Monday, May 24, 2010

The Lucrative Rewards for Curing No One

A friend of mine almost died of a drug overdose this weekend.

As I have a "no drug" policy, I have a very hard time feeling any sympathy for someone who makes the self-indulgent choices that I choose not to make. However, because I was the only one this addict could turn to at the time, I was the one who went to the hospital. Twice. Once to take him there for the O.D., and once to take him back during his detox as he was puking up blood.

Yeah, drugs are fun.

I called his best guy friend "Dan", who is a recovered alcoholic. During the weekend drama, Dan texted me saying "Oxys are what's killing everybody, just had an old friend die. He needs to go to rehab."

To which I replied "He's been thru rehab 3-4 times in the last year and a half. He could TEACH it. He needs to simply make up his mind."

Dan wrote "Well then, we will just watch him die, if he doesn't get help somewhere because what u c now is him making up his mind."

And what I said is completely true, given the quality of our rehab clinics. You see, rehab clinics get a ton of government money to conduct classes and therapy sessions for people who have been convicted of illegal drug use, or who qualify for a government program through other avenues.

These clinics can also anesthetize an addict who is going through withdrawal symptoms, so the addict is basically sedated as they come down. This only makes it easier for the addict to get on the stuff again, as there is no real punishment for it: The addict doesn't associate any real pain with the process, and in his opinion, the pain he causes others isn't important.

It also means the clinics get repeat customers, which is very important. After all, short of becoming dealers themselves, they need a constant influx of customers to justify the public funds they're dipping into.

There is one lone voice, crying in the wilderness, and his name is Dr. Stanton Peele. But Dr. Peele's clinic is too successful, in that it teaches self-control and stops the psychobabble which enables the addict. So, Dr. Peele's clients have a vastly lower recidivism rate than standard drug rehab facilities. That makes Dr. Peele a great threat to these clinics, and obviously they all keep hoping he'll just shut up and go away.

So our clinics in the Tampa Bay Area are worthless (and I assume most of them are). As long as they keep coddling our addicts and telling them that their choices are not their fault, they will never get better.

Which is exactly why there are no effective drug treatment centers here.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your experience.

I can assure you that the addict does a pretty good job of punishing themselves, though. Our system for dealing with them may have problems, but what more punishment for the addict do you want? Is it not enough that they get an early grave, lose their employment, are incarcerated, ruin their health, spend most of every waking moment seeking out a brief unsatisfying high, hurt everyone they care about, and destroy all of their relationships?

Perhaps some of the current neuroscience might shed some light on why an addict acts so irrationally, and offer some hope for more effective long-term treatment than the typical Puritan 12-step that fails so many people.


The Lazy Iguana said...

Drug rehab will always have a relapse rate. I do not think that can be avoided. Drugs are just too available. Anyone can get them. Legally.

Ever notice how there is a Walgreens or CVS on every street corner? Not to mention that every Target and Wal-Mart now sling pills. Do you think that all these pill stores are really making most money selling "as seen on TV" crap?

And then there are the pain clinics. Anyone can go to a pain clinic, claim that their ass hurts from sitting on it all day, and get Oxy. Then you sell it. If the cops stop you, the pills in your possession are prescribed to you, so its cool. As long as you are only carrying around a reasonable amount at the time.

And that shit is highly addictive. It goes all the way up the chain to the executive board rooms - why do you think so many pills are made each year? Is it to satisfy actual medical demand or recreational demand? But sales are sales, and all prescription drugs are initially sold legally - regardless of the end use. Bonuses are distributed, Bentlys are bought, and health care reform is squashed (among other things).

With all that money floating around - is it any wonder nothing is really being done to stop the problem?

Once again, the public assumes all the risk (prison costs, society costs, etc) and private corporations assume all the profit.

But pointing that out makes me "Marxist".

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, 100% agreement.

Ron, You wrote I can assure you that the addict does a pretty good job of punishing themselves, though.

I must disagree entirely. I've seen it first-hand. They choose to be addicts because the effects of the drugs are worth the risks and the downside of it all. If they were poked in the eye with a sharp stick every time they took something they weren't supposed to, they would be miraculously cured in a short amount of time.

Marquisdejolie said...

Man have I ever been there with my drug addict sister!