Skip to comments.Heroin addiction isn't an illness...and we should stop spending millions 'treating' it
Posted on 08/19/2007 7:34:56 PM PDT by ventanax5
Drug-addiction services have also grown massively. In our society, every problem calls forth its equal and supposedly opposite bureaucracy, the ostensible purpose of which is to solve the problem.
But the bureaucracy quickly develops a survival instinct, and so no more wishes the problem to disappear altogether than the lion wishes to kill all the gazelle in the bush and leave itself without food.
In short, the bureaucracy of drug addiction needs drug addicts far more than drug addicts need the bureaucracy of drug addiction.
The propaganda, assiduously spread for many years now, is that heroin addiction is an "illness". This view serves the interests both of the addicts who wish to continue their habit while placing the blame for their behaviour elsewhere, and the bureaucracy that wishes to continue in employment, preferably for ever and at higher rates of pay.
Viewing addiction as an illness automatically implies there is a medical solution to it. So, when all the proposed "cures" fail to work, addicts blame not themselves but those who have offered them ineffectual solutions.
And for bureaucracies, nothing succeeds like failure. The Government spends more than a quarter of a billion pounds a year on drug treatment in the UK, despite there being little evidence of any reduction in the number of addicts.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
As some one who has been clean and sober for over 6 years
It does not start out as an illness but it becomes one in short order
Was it helped by the government?
If a government is going to spend money to try to end drug usage, treatment programs are 20x better than the criminalization of drugs. All this does is builds in an abnormal profit for the growers and dealers and makes it worth killing over.
Nobody calls nicotine addiction a disease.
I personally quit using cocaine thanks to programs available at my university (which I suppose is a combination of private and public funds, but in the end it was a state school and I assume was primarily funded by the government). I think without that easily accessible help I would not be a successful business owner paying back what I owe to society today.
And believe me, after I paid my taxes this year I am quite sure I’ve paid back most of what I owe!
Addiction is simply the failure to make the right decisions....nothing more, nothing less.”
So...........whose fault is that, I wonder???
So...........who should pay the bill, I wonder???
I’m tired of picking up the bill for losers.
I doubt lions spend much time pondering this issue.
Here’s my deal. If you do drugs, you don’t belong in this country. Don’t go to jail, don’t pay a fine and don’t expect to get the govt to treat you. Just leave.
No, but smokers are often viewed as subhumans lower than child mollestors. And I don't even smoke.
Not everyone is born prescient. A man drinking his first beer doesn’t think he will become an alcoholic anymore than a man cutting up his first line of coke thinks he will be spending his entire paycheck on powder in 6 months. It may be his own fault that he tried it in the first place but he did not walk into the situation knowing he would become a burden to society. He can only hope that society will pay him the favor of having faith in him and offer him the opportunity to become a productive person again.
thank you and no
How silly. Would you say the same thing about alcoholics? Do you think your average alcoholic says to himself, “Gosh, I wonder how I can become a burden to everyone I know? Ah yes, drinking all day! Hooray, I can finally spite my neighbors!”
I think you don’t understand the pharmacology and psychology of addiction. Addiction is a very real physical and psychological process and it becomes uncontrollable without professional intervention in most cases.
he can say whatever he wants. The question is what is our society willing to tolerate and when will people learn to be responsible for themselves instead of expecting everything to come their way?
The fact is that illegal drug users quickly become inured to an anti-social lifestyle, which makes them more likely to engage in criminal behavior and less likely to seek effective solutions to their problems.
I can understand the desire of those in society not to want to legitimize drug use, but those same people should accept that they are driving away many who could be saved from "hitting bottom."
LOL, our "society" "tolerates" the killing of the unborn. And you want to exile drug users? Good luck with that.
This is likely the most intelligent thing said on this thread thus far.
Until just a few short years ago it was considered a disability that qualified addicts for disability checks which they then used to buy their heroin.
County sponsored heroin. Really.
But I thought methadone was the cure...
After some recent and unpleasant dealings with addicts, Im not sure what to think, beyond God save me from more.
Most Americans think that drugs are a problem. So how do you deal with the problem? I think it makes more sense to go after demand than the well organized supply.
The same is true with abortion. Going after abortionists with the law won’t work. We have to convince the people not to go to them in the first place.
“Nobody calls nicotine addiction a disease.”
Folks not informed on addiction (a lot of the country) would fill that bill.
Or the possible outcome of long-term usage (emphysema, cancer, etc)
After hearing about how folks in prison will even trade their “good drugs”
for cigarettes...it’s an addiction all right.
And I got to watch my father shake cigarettes after 25 years of smoking.
He said, even years after quitting, that when someone else lights
up “it smells like candy to me”.
The UK is the place that pays girls who get pregnant, right? Birth an illegitimate kid and the state will award you a prize, an apartment plus money every month. Such a deal. No wonder illegitimacy is growing by leaps and bounds.
Addiction qualifies one for social security disability.
“So how do you deal with the problem?”
I used to work at a summer job with a guy who was happy to be minimally employed simply because it gave him enough money to live in a crummy trailer and buy cheap booze. He had no ambition, and he was not expected to get any ambition.
So, I have a better question for you: how can you get this guy (or any addict like him) to have a purpose in life? Sure he is destroying his life but how can you stop that? If someone chooses to destroy his life do we have a moral obligation to stop him? to allow him?
This is the real question about drug use. It’s really not even about the drugs, it’s about the question of how does society deal with people like this guy I worked with?
If youll pardon comment by one not asked, you can only suggest, until he finally resolves, Enough!
How would you go after demand? What has worked in other countries?
I have spent years working with alcoholics and drug addicts. None ever stop drinking or using until it stops working. Most don't stop then.
