North Dakota Residents Are Too Permissive About Illegal Drug Use

When I first came to work in Dickinson, North Dakota in 2011, one of the companies that I worked for was very permissive about illegal drug use.  This company, which performed work in the oil field, knowingly hired people with recent criminal, drug possession, and drug dealing charges.

The two owners of this company believed that what people did in their own time, had nothing to do with work, it was none of their business, and it had no effect on their company.  This was far from being true.

About 50% of the current employees of this company were using illegal drugs on a daily basis, and another 40% were drinking heavily on a daily basis.  Every morning, virtually every employee that came to work or had to be picked up, was still impaired from over drinking the night before, drinking before coming to work, illegal drug use from the night before, or illegal drug use before coming to work.

There were usually a few employees who did not make it to work, because they had consumed too much alcohol, or too much drugs.  Some were absent for days at a time.  Some of them would come back weeks or months later, begging for their job back.

Whether it was the employees who drank too much alcohol every day, or used illegal drugs every day, work was not something that needed to get in the way of them being drunk or high.  Why would work be a place where you couldn’t be drunk or high, especially if the owners of the company were tolerant about it?

At this company, work was performed in a haphazard, disorganized, random, inefficient, barely competent, sometimes incompetent, dangerous way, and this company had a reputation for this.  Some local people would never consider working for this company, or hiring this company to perform work, because of its reputation.

So, for people who believe that being an alcoholic or drug addict does not affect work or a company, they are completely wrong.  Employees arriving to work impaired, not showing up that day, not showing up for days or weeks, trying to perform work impaired, completing work that is barely competent or not acceptable, having work site accidents, and gaining a reputation for all of this, is very detrimental and should not be wanted.

Recently and for some time previously, I have seen people try to make the argument,  “If alcohol use is legal, then marijuana use should be legal.  You can’t have alcohol be legal, and not have marijuana be legal.”  Many people think that this is sound logic and reasoning, so let me continue a little bit with this argument, to make it more clear:

“People become impaired by using alcohol, so why can’t they become impaired by using marijuana?”

“People drive impaired after using alcohol, so why can’t they use marijuana?”

“People commit crimes and violence after using alcohol, so why can’t they use marijuana?”

“You can’t say that people don’t get addicted to alcohol, so why can’t they use marijuana?”

When people try to make the argument that alcohol use is legal, so marijuana use should be legal, they inadvertently point out that people using alcohol become impaired, they drive impaired, they commit crimes and violence while impaired, and they become addicted to alcohol.  Why would this then be beneficial to make one more illegal substance now legal?

Also, the people who try to make the argument that alcohol use is legal and accepted, therefore marijuana use should be legal and accepted, how can they not admit that if you use this kind of logic, that once marijuana is legal, then ecstasy MDMA should be legal.  Once marijuana and ecstasy MDMA is legal, shouldn’t cocaine be legal?

The other main argument that people use to try to advocate for any illegal drug being made legal, is by saying that what people do with their own body, is their own business, if it doesn’t effect anyone else, it is their own business.  On the surface, this seems to make sense, but it is easy to point out why this does not make sense.

I will try to give two brief personal stories about marijuana users, before giving two brief stories about methamphetamine users:

While I was living in Arizona, I was roommates with two different people named “Steve”, who were both engineers, a little older than me.  They both smoked marijuana every day.  It was the same thing, they got up at about 5 a.m. or 6 a.m., and smoked marijuana, then 8 a.m., then 11 a.m., then 2 p.m., then 5 p.m., and so on.

Both of these two “Steves” had a degree in engineering, had not worked as an engineer for years, had gone bankrupt, and were very unmotivated.  They were not motivated to get a job, get a good job, meet people, socialize, exercise, have recreation, go anywhere, do anything, or have a girlfriend.  They were irritable, ill-tempered, and paranoid.

Though they were alive, they had departed and withdrawn from life in many important ways:  no job, no career, no friends, no relations with family members, no girlfriend, not going anywhere, not doing anything, neglecting chores and bills, no plans for the future.  How did they support themselves you might ask?  One of them went through all of his 401K, his inheritance from his grandparents, and all of his personal possessions.

So how does this affect other people?  There was a woman who liked me, and I talked her into going on a date with one of these “Steves”, in fact, I had to take them both out to dinner to get them to agree to this.  I tried to tell her about all of Steve’s good qualities and attributes, more than once.  They liked each other, and began dating.  When they broke up, I got them back together again.  They became engaged, then married, then they had two children, a boy and a girl.

But his wife had to separate from him, and take their two children with her, because Steve would not get a job, hold a job, be responsible, and stop smoking marijuana all day, once their two children got older.  He just wanted to sit around smoking pot all day, while his wife worked to support all of them.

