The Current War On Drugs

It’s too late to even waste time blaming the victim. Rest assured. Not one single addict ever thought it was going to happen. It just did. One drink led to two then three then thousands. Those chemical hooks are waiting in the darkness and when the right offending substance is ingested, they start to close.

By the time noticeable signs of addiction appear, those hooks are fully embedded in the user. Only other chemicals or treatment will release them. It is a fairy tale to ‘Just Say No’ during active abuse.

The 2012 drug economy was over 100 billion dollars. Clearly chemicals are trumping all the ‘Just Say No,’ campaigns that have been shown to U.S. citizens. Addiction and overdose rates are skyrocketing. Currently, a movement called, ‘Not Even Once,’ which is a plan to curb initial heroin use. Some street drugs create instant addiction or kill the innocent user.

Finally, the medical community has seen enough death by overdose, organ failure or any of the myriad ways that chemical abuse ends life. It has shifted its collective focus to the disease concept of addiction.

If Europe is having success with Baclofen, China with Kudzu, Africa with Ibogaine, why couldn’t we be open to new ideas as soon as humanly possible?

Alcoholics Anonymous is a wonderful success story for 5-10% of the members. For them, it works like a charm and adds meaning to many lives. For the other 90-95%, with no other treatment options, the results are typically jails, institutions and death.

Portugal is the only country to show success with addiction treatment. The country decriminalized and automatically offered the user treatment if the person was caught with an amount considered ‘personal use.’ Drug dealers and traffickers would still be dealt with as criminals.

In just over a decade, this new program cut usage, illness and drug overdoses by half! All of those new ‘clean’ people are back to living and working in society. It took a helping hand, not a legal slap. Or worse, being locked up in a cage and changed mentally and emotionally forever. That doesn’t even talk about life after bars.

If we empty the prisons of non-violent drug offenders, HALF of the population would be moved out of facilities and into treatment. That is just in the U.S. Those numbers are staggering. All those citizens and all that potential locked in cages.

A PHD in Metaphysics could get tripped up by addiction as easily as an indigent person. Chemical hooks don’t care. They arrived at birth with one in ten of us and they are fierce. Passed down through the generations, this disorder was poorly served by keeping it a secret.

Pull up a breast cancer website. It is all pink and pretty with hopeful messages on t-shirts during fun runs. Then, check out some of the drug rehab sites: handcuffs, an empty whiskey bottle and a skull and crossbones. A very different tone. No one was running for their cure. Some of those rehabilitation facilities are just filling beds through fear not hope.

In 2007, a discovery was made by doctors in a study on stroke patients. They found out that an injury to the insula (a section of the brain) would instantly and permanently break a smoking habit.They are now referring to that area as the “Hidden Island of Addiction.” The word ‘Insula’ translates to island.

If the brain holds the addiction, how can chemical or alcohol dependency be a moral issue? “They brought it on themselves.” “Why don’t they just stop?” “Let them reach rock bottom.” These phrases have been repeated ad nauseam.

If addiction is finally confirmed to be a chemical imbalance in the brain, shouldn’t treatment include new methods, medications and strategies to slow or end this national epidemic? One in four of Americans are currently suffering from some form of ‘chemical use disorder,’ ‘alcohol abuse disorder,’ or opiod, or heroin or methamphetamine misuse.

Focus on the condition of the person prior to use. Fix or address that and the need for self-medication will diminish. Each person needs to decide what role to play in this chemical war before it’s felt in every single home.