The United States is facing a massive societal problem due to the rapidly rising rates of drug addition, with opioid abuse identified as the primary cause. So far, our best collective efforts have failed to yield an effective solution. It turns out that the solution to the opioid epidemic is right in front of us, from Monday through Saturday.
Legacy of Drug Abuse in the United States
Our nation has long suffered from drug abuse, beginning with:
- the Native Americans’ insatiable thirst for peyote-laced water (thankfully replaced by non-hallucinogen, non-addictive asparagus water);
- followed by the ‘coke’ fiends of the late 1800’s getting rip-torn on the new cola beverage featuring coca extract (cocaine, people);
- to the ‘speed freaks’ and ‘hippies’ of the 1960’s and 70’s getting upped on “purple heart” and tripping on “Orange Sunshine;”
- the ‘crackheads’ of the 1980’s sucking on the glass
dickpipe, burning through $2 rocks every 30 minutes;
- the grunge junkies of the 1990’s slamming heroin directly into their flannel shirts (the quickest route to the brain)
- the electro-rave, foam-bubble party ecstasy droppers of the 2000’s (and their younger cousins of the 2010’s who renamed it Molly and pretended they were original)
The Current Drug Epidemic
Which brings us to the opioid epidemic. Ironically, this one started not from a desire to get high, but because of chronic back pain. Well, back pain and the desire to numb the boredom and anxiety caused by tandem exposure to Kardashian reality TV and Miley Cyrus music.
America’s doctors started prescribing themselves Oxycodone to get through the endless visits from patients convinced they were suffering from Fibromyalgia and anxiety disorders. In reality they had poor diets, insufficient sleep and exercise, and were bored to death of the superficiality and repetition of modern society. Regardless, the doctors couldn’t take it, so they doped themselves, doped their patients, or both.
All those adults went home and left their Oxy unattended, forgetting that teenagers will swallow an entire bottle of liquid laxatives if there is a chance of getting a buzz. Those teenagers eventually defeated the child-proof containers and started popping back pain meds that happen to be really powerful and addictive. The young Mark Cuban’s realized they could turn a profit and started selling the pills to their schoolmates. Some parents even dispensed opioids to cure their childrens’ menstrual cramps, HPV, and poor manners.
There was no problem as long as the pills kept flowing. And as long as the doctors had enough oxy to relieve their hand cramps, developed from excessive prescription writing, they obliged. But like all good things, the free flow of pills came to an end. The government tightened access to the drugs, law enforcement shut down the most egregious doctors dispensing pills like PEZ, and the pills became more scarce. But by that point, the kids and adults were hooked on the narcotics and they turned into prostituting maniacs without the drugs. So they sought the fix from any available source, including imported Chinese pharmaceuticals of questionable integrity, robbing Rite Aid pharmacies (sending my Rite Aid stock to the toilet), and buying cheaper, fentanyl-laced heroin from street pushers. Hopefully you can see the devolving trajectory and the need for a remedy.
Working Group of Elite Minds Established to Fight the Epidemic
With many deaths and jail sentences now counted among the consequences of this pill dependency, the United States government has poured resources into the problem. A working group was formed joining leaders of government agencies like HHS, Mississippi River Commission and DOT with top academics from programs like DeVry University and Columbus University (PtC’s alma mater) to study the massive problem of opioid addiction plaguing our young and old alike.
Despite volumes of research data, the experts in fields like psychology, eastern medicine, theology, cosmetology, and zoology have failed to solve our addiction epidemic. After a long morning reviewing data sets, the members of the governmental working group went off-site to take a lunch break. They loaded into the black, U.S. government shuttle van and headed out. The group was having trouble agreeing on a dining destination. One member suggested sushi triggering predictable, simulated wretching motions and eye rolls from the team. Another suggested they find a good steak restaurant. The vegetarian member of the team protested.
Italian? Too carb heavy, we will be too sleepy to go back to work.
Chinese? Too greasy, we’ll be spending the afternoon together in the bathroom.
Subway? Don’t they put rubber in their bread?
McDonald’s? What are you a seven year old?
The Van Driver Makes an Executive Decision
Suddenly, the frustrated shuttle driver made a right turn and muttered something about “book smarts” and “not knowing nothin’ ” under his breath. Just then, a newly constructed Chick-Fil-A restaurant revealed itself and the driver assertively pulled in without direction. None of the academics or government executives said a word. They silently exited the shuttle in a single-file line and marched in lock-step to the front door. They entered the orderly queue and were each met by a smiling cashier, eager to please.
The vegetarian ordered chicken and lemonade. Everyone order chicken and lemonade. (Not the grilled chicken, but the original, breaded recipe.) The only hesitation during the ordering process was how many Chick-Fil-A sauces to request and whether to try to Buffalo dipping sauce. One member ordered the kids’ meal so they could trade in the activity book for an ice cream cone.
The team grabbed a couple booths, merrily dipping waffle fries into sauce and discussing which of them would go back to the counter to order warm chocolate cookies to share (no one questioned that 14 cookies was more than needed for 8 team members to ‘share.’)
During the spirited conversation, a pleasant Chick-Fil-A employee stopped by to ask if they could refill drinks for the tables. EVERYONE accepted because it’s impossible to drink enough Chick-Fil-A lemonade during a visit to the restaurant.
A Van Driver Almost Solves the Opioid Crisis
After finishing their meals, the group meandered back to the van, balloons tied to their wrists. A few members shamefully admitted they would likely bring their kids to Chick-Fil-A for an easy dinner that same night. The team laughingly agreed that Chick-Fil-A was addictive and that there was no need to feel shame. As their small-talk dwindled, the conversation turned back to the seemingly unsolvable problem of opioid addiction and the shuttle driver sagely interjected, “Why don’t you just keep those pill-popping, powder-snorting, slam-jamming, nut-busters stuffed up with Chick-Fil-A in their pieholes.”
It was only in that moment of clarity, did the working group realize the brilliance of the idea. Chick-Fil-A could replace methadone as an easily accessible, over-the-counter elixir for people who would otherwise be jonesing for a fix. After all, how do you think Chick-Fil-A keeps an abundance of happy employees? It all made sense. Problem solved. The team felt great and was excited to share their plans with the Administration and with the media.
The shuttle van pulled into the parking lot of the nondescript building in the Washington, D.C. suburbs hosting the working group. The team members exited the van with hope and euphoria. However, on the walk to the building’s security entrance, one of the team members deflated the team and destroyed the plan by remembering that Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays.