August 17, 2011

The Cycle Of Chemical Dependency

During my career I have taken more than a few photographs similar to this one, a deceased drug addict. She died on her face and was rolled over hours after her death. The purple discoloration is post mortem lividity where the blood pooled once her heart stopped beating. Her name was Rachel Whitear. She was 21 years old.

From bad to worse to bad again - Opium, Morphine, Heroin, Methadone. The best medical science can do for the addict is substitute one bloody crutch for another. And when one crutch turns out to be a disaster, create another one.

In 1895, the German drug company Bayer marketed diacetylmorphine as an over the counter drug under the trademark name Heroin. The name was derived from the Greek word "Heros" because of its perceived "heroic" effects upon a user. It was chiefly developed as a morphine substitute for cough suppressants that did not have morphine's addictive side-effects. Morphine at the time was a popular recreational drug, and Bayer wished to find a similar but non-addictive substitute to market. However, contrary to Bayer's advertising as a "non-addictive morphine substitute," Heroin would soon have one of the highest rates of dependence amongst its users.

In the final analysis, if the addict cannot remain drug free on his own, let him suffer the consequences. Bring a halt to the endless cycle of drug use, treatment, relapse, treatment, relapse... Not only do we have to pay for their treatment, now we must give them decent jobs on top of it or face possible federal prosecution under a ridiculous law.

Nothing beats treating addicts as an endangered species - no wonder we have so many.

Last year, "Vicar Ψ" , ThebloggerformerlyknownasNickieGoomba, posted an article written by a NY reporter about heroin addiction and how the Big Apple works to address this scourge here. Revisit it if you will.


McGonagall said...

The only negative medical side effect of heroin addiction is constipation. That assumes that the addict has access to clinical grade heroin. Deaths from overdose are a result of heroin's illegal status - users don't know how much they are actually taking. Legalise heroin (and other drugs) and provide it at cost from a pharmacy and most of the negative consequences of the drug trade would disappear. The war on drugs is the most destructive bureaucratic blunder that society has ever dreamed up.

Andy said...

It seems that this is suicide by installment. Tragic.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Is that Ron Paul above? Makes me want to go out and hire as many addicts I can find.

banned said...

Rachel died about 10 miles from where I live so it got weeks of blanket coverage in the local press which left the readership to suppose that the livid markings were the direct result of her addiction and was their excuse for printing a close-up of a dead person which they do not usually do.

It was my understanding that Heroin was developed to create heroic qualities in soldiers some decades before The Bourne Insanity.

I once asked matey why old Junkie Joe was 'waddling' on his way to get his methadone prescription. Seems he'd run out of most veins and was now reduced to injecting his heroin into his feet.

Incidentally, Queen Victorias addictive drug of choice was laudanum, an Opiate and they only banned marijuana in England in 1916not because of its percieved wickedness but because the munitions workers were getting too stoned.

Doom said...

It absolutely amazes me how people can believe pharm quality dope is not a health issue. It reminds me of people who say tobacco is just fine, or that everyone can handle alcohol, as a tobacco addict and careful alcohol imbiber (who came close to having issues with that when younger, and has a whole long line of family members who crawled in bottles and never came out).

You know what, if you want to take that path, go for it. But don't recommend it for others. That is pure evil. The problem with the war on drugs isn't the war, it's that it isn't being fought to be won, it is being fought to fix the price. Freud thought cocaine was the miracle mind drug, became addicted (and got many others addicted), then tried to come clean (though most believe he never did). Opium was the scourge of China, as a Western profit machine. Morphine is even heavier than that. The number of people's lives lost to those is insane.

If addiction isn't such a problem, why is suicide so high among drug users even when they have easy, legal, access? What amazes me is that many of the same people for drug legalization are against smoking, soda, and being overweight. The world IS insane.

Subvet said...

In AA we're taught that abstinence only works when a drunk's desire to quit equals his desire to get soused. That happens by life becoming increasingly unbearable (or "hitting a bottom" in the parlence of the meetings). This same principle holds true for drug addicts (yes Virginia, alcohol is also a drug!).

All the mollycoddling, bleeding heart sympathy, legalization, substitution with a more acceptable substance, etc. only makes that "bottom" harder to attain.

Want someone to be clean and sober? Just make their life hell unless they stop drinking & drugging. End of story.

sig94 said...

McG - alcohol is legal and manufactured under state and federal scutiny and you can measure the amount you imbibe with scientific accuracy. That didn't keep my father and sister fom drinking themselves to death. My Dad dead at 64 and my sister at 47.

One of the problems is that the body gets used to a certain dosage and over time the addict needs more and more to get the high he desires. We have had drunks walk - yes walk - into the ER with a BAC almost three times as high as the supposed lethal level.

It was ten years ago last month that I stopped smoking after 32 years; I stopped drinking over thirty years ago. One was hard and the other relatively easy and for that I take no credit, it was God's leading in my life. It can be done if you are motivated enough to take control of your own life.

Oh how I wish my sister was stronger; her husband is getting married again next year - nine years after her death. My wife and I will attend the wedding and welcome his new wife into the family. I am only now fully grasping how difficult it was for him for all those years with my sister. All the rehab and all the relapses only to have her die at such a young age.

sig94 said...

banned - it was very brave of the Whitear family to let that picture of their daughter be used in order to reach other young people.

Despite all my gruff and bark I never took pleasure in investigating an OD. That DOA is always someone's brother, sister, daughter...

I remember one suicide of a young woman were I knew the father, a high ranking City official. I was bagging some evidence in her apartment when he walked in to see his only child dead on her mattress. You never forget that look. That poor man.

sig94 said...

Andy - true dat. A slow, lingering death that only gives false hope to the family.

sig94 said...

Odie - elgalization - give them all that they need is always the answer of the liberals. They never want to examine the unintended consequences because their intentions are so pure. They only wanna hep the poor dears.

sig94 said...

Doom - chemical dependence is a curse. In the long run I believe it is far better to let the addicts die in agony on the streets and let young people see it and scorn them for being so foolish.

We should not praise recovered addicts because then it gives false hope to those who are attracted to the life style that they too can survive the deadly onslaught they are about to unleash on their bodies. No, that is just another outbreak of liberal "Feel Good About Yourself Despite The Fact That You Are Thirteen Different Kinds Of Asshole."

sig94 said...

Subvet - Thank God for AA. My sister finally hit bottem but it killed her and traumatized her entire family.

There is no easy road to recovery and no guarantees that it will last!