Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bourdain traces heroin epidemic in Berkshires to over-prescription by doctors of pain meds


Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” stuck close to home last Sunday night with a visit to western Massachusetts, specifically Greenfield, particularly to look at the hidden heroin epidemic.  A typical account of the show is on WGGB, here. Bourdain started the episode by admitting his own early drug use in NYC.  
     
The basic explanation of the epidemic is the over-prescription of pain medication ever since the early 1990s.  A female doctor explained how the dictum was to make the patient comfortable.  This led to the leveraging of prescription pain killers, to the illegal forms, eventually to heroin. 
   
Yet, I can recall in 1973, when New York State passed a zero-tolerance law on drugs 
   
Bourdain also visits Provincetown, visits the gay bars and discos, and has a seafood dinner in one of them.  I’ve been to P-town only once, with friends over Labor Day of 1976, and I remember we stopped at the Boatslip.  We stayed in a friend’s house in Duxbury, and then went up to Mount Washington and took the cog railway Labor Day, when there was already rime ice forming.

P-town is a little bit inconvenient to get to, given its popularity.  So is Martha’s Vineyard.   Bourdain could go farther northeast, visit Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick, and the remote areas of Newfoundland and Labrador. I’ve been to that province only once, in Gander, on a chartered airliner stop in 1972.  Prince Edward Island is the only province I’ve never set food in.  I got into Saskatchewan illegally in 1998, long before 9-11, simply on the back ranch roads.   You can’t do that now.  
WJLA in Washington DC will follow up Bourdain's report with one about heroin and prescription drug abuse in the wealthier DC suburbs soon. 

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