How times have changed over the years

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 16, 2009

Drugs are taking over our society. It seems a week doesn’t go by anymore without a big news story of a drug bust, overdose or drug-related murder here in the River Parishes, in neighboring Jefferson and Orleans, in our state and in our nation.

I never thought I’d see the day I couldn’t go into the drug store and purchase Sudafed without a once-over from the pharmacist.

That’s because of the huge increase in meth labs. Rolling meth labs seem to be the latest in fashionable phrases. We report on them regularly at our sister paper in St. Tammany Parish.

Drugs are everywhere. They are in our neighborhoods, in our schools, everywhere.

Maybe I’m just not a hip person, because I couldn’t tell you much about methamphetamines or any other type of drug. And I was naive growing up, too. But back then in my high school in Jackson, Miss., subjects like trendy drugs weren’t even thought about by those in my circle. We were into school activities, church youth group, movies and the mall.

There was a group of boys our senior year who went to “shoot pool” a lot. They were starting to drink some, of course, but it was a guy thing, and they tried to be real secretive about it.

We didn’t mind going places with our parents, either. All our parents were involved in everything we did anyway. Of course, we loved to drive ourselves and thought it a big deal to take the car out of town to a ball game.

How times change.

Teens today have their own cars and their own cell phones. Some have curfews that might as well not exist, and many are allowed to come and go as they please.

The cell phones may be for security purposes, but you wouldn’t know it by the way they are used, especially in restaurants and stores.

And many may say the late curfews are a reward for being trustworthy.

Maybe so. But they are also the reason police officers have to stay of top of training in handling youth, drugs and the like.

For all you old-timers like myself, maybe you’ll appreciate this e-mail I received. The author is unknown.

“I had a drug problem when I was a child and teenager.

I was ‘drug’ to church on Sunday morning.

I was ‘drug’ to church on Sunday night.

I was ‘drug’ to church on Wednesday night.

I was ‘drug’ to Sunday school every week, and I was ‘drug’ to Vacation Bible School.

I was ‘drug’ to the family altar to read the Bible and pray.

I was also ‘drug’ to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents.

Those ‘drugs’ are still in my veins, and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say and think.

They are stronger than cocaine, crack or heroin.

If more children had this ‘drug’ problem, America would certainly be a better place.”

Sandy Cunningham is publisher of L’Observateur. She can be reached at