There has been a lot of whining and lying about the opioid epidemic; please let me get at the entrails.
Poverty has little to do with drug abuse. Folks who are addicted become thieves and robbers, they live hand to mouth among similar miscreants and can’t afford better housing. Drug addicts who overdose and die do not have the money to rent in St. Claire Shores with the other snobs. They live in the slums.
Drug rehab has never been shown to be better than nothing. There is simply no good “intent to treat” study that has ever been done. It would not be hard to do such a study but the “rehab” crowd does not want it tried. The findings would devastate the profitable industry.-I mean, the average druggie is on his 4rth or 5th sojourn through the mill at how many thousands per cycle?
The buprenorphine may or may not work as advertised. The studies that I’ve seen are just treatment comparisons, that is to say that addicts who may be about to quit on their own seek out the latest fad, and when they quit, the buprenorphine is given credit. Once more, an intent to treat study is called for before we spend a lot more money on, what even I admit, to be a potential game changer. But even then, the addict has to want to quit.
In the year 1900, any 10 year old walking down the streets of Detroit or wherever could go into the first pharmacy and buy as much heroin or cocaine as he could afford; no one bothered. There were folks, mostly wealthy, often creative or artistic who used narcotics and cocaine regularly, who worked and took care of their families. Picture Abe Lincoln who used opium to get to sleep every night. (It caused constipation and everyone in Washington knew when and what kind of laxative Abe used-it’s a small town that way.) Freud, cocaine, Doyle morphine.
The original Harrison act that started a sort of war on drugs in 1914 was based on an estimated 1.3% incidence of drug abuse. Over a hundred years and trillions of wasted dollars later, the national estimate is that 1.2% abuse something “illegal.” It is more than likely that 1.3% or more of the American stock will abuse something, be it alcohol, heroin, cocaine, sniff glue or something to alter the mind. My own observations is that these poor souls find themselves in social situations and just go along. They almost all age out of their habit eventually, and, yes it does blemish their lives.
Thirty percent of the soldiers with whom I served in Vietnam were addicted to 97% pure heroin, courtesy of Charlie; it was party time and the whole barracks was into the scene and anyone who dissented was suspect. These young men almost all quit, on their own, a few weeks before the DEROS so that they could pass the barrier set up at operation golden flow. (That’s for the in group.) Few got into heroin on return to “the world”.
Prohibition required a constitutional amendment. It was tried and failed; in fact anecdotal evidence is that alcoholism increased with a drunk hanging onto every lamp post. There was a lot of money to be made on moonshine and running speakeasies. In the same way, the incredible profits to be made from smuggling, distributing, retailing, and manufacturing illegal drugs attracts and then ensnares the borderline personality, the kid from a small town where jobs are scarce and family a disgrace, who sees some of his buddies cooking meth or selling weed and doing well. So he gets into the business, starts using a bit, and then a lot, and finding that he must push drugs to others, lets say kids on the playground of the nearest school, or steal, to support his habit. Kind of resembles Amway where the distributor is actually the main customer.
The War on Drugs has been lost, irrevocably and we should surrender gracefully. The article mentions fentanyl as synthesized from fairly simple and available chemical feedstocks. There are scads of chemistry college grads out there who can’t get jobs and languish in mommy’s basement. Now, if they can get some oil, maybe some baking soda, vinegar, and mom’s pressure cooker, they could brew some hallucinogen or testosterone or you name it. And, they are in business!
Pray tell, how will you stop them?
After we abandon the War on Drugs, I anticipate a spike in deaths followed by a sharp decline to virtually none. Standard drugs will be available at reasonable prices at constant dosages and, like Abe Lincoln, the addict can conduct his own civil wars, sleep well at night, and take whatever minor correctives he thinks necessary.