The maiden in danger is a basic American element and has been for almost two centuries. In our now mythical past, the prospect of the continent’s indigenous people moving white pioneer women to an unknown world sparked our fear. (Victims were expected to resist and die rather than submit.) The formula, then as now, was to portray women as helpless victims forever when they needed rescue. And the stories used to go viral long before that term existed.
In 1897, it was a wealthy young woman from Boston, Betsy Stevenson, whose unknown whereabouts moved the press. Like many stories, theirs were national thanks to the news services of the day. (She was found a decade later performing in a New York theater production.) In 1909, New York newspapers went crazy when a 13-year-old girl named Adele Boas disappeared during a shopping trip with her mother. . (It turns out he fled.) In 1910, New York City heiress Dorothy Arnold, 25, disappeared and began a nationwide search. The New York Times covered Arnold’s story day after day and returned periodically during the years when unidentified bodies were found. False sightings – Boston! Philadelphia! Muskogee! – he heard from anywhere where a newspaper picked up the mystery. When Arnold’s mother died in 1928, the unresolved disappearance was still news. “It was really fantastic research at the time,” United Press reported, “which did a lot to develop police coverage of modern newspapers.”
1910 Missing Person Poster for Dorothy Arnold. | NYPD through New York Daily News
The outrageous “yellow journalists” of the 1890s designed the storytelling templates that still support modern newspapers and cable networks, with the trope of endangered girls the main driving force. entire campaigns. Publications in New York and elsewhere confronted prostitution by portraying young prostitutes as “white slaves” victimized. William Randolph Hearst went beyond covering the initial news in danger until he actually made it when his yellow New York Journal newspaper broke an 18-year-old Cuban woman named Evangelina Cisneros from prison during the pre-war period. Hispano-American. Missing Women was also good business outside of journalism: the silent film The Perils of Pauline (produced by Hearst), which he released in 1914, placed a young and attractive heiress in dangerous jams and then extracted her.
Those barons of hungry circulation tabloids were scratching at something that we can trace back to Greek myth. The drama of the endangered maiden awakens in us archetypal patterns sown for centuries by culture, history and literature. It’s a story we can’t stop listening to, reading or clicking. No matter why Rapunzel was locked up, it is simply enough for the purposes of the plot that keep her against her will. The same goes for the evil fairy who makes Sleeping Beauty comatose, with Darth Vader, who imprisons Princess Leia, and with the evil ones who kidnap Buttercup. Even when Gone Girl kidnaps Gone Girl, her kidnapping and her implied danger are enough to move the plot. The kidnappings of the daughters of Liam Neeson (film) have managed to shore up his entire late career.
So when reporters grabbed their laptops and camcorders to report the disappearance of Gabby Petito’s story, they probably knew from experience that they would be scolded for telling the story. But they also knew from experience that the vast majority of their audience would leave it, and if they didn’t serve additional aids, other outlets would.
Shouldn’t it be a story? Kidnapping (and, in this case, possible relationship violence) are real issues, of course, but it’s worth noting that neither the press nor its audience are interested in these issues per se. Missing men don’t value petite-style breathless coverage unless they’re famous, nor do women who have outgrown their children. (As one sociobiologist might argue, society invests more deeply in the fate of fertile women because they are essential to the survival of the species.) When deciding which stories to pump, the press may not consciously choose women. of the young and white variety. , but the list of stories from decades before Petito fits a clear pattern: Lazio Peterson, Elizabeth Smart, Chandra Levy, Polly Klaas, Natalee Holloway, Lori Hacking, Robyn Gardner, Mollie Tibbetts, Michelle Parker and others. Obviously, these cases deserve some coverage, but at some point thousands of young adults are missing. You should do luxury gymnastics to streamline why so much journalistic firepower is concentrated on a few white women.
