Several times, I have read articles about a drunk driver causing an accident. Sometimes, there is loss of life or some permanent damage to the person affected.
Sad as it is, there seems to be no stopping this type of behaviour.
The drunk driver is, of course, charged, and in the case of a fatality, sent to jail.
I also know that the prison sentences do not always match the crime. Take, for instance, the young man, who in a drunken stupor, kills a mom and dad; after seven years in jail, he is released because he had no previous record, and he behaved himself in prison.
Sometimes, the blame shifting goes as far as to convict a server who kept supplying drinks without checking just how drunk a person was.
So, in this episode, who is really responsible? How is it possible that the death of people through drunk driving is not considered murder? Is it the weapon used, or is the combination of a vehicle and alcohol not considered the problem?
Now we enter an age where through the use of drugs, largely unmeasurable, we have new threats on our roads. Slowly, the legal system is laying down some ground rules for this type of behaviour as well.
Is it not strange that we are always playing catch up? Many other places that legalized mild drugs have warned that before you legalize, you make sure all your legal ducks are in the proper row.
Did we listen? Did we start any of the actions, penalties and requirements before the actual date of legalization?
What about the purveyors of these drugs? Dealers have been around almost since the beginning of time, and now there is the added problem of over prescribed opioids.
If a doctor prescribes pain medication like opioids, is he then responsible if the patient turns into a drug addict?
People are creatures of habit and often work hard at securing that which satisfies their habit.
Many of the things we do in order to live the way we would like to, become habit forming, like the foods you eat or beverage that you drink, and so on.
If then you suffer from an illness or injury, and you become used to the relief that drugs can provide, you come to a point where you can’t seem to do without them; therein is the start of addictive behaviour. We can blame doctors and pharmacists all we want, but once again, the onus is on the user of the drugs.
Depending on the type of drug one is using, the will required to control usage can be very extreme. I know many folks who have had to use some very potent drugs to combat pain, but were able, through self-control, to stop when the pain no longer required them.
For a lot of people, the process of weaning themselves off the drugs is an extraordinarily difficult time. The rest become addicted.
The world as we know it right now is not able to accept death or adverse behaviours, and so we are constantly on the lookout, or hunt, if you will, for something or someone to blame for the incident that has occurred.
Does a barkeep walk around with a breathalyser in their back pocket? Does your doctor know that you might have a very addictive nature?
Does the doctor know everything about the medication prescribed? Or does he work only from the information that the drug companies provide, or does he study each drug? Is that not also the responsibility of the patient?
We have laid the blame for all these issues on everyone and everything else. Is it not about time that we put the responsibility where it truly belongs — on ourselves?
Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.