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Arkteia

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I am posting this because I am still thinking of another post here but that post has exhausted itself...

Occasionally some PS-ers mention prior issues with alcohol and their battle and long periods sobriety... we all support them.

At the same time, I have never seen a post where a PS-er would talk about battling a drug addiction... having been addicted to hard drugs. Staying clean or trying to get clean.

Are PS-ers different from other humans? Likely, not, and I assume that some people on this very huge forum have had problems with drugs but do not want to mention it. The stigma attached to drugs is way bigger than to alcohol.

In my profession, I see many people with addictions. You learn to be non-judgmental. But when I took my exams, I had this feeling that even some examiners were prejudiced against people with addictions. I hope I am wrong here.

I believe it has to do with the criminality associated with drugs. They are banned, and people have to buy them on the streets, resell, steal, get into debt... you know. Drugs are illegal.

We had the same problem with alcohol during Prohibition. We all have read books, and I believe that if alcohol was prohibited now, we'd have the same attitude to people who drank. Now, people who are battling addictions tell me that they prefer to go to AA rather than NA because no one would think of coming to AA to sell a bottle of whiskey to make a quick buck. NA is infested with dealers who know that they are dealing with vulnerable people and have a chance to make money here.

The point I am trying to make is that banning (and I am not talking about drugs only here - each one can guess which other things may or could be banned) does nothing but creates black market, and black market is the worst thing you can do to deal with the problem.

This post comes from a person who never used drugs, who usually does not drink because alcohol gives her heartburn, who does not own a gun and would prefer not to be in other situations that I do not want to mention here because they always generate hot discussions.

(Here is an example. A well-known physician lost his position because he was caught with a drug on him. He was always functioning well, did well and was in no way a criminal. Another place was desperately searching for a specialist of his profile. I mentioned him but said that he was what we call "impaired physician". "Alcohol?", came the question. "No, (this)", was my answer. "Oh, this... no we can't. Alcohol would be still OK, but this...". And "this" was neither heroin nor meth. It was an addiction, but treatable).

As I have said, this post is not solely about addiction. And I do not want it to sound political. Just an observation from someone who is observing these issues every day. Just the consequences of making one or two more things illegal.
 

Upgradable

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What's the point of this post?
 

Arkteia

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I just wanted to say that trying to control problems or "hot" issues (drugs, guns, abortions) by banning them would immediately backfire. People do not need to comment on it, and I wanted to make a smaller comment in another thread but that thread managed to stay unclosed by PS so I did not want to run a risk of closing it. This post could be deleted by administration or neglected.
 

Circe

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I agree with you, but I do think it's necessary to ban certain items, because the risk they pose to society outweighs the risk of making them seems more attractive by making them forbidden fruit. I think the trick is in, a) making it clear that they're unappealing, or that their side effects are, and, b) making the punishment for using them commensurate with the risk they pose to society (I loathe pot, personally, and can't understand why anybody would use a substance that would make them dumber ... but I also think it's a ridiculous think to jail people over). I think the social onus that results from banning is actually one of its most useful forms of enforcement.

Why, Crasru? What made you think of this/where are you going with it? Do you think we should eliminate it and let Darwin take the hindmost, or ...?

ETA: You answered above - noted. Interesting. I think I'd put your three examples into three very different categories ... and I bet that's where a lot of the greatest political differences would gleam most clearly.
 

Arkteia

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CIrce, there were two reasons. One point I wanted to make had nothing to do with drugs, rather than banning other things and creating black market. I liked your thread and did not want to add anything to it because you really have to walk on eggshells not to make issues political here, and I wanted your thread to stay open.

