The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

May/June 2004

All Over Again


"Deja vu all over again." Those words were made famous by the beloved NY Yankee catcher Yogi Berra. His words of wisdom hit home and made you think at the same time. Are they really that silly, or is there a simple, direct approach that smacks you right between the eyes with its meaning?

His approach was simple, honest, and direct. That is what we have tried and have been successful with through the VAD program. It is simple, honest, and direct. People have been startled by VAD's success.

In the last issue we asked people to let us know how well their VAD programs were doing. We want to brag about you, and we want to show the membership of VVA what they can do in their own communities. It is hard to convince folks that this program is doing well but still needs help unless you also help. I know that many people may not want notoriety. We need you to swallow your pride and admit you are doing something good for your community. I have spoken to many of you at Leadership Conferences and Conventions. You accepted my challenge, and you have
come back and told us it does work. Now we must tell everyone. If we don't, this program will end, and all the hard work will be taken over by the drug dealers.

Speaking of things that change and then come right back again as if something new, have you heard the latest on methamphetamines? Originally thought to be the drug of choice for biker gangs in the 1970s and '80s, meth is having a resurgence across the country. Laboratories are springing up in many places, including hotel rooms. Methamphetamines are highly addictive artificial stimulants that are sold on the street for about $20 per pill, or $60 to $100 per gram. Meth is often passed off as Ecstasy and is extremely addictive.

In my county in New Jersey there were two possession and distribution cases involving meth in 2002; there were at least 16 in the last 12 monthsa more than 800 percent increase in less than two years. It's a dangerous drug that can be swallowed, inhaled, injected, or smoked. The high can last 12 hours, longer than cocaine. It causes paranoia, mental confusion, and anxiety. It is also more addictive than crack and can cause sleepless stretches that last for days. A pound of meth sells for as much as $10,000. Fumes from the manufacturing of this drug can cause fires and explosions.

If that doesn't scare you, I don't know what will. Our kids are doing this stuff. If we don't say enough and try to act as role models, then we deserve what we get. When I speak to at-risk children or kids in "normal'' environments and schools, they listen to us in part because we, as Vietnam veterans, have been called the biggest dope users in American history. If we don't help, then maybe it will be deja vu all over again, and our children and grandchildren can pick up where they think we left off. Remember the VVA motto, "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.'' If we abandon these kids, they won't even get the chance to become veterans, doctors, schoolteachers, or governors.

So once again in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it.'' But this time take the one that gives back a little to that kid who needs some help.

Don't forget to come to the VAD seminar at the Leadership Conference, where we will be putting on a real VAD lesson with a local Boy Scout Troop. We also plan to have a Medal of Honor recipient attend who is involved with the VAD program. Come out, and we can learn about you while you learn about Veterans Against Drugs. See you in Nashville.


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