't know -- and don't want to know --
which is the best kind to smoke.
A homeless friend of mine sent me an email that said, in part, this:
Have you heard about the latest "new" drug on the streets of Sacramento? You go to the store and steal a can of Raid insecticide, [and then process the poison such that it can be smoked]. I truly believe that the human race has an insanity gene that comes to the surface only too often. We are doomed as a species!
I certainly knew that there are homeless guys I know in Sacramento for whom getting high is the central goal each morning when they wake up. I know that there are dangerous ways to get high, such as sniffing glue. But inhaling insecticides has to serve as the last resort for those who feel a desperate need to get altered.

It is a sad state of affairs that there are homeless guys who have so very little respect for their brains and keeping it healthy that getting high on an insecticide is something they are willing – and in some cases, quite eager – to do. And it is disheartening to know these guys (and gals) are on a course toward killing themselves by the way they prize getting high over healthy habits.

A recent big thing in Homeless World Sacramento has been giving homeless veterans primacy in getting housing. I am troubled by this effort to put veterans at the head of the line, getting them attention and funding before all others. If there is going to be a special effort to help veterans, it should come from the V.A. and from a special pool of funds coming from the Federal Government and not by giving Vets "first dibs" on housing in competition with longtime homeless people. Otherwise, if there is a continual dribble of Vets that become homeless, non-Vets who fall to a circumstance of homelessness will never have a shot at having an ordinary life.

Homeless people who have been living in shelters and out of the streets for more than a few years  merit a shot at having "a life more ordinary"1 as much as any, excepting, perhaps, those who have fallen into a deep patch of misery by giving in to something as troubling as smoking insecticide.

Let us send in the Marines to save these people who smoke Raid, while there is still time.

Ever since reading works of Philosopher Susan Wolf on the topic of "meaning in life" I have believed that some kind of program that encourages homeless people to find their life's meaning might be greatly beneficial. Note that some teacher or lecturer does not and cannot find your life's meaning for you. Each person must find it for his/herself (with a little help). Here are two of Wolf's best books on the topic: Meaning in Life and Why It Matters and The Variety of Values: Essays on Morality, Meaning and Love.  And here is a fourteen-minute audio interview of Wolf regarding meaning in life. Surely, people who smoke Raid need to focus their lives on something else, something meaningful.

Those homeless people at the bottom of the darkest, dankest cesspool [i.e., Raid smokers] need immediate attention.

From what I have been told by an administrator at a prominent homeless-services charity, Raid has been a street drug in Sacramento for a long time. Its availability surges and recedes, much as availability of  far-more-expensive methamphetamine, and any other illegal drug you can name, goes from being widely available to being hard to get.

From a forum at the website, there are people who say that smoking Raid is similar to the effect of smoking meth. One fellow says that one variety of Raid can be reduced to what are the prime components of crystal meth.

It is perhaps the case that some breaking-bad lower-class Walter White wannabe has made a big batch of crystal Raid such that dealers are selling a lot of it now. Raid is not "new" to the street, but is booming, currently. Or, maybe not. It's not easy to canvas homeless knowledge on the subject.

  1. After the misery and degradation of being homeless for a very, very long spell, an uptick in your circumstance to something quite ordinary can be as fantastic as being rich. According to British life-coach Jessica Chivers: ‘Finding joy in the mundane helps you to look at life ‘in the round’ and see that, in the grand scheme of things, it’s good. There isn’t that sharp contrast between the ‘good bits’ and the ‘dreary bits’ – more a sense of ‘totality’. This kind of attitude also makes you more appreciative – and more likely to make ‘downward comparisons’ – in other words, not wish for better for yourself, but rather see yourself as fortunate. And if you are more grateful for your lot, you will be more content. It’s a fact that people who are happy to do humdrum things are more relaxed and less stressed.’


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