In addition to touching our psyches, the story of the “missing woman” endures because it is the kind of story that reliably attracts readers and viewers, even when there is no news to report. Since Petito’s body was found, the story has continued as the media has managed his concurrent schedules of disappearance and murder and have continued to cover the search for his fiancé at large. We’re not in Natalee Holloway’s territory yet, but we’re getting there.
Will he force all this scolding into self-examination? Don’t count on it. The chances are slim that the press will control his appetite for gender or even recognize the cultural origins of his desires. The next time networks flood the area with a “missing maiden” story, console yourself with this: it’s just a fairy tale that cable news loves to tell.
Paul Farhi of the Washington Post made his own swing at the troop lady in 2018. Send fairy tales to [email protected]. My email alerts I love telling nightly stories on my Twitter feed. My RSS feed will let you know that the original version of Sleeping Beauty is darker than the darker one by Cormac McCarthy.
During the campaign, Biden presented a comprehensive plan to address the opioid epidemic, but its public advocacy on the issue has fallen sharply as it focuses its presidency on its legislative agenda and coronavirus pandemic. Now, in addition to half of Biden’s first year in office, as the National Recovery Month ends, his administration faces calls to do more to avert the crisis.
But experts say more needs to be done to address the impact of the pandemic on addiction.
More than 93,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2020, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the deadliest last year for drug overdoses. Alcohol consumption by American adults appears to have also increased during the pandemic, and nearly 1 in 4 adults reported drinking more to cope with stress in a survey by the American Psychological Association.
Regina LaBelle, acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, stressed in an interview with CNN that overdose deaths “were already on the rise before the pandemic and worsened during the pandemic.” “.
Covid-19 has caused general complications, including traditional support systems to help people recover from addiction. When the pandemic began, access to treatment and community programs changed dramatically. Meetings from programs like Alcoholics Anonymous were moved to Zoom. Isolated individuals in their home. Capacity at addiction treatment facilities decreased.
The pandemic also sparked a mental health crisis that may have led more people to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, experts say. People changed the way they treated illness and death to prevent the spread of Covid-19, sometimes preventing them from being able to sleep in the hospital of family members or could not personally mourn at funerals. . And many struggled with job insecurity or faced the possibility of health risks in the workplace.
Dr. Stephen Taylor, an Alabama-based doctor who acts as chief physician at Pathway Healthcare, which has outpatient addiction treatment offices across the South, said he sees people responding to the stress of pandemic with an increase in substance use. He also noted that across the country “people who do not even have a substance use disorder have increased their alcohol consumption.”
“What we’re experiencing more in Alabama than perhaps in other parts of the country is just the stress of the pandemic: the anguish of so many people getting sick and being hospitalized and dying hospitalized,” Taylor noted. “A lot of people respond to that with an increase in substance use.”
More work to do
Across the spectrum, experts also say the Biden administration is doing a lot more work, especially in the fight against the spread of fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic opioid.
Jim Carroll, who was the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy during the Trump administration, expressed concern about the influx of fentanyl seizures on the southern border, comparing the drug with a “weapon of mass destruction.”
“I think that’s one of the ways we have to address this issue,” he said.
“The aspect of prevention is so key, but we just need to know that drugs do not enter our country. We cannot have a porous border for drugs,” he added. “This is really key to what ONDCP wants to achieve … reducing the drugs that are on our streets.”
The administration also continues to face the challenge of an influx of illicitly manufactured fentanyl throughout the drug supply, LaBelle said.
“And that’s why we’re seeing rising rates of methamphetamine and cocaine-related overdose deaths. It’s because fentanyl is everywhere. When someone uses illegal drugs, there’s likely to be fentanyl in that drug,” LaBelle said. .
For example, deaths from methamphetamine overdose nearly tripled between 2015 and 2019 in people ages 18 to 64, and many of these involved the use of an opioid at the same time, according to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
There are areas where observers say the Biden administration is below what the president discussed on the campaign trail.
