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America's Invisible Addiction Crisis

And what it tells us about drug war hypocrisy

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher




May 6, 2020

've been hooked now for three decades on a drug that I hate, an expensive drug that I must take every single morning of my life even though it stifles my creativity and flattens my so-called emotional "affect." And I have been hooked good. The NIH itself has determined that the drug I'm on has a 95% recidivism rate after three years for those who attempt to "kick it." Meanwhile prominent psychiatrists report that the drug in question is harder to quit than heroin In fact, the guy who's currently giving me the pills told me frankly that I might as well not even bother to quit the drug since it has such lousy relapse rates.

Speaking of the guy who gives me the pills, you'd think he'd be at least a little embarrassed, tell me that he's sorry about my addiction, but nothing could be further from the truth. He has never once suggested that he feels any blame whatsoever for my fate. Meanwhile this guy is prospering financially and is a veritable pillar of the community. Nor do the police have the slightest interest in disrupting his activities, even though he's still hooking new clients on the same addictive substances to this very day. You see, he belongs to a huge organization whose job is to convince the world that this pill-pushing arrangement of his is actually a good thing, and that the folks who are not yet on the pill mill could very well be missing out on living a full life.

Nor am I alone in my addiction. As I type this, 1 in 8 American males and 1 in 4 females are addicted to the same sort of expensive pills that I'm forced to take every day of my life.

I know what you're thinking: the Drug Warriors must be "up in arms" about this scandalous situation. The DEA must be declaring a national emergency. Donald Trump must be drawing up long lists of pushers (like my own staunchly unapologetic supplier) whom he's going to execute the very moment that Congress gives him the green light to do so.

Unfortunately not. For the drug that I'm addicted to is Effexor, a Big Pharma blockbuster pill, and we all know that Big Pharma pills are exempt from Drug Warrior criticism. The Drug Warriors couldn't care less, even though the sorts of drugs that we're talking about here are precisely the ones that can really "fry your brain" in the way that the otherwise bogus Drug War propaganda suggests.

The result: not only is the Drug Warrior blind to my own personal addiction, but they are blind to the great mass-addiction of our time. And so they go on demonizing the poppy and the coca leaf and psychedelics, plants that have been used responsibly by other cultures for millennia, blissfully unaware that these plants, even when legal, never caused anything close to the wholesale addiction that has been perpetrated on Americans in modern times by Big Pharma and their psychiatric handmaidens.

How much more proof do reasonable people need that our attitude toward "drugs" (by which we Americans really mean "psychoactive plants") is a social construct, as malleable as clay, and that what passes for drug policy today is really just a hodgepodge of laws and attitudes designed to maintain the economic interests of the status quo and the institutions that represent it (including but not limited to: Big Pharma, Big Liquor, psychiatry, the corrections industry, and law enforcement)?

Of course, if addiction doesn't really matter to Drug Warriors, as the status quo would suggest, then the question asks itself: why am I not allowed to choose my own "poison" from among the flora that God freely gave us all in the Book of Genesis? After all, the plants that we have since outlawed from thence are far less addictive than the SSRIs that have fogged my mind and turned me into an eternal patient for the last 30 years.

Why not? Because empowering patients like myself in this way would leave stakeholders such as Big Pharma and the healthcare industry out of the economic loop. Why would I want to pay for their expensive and highly addictive pills, pills that dull my emotions and bring me no pleasant dreams, when there are plant medicines growing at my feet that are far less addictive and can actually bring me psychological insight?

Thus I am destined to die as an unacknowledged addict, taking my expensive pills every morning of my life until the end, never to hear so much as one compassionating sigh from the socially respectable pushers who addicted me.

The Links Police

Okay, do you know why I stopped you? That's right, because the Drug War's given me carte blanche to be a noxious busybody. That, plus the fact that there are more insightful articles about addiction listed below:

Addicted to Addiction
Open Letter to Addiction Specialist Gabriel Maté
Why Louis Theroux is Clueless about Addiction and Alcoholism
In Praise of Augustus Bedloe
Heroin versus Alcohol


Author's Follow-up: September 29, 2022



The psychiatrist who was frank with me about the dependence-causing nature of Effexor was subsequently fired. That's the price one pays for not singing along with the refrain of Drug War lies and misdirection. Apparently the 'behavioral health' facility linked my complaints about their medications to this guy and punished him for giving me a peek behind the curtain. Just as the DEA treats drugs like Ecstasy like they were highly fissionable materials, so folks in the mental health field have to treat the subject of drugs like a hot potato, being sure to say nothing about them that might seem to run counter to drug-war orthodoxy. It's a pitiless business that sometimes catches Drug Warriors themselves in its snare. Such risks to job and reputation are the inevitable result of basing an entire health care field (i.e., 'mental health') on lies, "spin" and prohibition.



