What hope is there?
Wouldn’t a universal, proven cure for drug addiction be a good thing? And is it possible?
First, let’s clearly define what is meant by “cure.” For the individual a cure means complete and permanent absence of any overwhelming physical or mental desire, need or compulsion to take drugs. For the society it means the rehabilitation of the addict as a consistently honest, ethical, productive and successful member. In the 1970s, this first question would have seemed rather strange, if not absurd.
“Of course that would be a good thing!” and “Are you kidding?” would have been
Today, however, the responses are considerably different. A drug addict might answer, “Look, don’t talk to me about cures. I’ve tried every program there is and failed. None of them work.” Or, “You can’t cure heredity; my father was an alcoholic.” A layperson might say, “They’ve already cured it; methadone, isn’t it?” Or, “They’ve found it’s an incurable brain disease; you know, like diabetes, it can’t be cured.” Or even, “Science found it can’t be helped; it’s something to do with a chemical imbalance in the brain.”
Very noticeable would be the absence of the word, even the idea, of cure, whether amongst addicts, families of addicts, government officials, media or anywhere else.
In its place are words like disease, illness, chronic, management, maintenance, reduction and relapse. Addicts in rehab are taught to refer to themselves as “recovering,” never “cured.” Stated in different ways, the implicit consensus that has been created is that drug addiction is incurable and something an addict will have to learn to live with—or die with.
Is all hope lost?
Before considering that question, it is very important to understand one thing about drug rehabilitation today. Our hope of a cure for drug addiction was not lost; it was buried by an avalanche of false information and false solutions.
First of all, consider psychiatrists’ long-term propagation of dangerous drugs as “harmless”:
- In the 1960s, psychiatrists made LSD not only acceptable, but an “adventure” to tens of thousands of college students, promoting the false concept of improving life through “recreational,” mind-altering drugs.
- In 1967, US psychiatrists met to discuss the role of drugs in the year 2000. Influential New York psychiatrist Nathan Kline, who served on committees for the US National Institute of Mental Health and the World Health Organization stated, “In principle, I don’t see that drugs are any more abnormal than reading, music, art, yoga, or twenty other things—if you take a broad point of view.”
- In 1973, University of California psychiatrist, Louis J. West, wrote, “Indeed a debate may soon be raging among some clinical scientists on the question of whether clinging to the drug-free state of mind is not an antiquated position for anyone—physician or patient—to hold.”
- In the 1980s, Californian psychiatric drug specialist, Ronald K. Siegel, made the outrageous assertion that being drugged is a basic human “need,” a “fourth drive” of the same nature as sex, hunger and thirst.
- In 1980, a study in the Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry claimed that, “taken no more than two or three times per week, cocaine creates no serious problems.”
- According to the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s office in Connecticut, the false belief that cocaine was not addictive contributed to the dramatic rise in its use in the 1980s.
- In 2003, Charles Grob, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of California Harbor Medical Center believed that Ecstasy (hallucinogenic street drug) was potentially “good medicine” for treating alcoholism and drug abuse.
Today, drug regulatory agencies all over the world approve clinical trials for the use of hallucinogenic drugs to handle anything from anxiety to alcoholism, despite the drugs being known to cause psychosis.
The failure of the war against drugs is largely due to the failure to stop one of the most dangerous drug pushers of all time: the psychiatrist. The sad irony is that he has also established himself in positions enabling him to control the drug rehab field, even though he can show no results for the billions awarded by governments and legislatures. Governments, groups, families, and individuals that continue to accept his false information and drug rehabilitation techniques, do so at their own peril. The odds overwhelmingly predict that they will fail in every respect.
Drug addiction is not a disease. Real solutions do exist.
Clearing away psychiatry’s false information about drugs and addiction is not only a fundamental part of restoring hope, it is the first step towards achieving real drug rehabilitation.
on Human Rights International