By: Dr. Jerry Bergman
My column on drinking touched a nerve in several people who wrote to appreciate my thoughts.
One experience which I need to relate occurred in a local church. A young very attractive teenager in a wheel chair was lifted up onto the stage at the church by two men.
She then, without using notes, told the story of how she became paralyzed from the waist down.
She was out drinking on a fun Saturday night with her high school friends.
Both her and her boyfriend were stoned. He was driving on a narrow country road when a head on collision totaled both cars.
Taken to the hospital by life-flight in critical condition, she survived but was paralyzed.
This brief second changed her life forever. Gone was her ability to play sports. Gone was her ability to have children. As an invalid, her chances of a normal marriage were small. Depression set in, as did regret.
If I only, thoughts became her daily companion for months. Her story, more than any other, convinced me of the wisdom of abstinence.
When in college my associates asked if I had ever been drunk. When I answered no, one friend asked me don’t knock it, you might like it.
My response was, that was what I was afraid of. Knowing my personality, and that of certain family members, I knew I could be led down the road to alcoholism, or at least binge drinking.
When in college, drug use, LSD, Cannabis (Marijuana/Pot/Weed), mescaline (peyote), PCP, psilocybin, salvia, and ayahuasca among others, was a problem.
Also in college, when in a sociology class the issue of drug use came up.
I was asked if I have ever been high on drugs. When I answered no, I was told, don’t condemn drugs if you have never tried them. I explained I get high on music, and drugs was an artificial high.
The professor asked if I drove to the college. I answered yes. He mentioned that driving was also an artificial way of reaching your goal, just as drugs were.
Why not walk? It took me an hour to drive, and walking was not possible, I explained. I was not convinced.
Later, I worked in a drug treatment house in Detroit and had an opportunity to talk to many users. They were sent there by court order, so the clients were not self-selected.
One fact I noticed was the enormously different ways people responded to drugs.
One man stated when he smoked Marijuana it was like smoking pure air. Nothing. Another man noted that Marijuana caused him to go into a paranoia state which, he recognized after the high wore off, caused him to become totally irrational.
Today the problem is a new drug called fentanyl. The fentanyl category of opioids accounted for 53,480 preventable American deaths in the year 2020, representing a 59 percent increase over the 33,725 total the year before.
Fentanyl and its salts consists of white granular or crystalline powders. These narcotic analgesics have a potency close to 80 times that of morphine.
Fentanyl derivatives include Alfentanil, Remifentanil, Sufentanil and Carfentanil. They are used in medicine as a safe and effective anesthetic and analgesic.
The problem is street drugs are usually not pharmacologically pure. One should never buy a drug from a street vender, even aspirin.
These facts must be stresses in our schools and churches to counter the fentanyl craze. The most effective presentation I have ever herd was the young girl’s story.
We need many more personal testimonies like this in our schools and churches.
Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology for over 40 years at several colleges and universities including Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,800 publications in 12 languages and 60 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries.