It's sadly ironic that at the moment I'm writing Part II of the origins of my illicit-drug novel titled The Alchemist, my wife's extended family and associated friends are holding a memorial down in San Diego County for a young member of the family who we used to call 'Char-boy' ... before he turned 25 and managed to do himself in with what will almost certainly turn out to be an overdose of heroin.
To say that this makes me angry barely describes my feelings. While I couldn't care less if people sell, buy or smoke pot (ethyl alcohol has always been a far more deadly and destructive 'drug' among young and old alike, with far more lenient legal penalties for its illicit or stupid use ... I know, I used to work the tragic traffic accidents), I despise heroin dealers. They know they're selling a drug that latches onto the human brain with a beguiling ferocity that is almost impossible to control, much less overcome ... and they don't care because they're doing it for money.
And yes, I know that the heroin victims made their own choice to take those first enticing and seemingly innocuous hits ... and you really don't want law enforcement officers disposing of these slime-ball dealers in what we might call a 'more efficient and effective' manner (I tend to favor the idea of complementary late-night and off-shore swimming lessons in the middle of a long chum-line, but that's probably just my fiction-writing brain talking), because that's a really dark and slippery slope, and vigilantism is best kept in the fiction books and movies.
But that doesn't stop me from thinking cheerful thoughts --- and writing lethal story arcs --- to try and make up for the loss of a nice kid who was trying to find his way in a tough world.
Rest in peace, Char-boy.