Kommunity of Koercion
By Alana M. Pieper
April 27, 2000
If you were a drug addict, what would you do with two hundred dollars?
This is only a natural response to CRACK (Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity), a private organization that pays drug-addicted women of child-bearing age two hundred dollars to obtain long-term birth control or sterilization. The organization is based in Anaheim, but the concept is catching on throughout the entire nation--and is already rooted in cities such as Dallas, Minneapolis, and Chicago.
Indisputably, the basic intentions of CRACK are honorable. The program is an effort to cut down on the number of babies born addicted to drugs, as those born to drug addicts usually are. But the organization's activities are essentially futile, deceptive, and unethical when examined from an objective viewpoint.
CRACK is like a journey with no destination. The road signs glitter With hope for the future and the highways are paved with well-placed emotional arguments, but the road just keeps going; the trip itself is fruitless. What long-term purpose can this organization serve? The money most likely goes toward the users' drug habits, leaving the actual drug problem unhindered. This program is reminiscent of the needle exchange plan that started a few years ago, in which drug addicts were urged to exchange their used needles for sterilized ones in order to stop the spread of diseases such as HIV. The mentalities in both cases are those of quick-fix remedies, with no thought given to the implications that they bring to the surface of the drug war.
Behind the glittering facade of good intentions lies the stark reality Of CRACK--unabashed bribery. Is this really what the drug war boils down to? If so, then the war was over a long time ago; the anti-drug ad campaigns, organizations, rallies, and parades can just pack up their ambitions and forget about the fight. If not, then CRACK's strategy can only be perceived in its barefaced notoriety--as an antidote to the fight.
From an ethical standpoint, CRACK is almost as appealing as a moldy slice of toast soaked in sour milk. Most drug addicts possess somewhat mushy judgment that can be a detriment to the ability to make important decisions, especially pertaining to the body. Invariably, they have acquired shortsighted thirst for the money that goes toward their addictions. Perhaps CRACK realizes this and has actually built its program around the idea, but anybody with a scrap of conscience should be able to see what is really happening. The drug addicts involved are not seen as actual people with hearts, minds, and lives; they are dealt with in the same detached manner that cattle are vaccinated or weeds are pulled. Even more outrageously, no drug counseling or treatments are administered. In short, CRACK coerces drug addicts into shutting down functions of their God-given bodies in exchange for a measly two hundred bucks. Pretty simple--almost as easy as capturing a cocker spaniel by throwing a steak into the trap.
As many sad stories go, this one finds no happy ending. CRACK is spreading across the nation with reckless glee, finding plenty of supporters. The protesters of the program are called insensitive extremists who don't care about the welfare of drug-addicted babies, but that's simply not the issue. The issue is that the existing drug laws need to be enforced and backed by consequences for breaking them. Why should a police officer risk his life in setting up a drug bust when in the next community, addicts are being paid to obtain birth control or sterilization? The real issue is that this program is not legally or rationally justifiable. Doing drugs is either legal or illegal--right or wrong. A lot of money is spent to set up anti-drug programs, yet this program dismantles them with a stealthy blow.
CRACK will not stop all drug-addicted women from giving birth to drug-addicted babies, and it is pointless to deceive oneself into believing that it can. What it WILL do is send drug addicts an erroneous message that detracts from the impact of the crusade against drugs. What it WILL do is work against the anti-drug movement which has found substantial success in the past two decades. What it WILL do is create yet another toxic confusion between what is right and what is wrong in our society.
We need to take action in counteracting the damage that CRACK has done to the fight against illegal drugs--please don't let the organization franchise its way into your community. If you stand aside in silent support of its shortsighted principles, then you are about to become a hitchhiker on the journey with no destination, and the road ahead is looking dreary.
This article copyright © 2000 by Alana M. Pieper and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.