Downeast Drug Den 

brown glass bottle with liquid and pipette

There are three things that I hate more than anything else in this world: bigotry, hypocrisy, and illicit narcotics. All three are destructive and all are out of control. It makes me physically ill to witness teenagers and young adults trading the promise of their youth for an easy high. These fools feel invincible until the crash comes and their whole lives become the pursuit of the high, which diminishes with each use. 

I grew up in a relatively poor US city in which I saw drug deals go down on street corners on a regular basis. I was offered cocaine at least twice getting off the school bus during high school. I saw these drug dealers driving Escalades and Mercedes all over town. They were shrewd businessmen, and they didn’t care how much of a trail of destruction they caused, as long as profits kept going up. 

I’ve stumbled upon customers in convenience store bathrooms snorting coke, smoking meth, or shooting up with heroin. Weed never bothered me, because it’s frankly nowhere as addictive or destructive as those other three, and it’s actually useful for medicinal purposes. But I’m very familiar with coke, meth, and heroin, and witnessed it becoming the entertainment of choice for many of my peers in high school and later college. 

But what occurred on an ill-fated trip to Maine this September absolutely blew my mind. We stopped for gas at a chain convenience store. My wife went in to get a bite to eat, and there were almost no products on the shelves. In the office, the employees were openly doing every sort of illegal drug imaginable. Customers didn’t come in there for lottery tickets, cigs, or Cokes, but for some of their illicit gold dust. 

Upon seeing this, we drove four and a half hours straight home, ditching our accommodations for the night — which were nonrefundable. We’d already had a bad enough day, dealing with bigotry for us being a same-sex couple at a major thrift store chain, having our EZ Pass for tolls break without warning, and our phones not working properly inside any store we went. It was the worst trip we’d taken thus far as a couple, and we’ve vowed to never leave the state of Vermont again unless our lives depend on it.

I’m sure that this Downeast Drug Den is one of many along US Route 1. The state of Maine is in shambles and as I write this, Hurricane Lee is bearing down on New England with the Maine coast in its sights. I’m beginning to feel like this onslaught of natural disasters is Mother Nature’s way of paddling humanity on the ass for being foolish, morally bankrupt, and indifferent to her care. 

I no longer care if I sound bitter or unfair in stating my opinions. My unvarnished honesty has been often ridiculed and banned from public forums, so I’ve relented from being anything but a smiley face for years. But, at this point, there is no other reason for me to wake up in the morning but to get on my little soapbox and shout as loudly as possible.

I don’t feel bad at all for people who get addicted to drugs. That was their choice. Everyone has a choice to say no to drugs. I thought that we made that very clear throughout the 80’s and 90’s, but I guess we slacked off on that message in the 21st century. The reason young people in America turn to drugs is that they have nothing else to look forward to, nothing to be proud of or excited about but the prospect of either massive college debt or an extremely limited job market which won’t pay them anything. 

We live in a world where you’re either self-made, ridiculously lucky, destitute, or drug-addled. I don’t see it getting better any time soon. So, my wife and I are getting what we can online, limit any trips out to stores, and only leave the state when absolutely necessary. I feel like the Downeast Drug Den is going to become a national chain soon enough, except it will be both Downtown and taking over the spot of your favorite neighborhood corner store going out of business.

I hate to put out negative energy into the world, but at this point, it’s more important for me to be honest than care about people’s feelings. So be it.

~ Amelia 🙁

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.

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