Maritza Pérez, director of the Office of National Affairs of the Drug Policy Alliance, a non-profit organization that states that it aims to advance policies that best reduce the harms of drug use and drug prohibition, argue that while candidate Biden raised “clemency, the need to re-review our drug laws, that no one should devote time to drug activity, (and) that it would prioritize racial justice” on track of the campaign, his administration has done little to address these concerns.
Some groups have also disagreed with the administration’s proposal to permanently program fentanyl-related substances, known as fentanyl analogs. The substances have been temporarily designated according to Annex I, the same level of drugs that includes heroin and ecstasy, since 2018.
Proponents of permanent fentanyl analogue programming say the ban helps law enforcement build cases against producers and deters individuals from making these potentially harmful substances.
But Perez said the Biden administration’s proposal to definitively schedule analogues, which would not apply mandatory minimum sentences except in cases of death or bodily harm related to substance trafficking, “is not enough.”
“Not all fentanyl analogs have the same effect,” Perez said. “Some are really useful, especially when we talk about opioid addiction and opioid overdoses. So that’s really problematic. It sets … a new standard for drug programming, but also a new standard for opioids. criminalization “.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine, where Taylor is on the board, urges the White House to support various measures in its 2022 National Drug Control Strategy, scheduled for Congress early next year. . Taylor stressed the importance of the proposed funding in the House’s $ 3.5 trillion spending bill. Democrats had originally settled on that front-line figure, but some party Senate moderates have indicated they will not support such a high number.
“We recognize that it would be the most significant legislation for people with substance use disorder, literally since the passage of the (Affordable Care Act),” Taylor said, adding that it is “also an opportunity to really move forward. in equity “.
The spending bill includes a provision to provide Medicaid inmates before they are released from prison, an important step that advocates argue will help an extremely vulnerable population gain access to mental health treatment and consumption. substances, possibly preventing recidivism. The spending proposal would also extend the child tax credit, but its inclusion could be placed on the blog.
LaBelle said, “Poverty puts people at risk for some of the conditions that can lead to early substance use,” arguing that extending credit will help prevent people from developing substance use disorders by reducing conditions that can lead to trauma (and) homelessness “.
Address the addiction epidemic at the federal level
Some aspects of the Biden administration’s approach to the issue of overdose encourage experts from across the political spectrum.
Perez said he credits the Biden administration for using the term “harm reduction” in public statements and said the federal government supports those measures.
“This has never happened before. So the fact that they say we have to support people, get to know them where they are, make sure people use drugs safely. They didn’t say that. But that it’s essentially what hurts the reduction is: it’s making sure people have the tools they need to use drugs safely. And, you know, that’s historic. We haven’t seen anything like it, “Perez said.
Experts praised efforts to exempt health care providers from certification requirements to be able to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug used in combination with behavioral therapy to treat opioid use disorder.
The administration has also lifted a moratorium on a mobile component in opioid treatment programs, making it easier to care for more isolated communities. And the experts stressed the importance of the nearly $ 4 billion in funding available through the American Rescue Plan to expand access to mental health services and substance use disorders, which include $ 30 million for mental health services. damage reduction.
Carroll, in particular, praised Biden’s candidate for head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Dr. Rahul Gupta. Gupta, a former West Virginia public health official, would be the first doctor to take on the role of drug tsar if confirmed.
When Owen Pelletier of Cowessess First Nation thinks back to her childhood, there are few happy memories.
“My parents suffered trauma and put him to sleep through drugs and alcohol and ended up abandoning our children and we experienced neglect, abuse and neglect,” he told Global News.
Pelletier recalled experiencing the same treatment in foster care, in addition to racism and discrimination.
“As far as I was concerned, I was the cozy little Indian. That was my title. That was my identity, the cozy little Indian, ”he said.
There was no relief at the school where Pelletier said he was harassed and despised.