On the other hand, there is a problem of drugs and I see it snowballing. I see it firsthand. Most teenagers think nothing of selling/reselling marijuana in high schools (in fact, it is even glamorized, it makes them popular...Jim is a guy who can get good pot), then one of these days someone selling marijuana to his friends comes and offers to try Vicodin or Oxycontin... for free. And three months down the road kids get totally addicted and start buying "Oxy" from the same guy or on the streets for 80 bucks a pill. And now heroin is on the rise because Oxycontin is so hard to get. As a prescriber of Suboxone (a drug treating opiate addiction) I see the scope of this problem. And it all starts with kids selling marijuana. I have not noticed a huge problem with nicotine and very few people told me that people selling them alcohol one day brought Vicodin instead. (Not that I am condoning kids' drinking, God forbids! And yes, we have to have strong laws against drunk driving. Or driving under any other influence).

Medical marijuana centers, in my view, are simply legalized outlets to buy pot, but strangely enough, my patients who went this route told me their use of marijuana, actually, decreased. They do not need to buy in excess.

By just creating "blanket" illegality, the society is pushing this problem away, not wanting to look into it. And we are sinking deeper and deeper.
 

Circe

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Aaaaaaah, okay - completely see what you mean.

I'm sure it will shock no-one that I'm in favor of legalizing most drugs. When I compare our rate of, not just pot, but the bizarre things people manage to get high off of (everything from huffing glue to the various forms of formerly over-the-counter pseudoephedrine-containing allergy medications that can apparently be turned into meth) to rates of drug use and abuse in the Netherlands ... all I can do is shake my head. Heck, we don't even have to go that far - Oxy and Vicodin are great examples, but when you go to England or France you can buy similar codeine-containing drugs over the counter. (Which, frankly, I buy en masse whenever I'm over there, because it's useful if you have a nasty flu or something.) And yet, to the best of my knowledge, neither London nor Paris has been overrun by nodding junkies. I actually got curious, and asked my husband what Sweden's perspective on drugs was - he gave me a blank look and a small lecture on how, drink yourself pig-stupid 6 nights of the week, Swedes think you're "outgoing," have one joint and everybody you know will be present at the intervention. But the whole concept of legal penalty? Yeah, not so much.

That said ... even the more liberal countries still outlaw heroin and the like. So my takeaway is that there's a delicate balance, where you try not to ban the harmless things that simply accustom people to flouting the government in all matters great and small, but do your damnedest to make the genuinely harmful things unacceptable, first and foremost socially, and then legally.

I actually think one of America's biggest issues across the board is how all-or-nothing it is sometimes: either you can't have any weapons, or it's a violation of the 2nd Amendment that you're banned from keeping anti-tank weapons in your house. Whatever happened to a happy medium?
 

Tacori E-ring

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Here's the deal, alcohol IS a drug. That is why in the profession it is never stated "Alcohol and drugs." Instead it is always referred to as "alcohol and other drugs." The sad thing is alcohol is probably the most dangerous out of all the mood altering substances. The fact that it is socially acceptable only makes it MORE dangerous. I agree there is a huge stigma against substance abuse. Most people think of the bum living under the bridge when they think of addicts. The truth is that is a slim part of the one in four people who have a substance abuse issue in the US. The "moral model" of addiction is alive and well and I think what you are referring to. Many people think it is a choice, a matter of will power, a sin, etc...but I believe, research, doctors, scientists believe these people are wrong. Period.

Not all drugs are illegal. Prescription drugs are a huge problem right now. There seems to be a wave of one drug being very popular before another takes over historically. So interesting to me. I met a guy who was abusing bath salts. SO scary. Even though he is in a rehab and been sober for a few days he is still hallucinating. K2 spice was being sold at GAS STATIONS. They got away with it for awhile b/c it was on non-editables. One drug (can't remember which one off the top of my head) was being manufactured by dealers and was causing Parkinson's Disease. So tragically a bunch of teenagers now have Parkinson's Disease. Point is drugs are scary for sure. But fear has never proven to be a good prevention method. Luckily there are people out there who treat addicts with compassion and empathy. They are sick and no family is immune.

Suboxone gets people in trouble too. I hope you test regularly for benzos before you provide a prescription. There are many unethical providers and doctors that write a script and send people on their way.