My point is, that marijuana is not harmless, it can ruin people’s lives, just like alcoholism can.  But just because alcohol is legal, does not mean that we should make one more harmful drug legal.

The next two stories, are about two young women who I met, who were methamphetamine users, who were both from Idaho:

I was in an Italian restaurant eating, when I saw a very beautiful, thin, tall, Hispanic girl walk in, to pick up a take-out order.  I wanted to be with her, I thought.  By coincidence, not long after that, I was introduced to her, and we began dating.

She was one of the most beautiful women that I have been with, and she had sex with me right away, because she was a meth addict, she didn’t care about anything, and she was high all the time.   She had a very long criminal record, about thirty different charges in the past eight years.

Her three children had been taken away from her, because of her drug use.  She had spent her time and money, buying methamphetamine and getting high, rather than pay rent, buy groceries, feed her children, and take care of her children.  Her mother and stepfather had gained custody of her three children.

She liked me, because I owned a home, and had money.  She liked having sex with me, because she wanted to have another a baby, as her other three children had been taken away from her, this next one wouldn’t be taken away from us.  I was thinking, “Holy shit!  What!  You want to have another baby?  You must be out of your mind.”  Yes, she was out of her mind, she was high all of the time.

Women who are methamphetamine users, don’t see and don’t understand, that you can’t be pregnant while you are using drugs, and the baby develop normally.  They don’t see that a baby and children need constant care and supervision from an adult.  That you have to be present all day to feed them, change them, watch them, and be able to tell if they are sick or not.

My second story, is about a young woman from Idaho, who I saw walking down the street in the neighborhood where I rent an apartment in downtown Dickinson.  She was pretty, and she started talking to me, because I had an Idaho license plate on my vehicle.  I asked her if she wanted to go get something to eat, and she said O.K.

I suspected that she was homeless, and she admitted that she was.  We went through the drive through at Wendy’s, and I talked to her while we were eating.  I asked her if she wanted to go to the women’s homeless shelter, and she said that she did not.  She was scared that the women’s shelter would turn her in to the Police.

I could tell from the way that she was acting, skittish, erratic, and disorganized in her thinking and speaking, that she was a drug addict.  When I dropped her off back where I lived, she immediately went to a drug dealer’s vehicle that was parked about one hundred feet away, to ask if she could get some drugs.

The following day, I called the women’s homeless shelter, and I talked to them about trying to get this girl to them, and they assured me that they would not try to turn her over to the Police.  Later in the day, I found her, and I took her to get something to eat.  I talked to her about going to the women’s shelter, I tried to drop her off there, and I tried to persuade her to go in, but she would not get out of my vehicle.

On the previous day, or the second day when I was talking to her, I learned that she had had a child, but it was taken away from her by her father, and the state of Idaho.  Her father had custody of her young child, and he did not even want her to visit it.  I understood that it was the exact same situation as the Hispanic drug addict girl that I had dated, if you don’t feed your child, care for your child, and watch your child because you are out seeking drugs and getting high, you can’t fulfill your parent obligations.

This young lady that I now had in my vehicle, did not want to get dropped off at the women’s homeless shelter, because she was not done using drugs and getting high.  She asked me if I had any kids, and I said no, I was never in a stable enough place with my work, where I was living, and who I was dating, to have kids, I was scared to have kids.  She replied, “It’s not that big a deal, I had a kid, and everything turned out O.K.”  She couldn’t even comprehend, that her kid had been taken away from her, and was being raised by her father.

These two stories up above about the women methamphetamine users, where their children had been taken away from them by the state of Idaho, and custody awarded to their parents, because they spent all of their time and money trying to buy drugs and get high, and were not home taking care of their children, these two women could not fully comprehend what they had done.

Additionally, the parents of these two women did not even want them coming around.  The stepfather and mother, and the father of the Hispanic girl that I dated, they had “No Trespass” orders or restraining orders against her.  During the first several years of her drug addiction, she would remove property from her parents’ homes in order to have something to sell or barter for drugs:  music CDs, video DVDs, jewelry, tools, anything that was available that she thought wouldn’t be missed right away.  Eventually locking the doors was not enough, as she would just push open a window and climb through, hence the “No Trespass” orders at her parents’ houses.

The four stories up above, I used to explain that drug use is not something that affects just the the user and no one else.  You can’t use the argument, using drugs is my personal choice, that does not affect anyone else, and is no one else’s business.

In North Dakota, there is also the opinion, that drugs are something that young people try, and experiment with, then they grow out of it.  No, this is not the case anymore, the drugs that are available now, cause people to destroy everything in their life long before they are done using drugs.

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