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“You spend seven years in this type of environment, what do you think will happen to a person? You’ll get angry, ”he said, adding,“ If we don’t know the coping mechanisms, how to deal with it properly, we want to join the gangs and we want to smoke drugs and drink alcohol. ”
This is what happened to Pelletier.
He joined a gang, became addicted to drugs and alcohol, and eventually ended up in the Saskatoon and Regina correctional facilities.
A young native, he never understood the root cause of his struggles.
“Thirty-four years before the lady said, ‘You suffer abandonment and neglect.’
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Once Pelletier realized he was experiencing intergenerational trauma, he began to address it.
“My mother was sent to a residential school as a child. She experienced emotional, physical, mental and sexual abuse by caregivers there and therefore was never cured of it. He buried her deep inside. And drugs and alcohol, that’s how we treat them. That’s how we put pain to sleep, “he said.
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Pelletier has also been the victim of family fractures since the 1960s Scoop by the family’s father.
“Therefore, it is easy to establish this connection, how these intergenerational traumas are transmitted,” he added.
On Recovery Day and National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Pelletier reflects on his past, his own recovery, and his “second chance at life.”
One of the barriers to recovery, for some, may be the stigma associated with addiction.
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“Society puts this stigma and judgment on people, families, law enforcement, health care providers, everyone has a level of judgment and stigma towards people who use drugs, often thinking it’s their fault. hers, ”explained Louise Lemieux White, co-founder of Families for Addiction Recovery.
“We know that addiction is not a choice and it is a disease that can be treated and prevented and we hope that people can get the compassion and empathy they deserve and not be stigmatized,” White added.
Pelletier said another barrier to recovery may be lack of acceptance.
“Once we understood that we were given a bad hand and that we are not bad people, we were given a bad hand and we suffer traumas and that is why we try to put them to sleep through drugs and alcohol. Once we understand that, we can start breaking that pattern and start healing, ”he said.
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Ontario Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo, who will spend time with several Indigenous communities next month, said Canadians must respect what Indigenous people have gone through and “give them the tools to help -to improve their lives “.
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“There are amazing individuals in indigenous communities who have never had a chance to really shine. There are teachings of indigenous culture that are extremely useful in dealing with many of the mental health problems and addictions we have, ”said Tibollo.
As an inspiring and motivating speaker and father of three, Pelletier now devotes his time to providing positive guidance for Indigenous youth and helping them on the right path.
“There’s so much negativity where they come from, there’s so much drug and alcohol, both inside and outside of prison, and so it was for me,” he said. “Trauma, suffering, pain, pain … I have friends who are on the ground because of this lifestyle and don’t face it. So if you approach it, acknowledge it, accept it and start working and heal yourself … You will have a great life “.
There is no single path to homelessness. Lakeyia Scott endured a lifetime of addiction and violence in rural Georgia before finding sobriety and refuge in Augusta three years ago.
With the help of social services and his own efforts, Scott, 43, now works on a low-paying basis and has no disability payments and has a home. She lives in permanent support housing in Olde Town, but plans to house it in a Turn Back the Block house next year.
One person who played an important role in Scott’s transformation is Cassandra Walton, case manager for the CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority. The EOA is an Augustan non-profit organization that operates social programs throughout the region.
Scott connected with Walton through the Marion Barnes Resource Center for the Homeless on East Boundary Street. But moving from homeless to refugee was not a free trip, Walton said.
“When I met Lakeyia, I looked her straight in the face. I said, ‘I’m a case manager and I’m going to do 20% of the work,’ ”Walton said. The rest was Scott’s thing.
Walton incorporated Scott into the EOA support housing (a set of reconstructed historic remote homes) and has since been on an upward trajectory, Walton said.
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It was a long trip for the native of Dorchester, Massachusetts, who moved with her mother to Washington County, Washington, after a series of tragedies, including sexual abuse, when she was 11 years old.
Despite being a gifted student, Scott fell out with the wrong people and, at 17, was hooked on crack cocaine.
