I've been wanting to write about this for a couple of months now, but with all the addiction in the news I just haven't gotten around to it. The Wire, the recently-ended HBO series, is one of the best shows ever to make it on TV (in my humble opinion). If you haven't watched it, you can rent it or buy it on Amazon here. The show is infinitely rewatchable, so definitely a good investment.
David Simon, the creator of the show, worked for the Baltimore Sun (newspaper politics and policies are featured in-depth in the show's final season) for a time before writing a couple of books and eventually Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire. There's a great article talking about Simon's background in The Atlantic; I'll touch on some of the points there, but the article is definitely worth a read. What's great about the show is the humanizing aspect- that both cops and drug dealers have their flaws-- and their good parts. I haven't ever felt a lot of empathy for drug dealers, at least until I saw The Wire.
Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics, talks quite a bit about the dichotomy of drug dealing, and why many of the dealers on the street stay poor. Since drug dealing is like a pyramid scheme (those on top make a ton of money, but those on the low outposts can barely make as much as working at a McDonald's), it's difficult to break the poverty cycle in a drug-centered community. The Wire covers all of this throughout their various seasons, portraying all sides of the drug trade.
I love this show for a variety of reasons- a) it shows the ins and outs of battling drugs on the ground level from a police perspective; b) it talks directly about the effects of drug use and dealing on individual families; c) it shows an honest portrayal of people trying to make it out of the ghetto via the drug trade; d) the character Bugs is a great example of an addict trying to get well; and e) takes risks in dealing with the relationship of drugs and the police force. Many different opinions are expressed here, and David Simon's voice is a clear bell against the war.
If you want an inside scoop on the war on drugs, definitely check out The Wire- my favorite show ever. Never got great ratings, so I'll excuse you if you have yet to see it. But make sure you do.
Here's a great clip:
Oh and a quick note on the ongoing healthcare debate (I'll write a separate blog on this on a later date), we here at Addiction Tomorrow are in favor of an optional government sponsored healthcare plan- after all, having an option is better than not having one, and will be beneficial for the greater good. We need to make sure the private sector will be held accountable to standards of practice, but not snuffed out by a government healthcare plan. Ok, I'm off my soapbox for the day.
Here's something funny.
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