Many folks are going to be extremely pissed off about this article, if for no other reason than we humans have been hardwired against what I’m about to say. You see the ego is the most primitive foundation of one’s mindset. Its chief function is to promote survival at all cost and by any means possible. This mandate is so all-powerful that it convinces some that not only must they live in the flesh but extend their self beyond earthly bounds as well, thus the religious impulse to want to dwell in heaven for all eternity.

And so when it comes to a rational basis for suicide, such a notion is fighting the collective hardwired ego of nearly the entirety of humankind against taking such a self-destructive action. This impels religionist to say that it’s against God’s will, or others to claim that suicide is a cowardly act, when in reality suicide requires enormous courage to battle and win against one’s strongest instinct.

Of course under normal conditions this instinct is a very good and practical thing. Unfortunately the hardwired survival instinct emanating from one’s ego doesn’t give a crap if one is afflicted by unresolvable mental and physical pain. For folks suffering such unspeakable pain death by a fentanyl-laced opioid (fentanyl being 50 times more potent than heroin) is a blessing, an escape from endless mental and physical torture, a permanent cure.

So what are the alternative options to a fentanyl cure? Many will live in squalid crack type houses and steal to support their miserable being. Or they will exist in and out of jail most of their lives. Or if they have families of means they may be sent to the many scam rehabilitation centers in south Florida and other places where the government and the victims families are charged hundreds of thousands of dollars for non-existent treatment procedures because hope is eternal. But suffers remain uncured with parents even more exasperated for being relieved of much of their net worth.

Is anyone salvageable from a severe opioid addiction? Certainly. For happy well-adjusted and successful folks who, say, fell into addition because of legal medical treatment for pain, of course there is great hope. The same can be said for other normally well adjusted folks who unwisely experiment with opioids and became hooked.

But what about the tens of thousands of folks totally devoid of the cognitive and basic coping skills required to deal with the complexities of a modern life, is not a quick overdoes of fentanyl a far more human outcome than spending decades of mental and physical pain or a lifetime in and out of jail?

Admittedly there is no practical answer to this vexing question. I mean who is to say who is salvageable and who is not. On the other hand when communities have but limited resources to fight drug epidemics they need to be very careful how they allocate said resources. They must not want to be allocating them in ways that simply prolong the problem. Sometimes they must face the hard, cold fact that what they believe to be a horror is actually the only rational and humane cure for a hideous dilemma.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store