There's no difference in that regard between illegal and legal drugs. It's a chimera to think that we could suddenly bring drug users into the light with legalization.
The problem is simple, most alcoholics and drug users DON'T WANT TO STOP USING. What they want most is keep using without the consequences. And they have great abilities to convince themselves that this time, it will be different--no consequences. It has absolutely nothing to do with legal or illegal. Drug users are not stupid. None of them think they will be thrown in jail for seeking treatment. The fact is, most don't want treatment.
And, legalization just doesn't change that the tiniest little bit. It may even defer the time they have to stop. My observation is that alcoholics come into treatment older than illegal drug users. That may be that alcohol takes longer to do it's job. But it may be that the illegality of drugs creates have-to-stop situations faster.
“becomes uncontrollable without professional intervention in most cases”
Couldnt disagree more. The vast majority of people who drink, etc do not become “addicts” as defined by it (addiction) causing a significant life problem.
Addictions, including drinking, are being pushed into the medical realm for one reason, IMHO. That is where the the $ is, re: health ins. Little/No $ in mental illness is forthcoming from govt.
Secondly, IMHO, I dont see addictions as medical issues. The symptoms of addictions for sure are though. So many now follow the medical model and treat the symptoms of addiction and perpetuate the problem.
I wanted to do my doctoral thesis on the incarcerated and/or addicts just to see how many of them actually started with a potential diagnosis of add/adhd. I am willing to bet the % is very high (over 50%?).
Am very intersted in discussing this more.
Bump dat true stuff
Not if usage, addiction, and need for treatment programs would increase 20X+ after decriminaliztion of drugs.
Uhh, going to jail qualifies as "hitting bottom".
And I got to watch my father shake cigarettes after 25 years of smoking.
He said, even years after quitting, that when someone else lights
up it smells like candy to me.
I smoked for about 10 years and it has been 15 since I quit. Every once in awhile I have this overwhelming urge but I don’t dare light up.
Congrats on the 6 years......beeber is stuned!
The neurochemistry of various drugs result in an actual physiological change in the brain which affects levels of various chemicals - including dopamine. It also can cause a loss of control and compulsive drug intake. Drug use over time can alter the brain’s suceptibility to relapse. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/158/12/2015
and http://books.google.com/books?id=G9OhG-dZdAwC&pg=PA65&lpg=PA65&dq=neurochemistry+tomography+heroine&source=web&ots=Cts0XiShAy&sig=MXUC9oEIC-ApqKSpYwjTV47Nr-U#PPP1,M1 Some of this can be eased by drug therapy as a person attempts to transition to a non-drug state.
Addicts/alcoholics commonly suffer from a “dual diagnosis” with some personality disorder that can be treated.
There is, I suspect, a phenomenon that has been labeled an "addictive personality"; that is, an individual subject to temptation toward activities that are temporarily satisfying, distracting, and eventually overwhelming. This might be gambling as well as opiates. It might be spending. It might even be sex.
No one that I know, and I have known dozens of heroin addicts - no one who really wanted to kick it failed to do so. Many fell back for the same reasons that they fell in the first place. Heroin withdrawal is, I would agree, exaggerated. Pulmonary edema isn't.
There are, incidentally, two drug classes withdrawal from which can cause death. Heroin isn't one of them. Alcohol and barbiturates are. I stopped counseling for unrelated reasons before the methamphetamine phenomenon came along and so cannot speak with any experience in that regard, but I did deal with two PCP users, and the damage done to them by that drug was no illusion - they were no longer quite human. Frightening stuff.
No other comment beside that - this is a matter I'm going to have to give some thought to. I won't say Dalrymple is right...yet...but I've seldom known him to be wrong.
If the treatment were sequester and detox, that’s onr thing. Furnishing clean needles or Methadone, no.
Perhaps you are right, but our country would never tolerate this kind of punishment.
That’s interesting. Has drug usage decreased as a result of the WOD?
btw, drugs are everywhere in every town and are very available right now.
The classic description of a drug’s effect on the brain is centered on the reward system, in particular, neurons that project ventrally from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the nucleus accumbens. Those neurons release dopamine, and alcohol and drugs of abuse excite them directly or indirectly. When dopamine is delivered to the nucleus accumbens, it stimulates pleasure.
The trouble starts when, over time, this system starts to erode and develop tolerance. The same amount of drug induces smaller dopamine responses, VTA neurons can shrink, synaptic connections decay, receptor densities change, and the expression of certain genes increases, particularly those related to anxiety and depression. This, according to George Koob at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., is the “dark side of addiction,” when an addict continues using a drug merely to ameliorate the bad feelings of being addicted.
You wrote: There is, I suspect, a phenomenon that has been labeled an “addictive personality”; that is, an individual subject to temptation toward activities that are temporarily satisfying, distracting, and eventually overwhelming.
“high levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, are more common in sensation seekers.
Other neurotransmitters, including serotonin, may also play a part. Low serotonin activity may account for a lack of inhibition and impulsiveness.”
Agreed, in part. In order for treatment programs to work, the afflicted person must be willing.
Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol (drugs) - that our lives had become unmanageable.
There is the crux of the matter. In the McCourt family (Frank, author of "Angela's Ashes," vs. Malachy, also an author and pub owner) it has led top a family feud. Frank says, "How can this alcoholism be a disease, when one can simply stop? So, stop." Malachy is a fervent 12-stepper and says, "You can't stop." Although he has.
So addiction might be the search for love and acceptance by behaving in a way that guarantees loathing and rejection. Makes perfect sense. Somewhere.
Call it an "illness" or an "allergy" it is simple fact that people's brains are wired differently. I know a lady who smoked all year long at school and spent the summers a non-smoker. She never could understand the "addiction" of smoking. Definitely an exceptional person.