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story.lead_photo.caption Jim Davidson, Columnist

According to data compiled by The New York Times, drug overdose deaths in 2016 most likely exceeded 59,000, the largest annual jump in United States history. This death count is the latest consequence of an escalating public health crisis: opioid addiction now made more deadly by an influx of illicitly manufactured Fentanyl and similar drugs. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50 years of age.

On a personal note, this information is completely foreign to me. Being from the older generation, I was never exposed to this when I was growing up. The kids in our small town who were considered “the wrong crowd” went to a nearby “wet” town to have a beer.

However, there is one thing I do know a little about, and that is human nature. The individuals who see themselves as having a bright future and who have spiritual and character training as they are being reared, are far less likely to get involved in drugs later on in life. While we all get discouraged from time to time, and misery loves company, we have to be on guard as to the kind of people with whom we choose to spend our time. Hanging out with the wrong crowd will definitely lead to trouble.

What brought these thoughts to mind is something I ran across in my files a while back titled, “Thoughts That Inspire” edited by J. Richard Drake and printed by American Greetings Corporation of Cleveland, Ohio. These thoughts just set my thinking on a much higher plane. The people who are “up” and see themselves as having a bright future, are far less likely to get involved in drugs that can eventually lead to death. As William James of Harvard University has so famously said, “Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” Here are those thoughts I mentioned, and see if they don’t inspire you as they do me.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” – (Henry David Thoreau)

“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.” (Thomas Moore)

“During times of trial when our inner strength and faith are tested, the comfort of God manifests itself to us. At the moment our strength becomes insufficient to face the day and life’s importance wanes under the weight of our distress, He suddenly springs open the gates of Heaven and pours out blessings so abundantly that there is hardly room to receive them all.” (Anonymous)

“You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.” (Chinese Proverb)

“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming convictions that I had nowhere else to turn. My own wisdom and that of all the people about me seemed insufficient for the day.” (Abraham Lincoln)

“A brave man always knows the way, no matter how intricate the roads.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“The word that has been written on the brow of every man is hope.” (Victor Hugo)

“But nothing can take the place of love. Love is the measure of life only so far as we love, do we really live.” (John Burroughs)

My final thought to you today my friend is one of concern. I hope you will be sensitive, as I plan to be, towards those who seem to be depressed on a long-term basis. We all get discouraged from time to time, but deep depression is entirely another matter. The main thing is just to care.

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