October 5, 2022

America could end inner-city killings and the war in Mexico overnight, meanwhile solving the so-called epidemic of depression in America, merely by re-legalizing the coca leaf. But instead, Drug Warriors demonize coca based on rare but well-documented cases of cocaine addiction, failing to realize that the coca leaf is not cocaine, any more than peach juice is prussic acid. This is the typical Drug Warrior M.O., as when Drug Warriors demonize opium based on cases of heroin addiction, failing to mention that they are two different drugs. This is just guilt by association. In any case, we never hear talk of educating substance users, only about throwing them in jail.

But then there's a lot of money on the line here. In the 1800s, some counties in England did pretty much without doctors because every household had laudanum on hand for sleepless nights, colds and bouts of depression (see Paul Johnson's "The Birth of the Modern"). But that's a status quo that capitalism could never live with. Imagine, all those folks who could be insured and doctored and "billed up the wazoo" for conditions that they were currently treating with Mother Nature's medicine! Capitalism made a Drug War inevitable, because there was no way that the well-to-do were going to pass up their chance to earn billions, even at the cost of turning the world into one big healthcare state. From these considerations we can conclude two things: 1) That capitalism requires a Drug War to exist, and 2) that a war on drugs naturally entails the creation of a healthcare state, backed by the government in terms of loans, rules and investments, etc.




Next essay: Without Philosophy, Science becomes Scientism
Previous essay: Don't Worry, Be Satisfied

More Essays Here


ADDICTION

ME: "What are you gonna give me for my depression, doc? MDMA? Laughing gas? Occasional opium smoking? Chewing of the coca leaf?" DOC: "No, I thought we'd fry your brain with shock therapy instead."
Until we get rid of all these obstacles to safe and informed use, it's presumptuous to explain problematic drug use with theories about addiction. Drug warriors are rigging the deck in favor of problematic use. They refuse to even TEACH non-problematic use.
Until we legalize ALL psychoactive drugs, there will be no such thing as an addiction expert. In the meantime, it's insulting to be told by neuroscience that I'm an addictive type. It's pathologizing my just indignation at psychiatry's niggardly pharmacopoeia.
We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.
Chesterton might as well have been speaking about the word 'addiction' when he wrote the following: "It is useless to have exact figures if they are exact figures about an inexact phrase."
Chesterton wrote that, once you begin outlawing things on grounds of health, you open a Pandora's box. This is because health is not a quality, it's a balance. To decide legality based on 'health' grounds thus opens a Pandora's box of different points of view.
Prohibition turned habituation into addiction by creating a wide variety of problems for users, including potential arrest, tainted or absent drug supply, and extreme stigmatization.
The government causes problems for those who are habituated to certain drugs. Then they claim that these problems are symptoms of an illness. Then folks like Gabriel Mate come forth to find the "hidden pain" in "addicts." It's one big morality play created by drug laws.
Getting off antidepressants can make things worse for only one reason: because we have outlawed all the drugs that could help with the transition. Right now, getting off any drug basically means become a drug-free Christian Scientist. No wonder withdrawal is hard.
To put it another way: in a sane world, we would learn to strategically fight drugs with drugs.
Using the billions now spent on caging users, we could end the whole phenomena of both physical and psychological addiction by using "drugs to fight drugs." But drug warriors do not want to end addiction, they want to keep using it as an excuse to ban drugs.
Jim Hogshire described sleep cures that make physical withdrawal from opium close to pain-free. As for "psychological addiction," there are hundreds of elating drugs that could be used to keep the ex-user's mind from morbidly focusing on a drug whose use has become problematic.
And this is before we even start spending those billions on research that are currently going toward arresting minorities.
When doctors try to treat addiction without using any godsend medicines, they are at best Christian Scientists and at worst quacks. They are like the doctors in Moliere's "M
As Moliere demonstrated in the hilarious finale, anyone can be THAT kind of doctor by mastering a little Latin and walking around pompously in the proper uniform.
Like the pompous white-coated doctor in the movie "Four Good Days" who ignores the entire formulary of mother nature and instead throws the young heroin user on a cot for 3 days of cold turkey and a shot of Naltrexone: price tag $3,000.

essays about
ADDICTION

The Myth of the Addictive Personality
Addicted to Ignorance
Addicted to Addiction
Open Letter to Addiction Specialist Gabriel Maté
Sherlock Holmes versus Gabriel Maté
Why Louis Theroux is Clueless about Addiction and Alcoholism
In the Realm of Hungry Drug Warriors
Modern Addiction Treatment as Puritan Indoctrination
How the Drug War Turns the Withdrawal Process into a Morality Tale
Night of the Addicted Americans
The aesthetic difference between addiction and chemical dependency
Tapering for Jesus
How Addiction Scientists Reckon without the Drug War
How Prohibition Causes Addiction
Four reasons why Addiction is a political term
Addiction
Some Tough Love for Drug Addicts
My Cure for Addiction
The FDA's Hypocritical Concern about Addiction



front cover of Drug War Comic Book

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You have been reading an article entitled, America's Invisible Addiction Crisis: And what it tells us about drug war hypocrisy, published on May 6, 2020 on AbolishTheDEA.com. For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at abolishTheDEA.com. (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)