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May 08 2015: Icehole Zombies. Jim Rayphand

SOME years ago the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a graphic novel, “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse,” providing tips to survive a zombie invasion as a “fun new way of teaching the importance of emergency preparedness.”
The CDC goes on to summarize cultural references to a zombie apocalypse. “It uses these to underscore the value of laying in water, food, medical supplies, and other necessities in preparation for any and all potential disasters, be they hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods,” or…hordes of zombies?
Though well-intended, the CDC’s depiction of a zombie apocalypse as a metaphor for the real and very serious nature of deadly epidemics initially struck me as more of a distraction that somewhat trivialized the intent. But, more recently it occurs to me that perhaps sensationalizing (as with a typical Hollywood depiction) the onslaught of a zombie virus in warp-speed has in fact served to desensitize us from the all-too-real, slow-creeping epidemic of actual zombies who walk among us today. Hear me out.
I really don’t think it’s much of a stretch to compare the pale clusters of jacked-up “ice-heads” in our community with the hordes of walking dead zombies made popular in film. Admittedly, I really don’t understand the biological effects of meth on a person’s brain, but I picture the sight of dripping gasoline on Styrofoam where it literally burns/melts holes upon contact. Hence “Icehole” (as coined by one of my brothers) which, coincidentally, rhymes with another word that I’d like to but can’t use here.
Ultimately, we’re talking about, “mindless, unthinking henchmen under the spell of an evil force” with both being generally “hostile to human life while engaging in a general assault on civilization.”
Mind you, I believe whole-heartedly that recovery is possible for meth addiction and, unlike the zombie virus, can be mitigated without a bullet to the head. But, for anyone actively using and refusing to seek help, I’d just as soon see him wallow in some deep, dark hole of despair never to be seen or heard from again — alas the beast inevitably comes out to eat. I mean, for a fix, these Iceholes will rob and beat-up their own Mothers (or worse, their Grandmothers) for God’s sake. Recently, I’ve heard of young children being pushed by their own Icehole relatives to peddle the stuff for them. Even worse than that, I heard from someone who knows that a child of a mere fifteen years old is a known user in the community…our community.
Of course, we know with some certainty that punitive measures to combat addictions are less likely to yield any genuine, positive outcomes as say, a proper treatment plan (i.e., Rehabilitation). So despite my visceral aversion to Iceholes, I am not completely without empathy. You see, “(using), once a habit becomes an obsession, a true insanity that condemns people to (use) against their will.”
Sadly, we also know that drug use “can sometimes give rise to symptoms that, over time, lead to a diagnosis of mental illness” though “it is dangerous to conclude that drug use caused a mental illness” (Dr. Porteus). The point being that the lines between mental illness and drug addiction are sometimes blurred; in fact, “research suggests at least a 60 percent rate for co-existing disorders in treatment programs. Professions have started to include substance abuse counselor training with mental health competencies, and mental health training with substance abuse competencies” (NAMI-YOLO).
On a personal note, I’ve had to make a concerted effort to distance myself from or rather cut certain people out of my life due to their involvement with Ice. It’s really a sad occasion when you have tell someone you are close with or care about that he/she is not allowed to come to your house anymore; unfortunately (especially in the CNMI), the options are slim. And, short of praying for some divine intervention, that’s all I know to do in order to keep my kids safe — I don’t think I need to elaborate on the kinds of criminal atrocities being committed at the hands of these Iceholes.
Make no mistake. Our civil island-society is under attack and we are at war — World War IZ: The Rise and Fall of the Icehole Zombies.
For more, please feel free to contact the NMPASI Office at 235-7273/4 [tel] / 235-7275 [fax/tty] or via the internet at Also, our Governor has proclaimed May 17-23, 2015 as Prevention Awareness Week. For more information on what you can do to assist in efforts to prevent addictions, please call CGC at 323-6560/61.
The writer is executive director of Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc.