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The War on Drugs

a poem by Meghan Schrader, English and Communications Double Major

Content Warning: Mention of Drug Use, Overdose, Death

 

Part 1:


They tell you about the War on Drugs.

They don’t tell you about the bodies you’ll have to pick up when it’s over.

No salute or folded flag for these soldiers.


They tell you about the War on Drugs.

They don’t tell you about the comrades taken prisoner of war,

Only how they’re wearing enemy badges on their arms.


They don’t tell you about the price tag on rehab facilities,

Only raise taxes for the drug task force,

Because addict means criminal, not suffering.

Not mental illness.

Not disease.

Not sickness.

Not son and daughter.

Not missing in action,

But rather deserter.


They tell you about the War on Drugs.

They forget to mention they’re not fighting the substance,

But rather the user.


They tell you about the War on Drugs.

They don’t tell you that it’ll be your friends,

Your family,

Your boyfriend or girlfriend,

A child with a bright future ahead of them.


They tell you about the War on Drugs.

They don’t tell you about the mother who has to bury her son,

The sister who has to bury her little brother,

The girl who has to bury her soulmate,

The home turned into a battlefield.


When bombs are needles, how do you seek shelter?

When a bullet is a baggy in an outstretched hand,

A vest isn’t going to stop it.

When killing the enemy means killing yourself, how can you fight back?


Part 2:


Here is the truth about the War on Drugs;

He was 4 months away from his 21st birthday.

He was studying pre-law.

He was going to marry his high school sweetheart.

He had just gotten back from rehab three days earlier.

His mother found him.


Only half of us could attend the funeral.

One was in jail,

One on house arrest,

One in a halfway house,

One in rehab.


I watched my family turn into walking skeletons

Before they ever entered the graveyard.

I watched the world turn away from them

Before it even gave them a chance.


Part 3:


His sister found his mother.

One year, five months, and 12 days

Alone on the battlefields.

She followed her son into the trenches,

Determined to bring her fallen soldier home,

Or join him.


None of us could attend the funeral.

She requested no flowers,

But rather aid against the War.

Tribute to the fallen,

The Missing in Action,

The collateral in the War on Drugs.


When you join the War on Drugs,

Make sure you know who the true enemy is

Before you shoot.



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