“When I turned 17, I went to jail,” Scott said, baffled by his troubled past. “I received a charge (selling drugs). I did a lot to maintain my habit, to continue. And I managed to keep selling as well ”.
Released at age 19 and feeling uncertain about his place in the world, Scott returned to his mother’s home.
“I went home to mom,” she said. “Mom talks all this mess, but she’ll give you this opportunity.”
His continued use of cocaine would make life with his mother unsustainable. Once, when Scott was in full addiction, his mother revealed the impact he was having.
“I was drugged with crack and everything (I was 100 years old) I probably wear a size 0 in pants,” he said, crying softly. “He said,‘ I want you to see what you’ve done to me ’and my mom’s skin had exploded, the nerves in her skin had exploded all over her body,” Scott said.
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Scott said he wasn’t ready to stop using it, but he knew he had to leave his mother’s house.
“I told him, ‘You have a choice,’ you can sit there and keep doing it, or get out of his face. I’d rather get out of his face, ‘” he said.
Scott found an escape at a local beverage house.
“My mother and I weren’t going to ride horses, so I got married. I married a man I met in a week, ”he said, laughing.
He became a role model for the young addict. “I always had someone to save me. Not once did I have to do anything on my own, “he said.” Please note that I am 20. I have a hundred pounds and I will use it. “
Her first husband was older than her mother and kept her supplied with cocaine, but the relationship collapsed and Scott soon faced another charge of selling drugs.
Substance abuse and mental health resources were scarce, if not non-existent, in Washington County, located about 70 miles southwest of Augusta. Scott’s next husband, a drug dealer, kept her supplied with crack but abused her non-stop.
“I let it win me for seven years,” he said. Once, “he punched me in the eyes so hard I bit my tongue in half.”
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As the years progressed, Scott said he would sleep anywhere (a grave, a porch, a couch) as he moved from house to house, taking a few more brushes with the police. Along the way, she was diagnosed with PTSD for sexual assault and was eligible for a Social Security disability check.
Later, an older merchant with whom he entered entered prison. While he was not there, a grease fire burned the abandoned house. With all his belongings and a lost vehicle, Scott said it was a turning point.
“I knew there was no one else who could try to get ahead,” he said.
Scott left Washington County for the last time and arrived at the August Salvation Army shelter on Greene Street in 2018 with $ 700 in his pocket. Ministries around the shelter kept her fed, but the shelter was full and dirty, she said.
The first morning he left the shelter, a woman with children offered him crack.
“Frightened to death” of encountering traps or bad characters, Scott recalled his mother’s advice: look for Willie Walker, his stepfather’s first cousin who had been homeless in Augusta for years. Walker was known for giving advice to the homeless, but for not helping herself, she said.
Walker became “an angel on my journey,” Scott said. “He showed me how to move, do things and talk to people. In fact, he was the one who told me to talk to Mrs. Walton about my addiction.”
The conversation was a turning point. Scott received treatment for PTSD and addiction and remains sober after three years. “I won’t be back. The taste is gone,” he said.
Walker’s death from the January cold outside of a downtown resource center would become a trigger for Agusta’s new homeless working group.
When Scott calmed down, the battle would not have ended for either her or others as the days passed, the suitcases tucked away by the railroad tracks behind the shelter, walking the streets looking for a place to live.
One of the large plants in the aging city center wanted $ 1,200 just to get the deposit, rent and other charges, he said.
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Once he entered the EOA housing, Walton would end up persuading Scott to come down from Social Security to earn more and Scott now has a job at Kimberly Clark. He will soon open land at Turn Back the Block, which is part of a neighborhood revitalization program in Harrisburg, Augusta.
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Scott’s track record of homelessness is “really a scenario at best,” Walton said.
“Lakeyia is motivated towards its own success,” he said. “We’re all in one decision to be a better person, and she made that decision and stayed with her.”