Obama blames teenagers for drug abuse crisis

Obama Blames Teenagers for America’s Drug Abuse Crisis

Having blamed America’s crime on teenagers in a visit to a federal prison last summer, President Obama yesterday blamed America’s drug abuse on teenagers as well.

Obama’s rank demagoguery flies in the face of Centers for Disease Control and FBI reports showing massive eruptions in middle-aged drug abuse, drug deaths, drug-related suicide, criminal arrests, and imprisonments to levels much higher than among high-school-age teens and continues the administration’s retreat into America’s ugly, 150-year-old futility of blaming social problems on powerless races, immigrants, sexual minorities, and young people.

Obama even stooped to ridiculing his own daughters before a national audience in his zeal to demean all young people: “They’re wonderful girls, but they’re teenagers. They do some … things,” he said. “And I remember me being a teenager. I’ve written about this. I did some … stuff.”

During Obama’s presidency, drug abuse deaths soared from 36,500 in 2008 to 44,000 in 2013 as he joined 35 years of bipartisan presidencies in doing nothing of significance to stem what is now America’s leading cause of external mortality. Drug deaths stood at 7,800 in 1980 when President Reagan took office, 10,100 at the beginning of President Clinton’s presidency in 1992, and 17,400 when President George W. Bush’s administration began in 2000.

Teenagers? CDC tabulations now show drug abuse deaths peak in the early 50s (the president’s own age group), with parent-age adults age 45-49 now 8.6 times more likely to die from overdosing illicit drugs than a high-school-age teen age 15-19.

In West Virginia, the state with the highest rate of drug abuse and the locale Obama chose to once again bash young people while offering no new ideas, 78 people age 10-29 died from abusing drugs in 2013, compared to 281 drug abuse deaths among ages 40-59. That is, a teenager or young adult up to age 30 (surely bracketing the age group whose drug abuse could by even the wildest stretch be attributed to teenagers) is four times more likely to suffer a parent of supposedly mature age dying from illicit drugs than the other way around.

While the president and other leaders express infinite sympathy for parents who lose their teen or young adult to drug abuse, he and others have expressed no sympathy – zero — for the many more (tens of thousands every year, in fact) of children and teens who lose their parent to drug abuse and suicide. That is cruel and exploitative.

The official excuse for completely ignoring the enormous, burgeoning middle-aged drug crisis that is destroying families and communities has reflected the same political cowardice and indifference Obama displayed: we’ll let children and youth languish in home and neighborhoods where adults’ drug abuse is rampant, then blame teenagers for suffering the same fate at a much lower level. Have we sunk so low in the debilitation of American adulthood that we now blame middle-aged drug abuse on what they did 30 to 50 years earlier? Are decades of adulthood now meaningless?

“Just prevent drug abuse among everyone under age 21 and they’ll never become older drug abusers” paraphrases the slogan of failed, politics-driven policy for decades. But drug use and abuse is a circular phenomenon: parents and nearby adults who abuse drugs both endanger young people and are many times more likely to foster drug abuse among youths raised in those environments.

Obama has been an often brilliant tactician in achieving important political goals in a difficult political climate, but he has been a disastrous president on social and health issues. Obama suffers from a devastating lack of imagination and vision one would expect from a visionary progressive that leads him to same-old teen-blaming clichés that have fostered America’s globally-disrupting drug abuse crisis. It also highlights once again that lying about teenagers and courting cheap political advantage with attacks on the young remains an acceptable tactic across the spectrum.  (Mike Males)