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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 31, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Saturday, August LETHBRIDGE Middle-class has problems too Women on drugs studied By JUDY KLEMESRUD New York Times Service NEW YORK Much has been said late- ly about middle-class women: that they are the leaders of the women's liberation movement, that they are enjoying more consumer luxuries than ever before, that they are finally being admitted to colleges and companies once only open to men. But rarely does one hear about middle- class women who have become dependent on drugs, or why they got that way. One is usually led to believe that only ghetto women, prostitutes, other women criminals and female flower children turn to drugs most likely because of severe economic and emotional deprivation. It is somehow difficult to face up to the fact that some middle-class women, programed for interesting jobs, and houses and husbands in the suburbs may also be popping pills, or shooting drugs into their veins, or obliterating themselves on alcohol every day. Barbara Kerr, a 32-year-old Chicago writer, has taken one of the first hard looks at the problem of drugs and the middleclass woman. She writes from experience: for two years, from 1965 to 1967. she ex- perimented with drugs "all of them" in San Francisco's then notorious Haight- Ahsbury district. Two years ago, Miss Kerr began study- ing middle-class women from across the country who had at one time or another been dependent on drugs. She got their names through psychiatrists, professional drug researchers, friends, alcoholics anonymous, and by placing ads in local newspapers. Eventually, she cut the number down to 40, from which she selected six women whom she studies in depth. The result of her research is a 333-page book called "strong at the Broken Places: Women Who Have Survived It is about six women who were expected by their parents to lead charmed lives, floating smoothly through life, marrying and living happily ever after in the sub- urbs. Abigail. Kathleen. Susan. Carrie. Samantha. Patricia They came from large cities, small towns, isolated rural areas Five of the six had college educations. Most were protestant. All were white Instead of being charming, however, their lives were horrifying. For years they lived a degrading, drug-ridden existence, consuming vast quantities of marijuana, LSD, methedrine, barbiturates, amphetamines, alcohol, cocaine and heroin, until they finally "aged as Miss Kerr calls it, and began to live fulfilling, drug-free lives. One of Miss Kerr's rules for the women's being included in her book was that they be drug free for at least two years. Since then, only one has gone back to drugs: Samantha, whose weakness is alcohol. In a recent interview here, Miss Kerr said that the six women in her book had several things in common: children, they had feelings of uni- queness, that they were somehow special, or perhaps even "weird." had troubled relationships with their mothers, and comfortable, perhaps idealized, relationships with their fathers that later were abruptly and sometimes traumatically terminated. had found themselves in serious, painful psychological trouble and had turn- ed to drugs for relief from their emotional problems. rejected the female stereotype of subservience and nurturing others. Miss Kerr said that the biggest difference she had found between middle- class and lower-class drug dependent women was that it was much easier for the former to get off drugs. If there had been a women's liberation movement then, might the six women have avoided becoming a part of the drug subculture? "I don't think the feminist movement would have helped." Miss Kerr said. "It would have had to have been a lot more meaningful than it's been so far in actually stimulating educational and employment opportunities. And for it to really be effec- tive, it would have had to effect their mothers, too." She added however, that sex discrimina- tion had probably been a mjaor factor in causing the women to turn to drugs. "At that moment when they should have made the transition from child to adult, they broke and she said. "Their mothers, who were all unhappy victims, had given them the idea that being a woman was an inferior thing to be." Club corner notes The Members of St. Mary's ACW will hold a regular meeting in the parish hall Tuesday, at 2 p.m. St Patrick's CWL general meeting will be held Wednes- day at 8 p.m. in the rectory meeting room. The 14th Lethbridge cubs, scouts and venturers will hold a mass registration Wednes- day at 7 p.m. in McKillop United Church hall. Parents are urgently requested to attend The Ladies Aid of St. Peter and St. Paul's Church will hold a regular meeting Tues- day at 8 p.m. in the parish hall Hostesses will be Mary Ferenz and Stella Ferenz. Roll call will be members choice. The Social Credit Women's Auxiliary will meet Wednes- day in Rm. 1 of the civic centre. All members re- quested to attend as elections and plans for the fall tea will be discussed. A general meeting of Assumption CWL will be held Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the parish hall. Southmmster Circle Square Dance Club will hold a dance Saturday Sept. 7, at 8 p.m. in Southminster hall. Guest caller Bob Sprag of Fort Saskatchewan. Women are asked to bring a box lunch. The Ladies section of the Country Club will hold a ladies day luncheon Tuesday at p m. Reservations must be made by Monday. The Canadian Ukrainian Youth Association (CYMK) offers ballroom dance lessons each Monday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church, 13th St. and 7th Avenue N. For further information, contact 328-7500. Everyone welcome. The ladies of the Old Timers Pemmican Club will meet Wednesday at p.m. in the clubrooms. The fall tea and pantry table will be held Sept 14 from 2 to p.m. Learn to square dance, a beginners group sponsored by the Southminster Circle Square Dance Club, will hold a get acquainted dance Mon- day, Sept 9, at p.m. in Southminster hall. Lethbridge Fish and Game Junior Forest Wardens and Girl Forest Guards, will hold a general meeting Wednesday at p.m. in the clubhouse. Parents, council members and concerned individuals re- quested to attend. Women of the Moose will meet Tuesday at 8 p.m. There will be a special speaker and a good attendance is requested. The regular meeting of the Women's Federation to be held Tuesday at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church has been cancelled. Regular schedule to resume in October. The Kiwanis Club of Green Acres will meet Monday, Sept. 9 at p.m. in the Ar- my. Navy and Airforce Hall. This will be a directors meeting, open to all. PROBLEM HAIR? We specialize in all types of LADIES' AND MEN'S HAIR A JOHN MAEGAARD JR. STYLIST