ETA: I do not support medical marijuana. I know too much about the dangers. People think it is a "soft" drug but in fact it is quite dangerous. I am not talking about it being a gateway drug but all on its own. There was a great documentary called "Marijuana in the 90s" http://www.fmsproductions.com/substance-abuse-videos/DavidOhlms/marijauna90.php that might change your mind.
 

Dancing Fire

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crasru|1307824484|2943509 said:
CIrce, there were two reasons. One point I wanted to make had nothing to do with drugs, rather than banning other things and creating black market. I liked your thread and did not want to add anything to it because you really have to walk on eggshells not to make issues political here, and I wanted your thread to stay open.

On the other hand, there is a problem of drugs and I see it snowballing. I see it firsthand. Most teenagers think nothing of selling/reselling marijuana in high schools (in fact, it is even glamorized, it makes them popular...Jim is a guy who can get good pot), then one of these days someone selling marijuana to his friends comes and offers to try Vicodin or Oxycontin... for free. And three months down the road kids get totally addicted and start buying "Oxy" from the same guy or on the streets for 80 bucks a pill. And now heroin is on the rise because Oxycontin is so hard to get. As a prescriber of Suboxone (a drug treating opiate addiction) I see the scope of this problem. And it all starts with kids selling marijuana. I have not noticed a huge problem with nicotine and very few people told me that people selling them alcohol one day brought Vicodin instead. (Not that I am condoning kids' drinking, God forbids! And yes, we have to have strong laws against drunk driving. Or driving under any other influence).

Medical marijuana centers, in my view, are simply legalized outlets to buy pot, but strangely enough, my patients who went this route told me their use of marijuana, actually, decreased. They do not need to buy in excess.

By just creating "blanket" illegality, the society is pushing this problem away, not wanting to look into it. And we are sinking deeper and deeper.
i've always been in favor of legalizing drug,b/c it would put a stop on drug smuggling and save our government millions of $$$ fighting the DRUG WARS ,plus it will put an end to many violences on the street thus saving many lives.

IMO...if i were a user i'll find a way to get the drug legally or not and if i were not a user then it doesn't matter to me if CVS,Walgreens or Costco is selling the drugs. i never blame the supplier.
 

maplefemme

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In regards to medical marijuana I'm in full support of it in the scope of the unit I work on. When morphine, fentanyl or methadone do not give pain relief to my patients, sometimes medical marijuana does, and quite frankly I'll give them whatever works, they are dying, addiction isn't my concern or theirs.
Drug addiction and abuse isn't going to end if we legalize it, I can't speculate if it would get any worse, this a real pandora's box with a lot of variables, I could write for hours the potential ramifications, pros ad cons...
It's a huge problem, I have seen it all. I have had addicts call EMS and have them bring them into ER faking pain, wait till I turn my back and stick their fingers down their throat so they vomit and beg for morphine. Makes me mad, because there are people who have REAL emergencies and they aren't getting seen as quick as they should because some addicts are manipulating the system. It's not that I'm not sympathetic to them but this can cost other people their lives I do have a big problem with that.
 

Arkteia

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Tacori E-ring|1307829623|2943568 said:
Here's the deal, alcohol IS a drug. That is why in the profession it is never stated "Alcohol and drugs." Instead it is always referred to as "alcohol and other drugs." The sad thing is alcohol is probably the most dangerous out of all the mood altering substances. The fact that it is socially acceptable only makes it MORE dangerous. I agree there is a huge stigma against substance abuse. Most people think of the bum living under the bridge when they think of addicts. The truth is that is a slim part of the one in four people who have a substance abuse issue in the US. The "moral model" of addiction is alive and well and I think what you are referring to. Many people think it is a choice, a matter of will power, a sin, etc...but I believe, research, doctors, scientists believe these people are wrong. Period.

Not all drugs are illegal. Prescription drugs are a huge problem right now. There seems to be a wave of one drug being very popular before another takes over historically. So interesting to me. I met a guy who was abusing bath salts. SO scary. Even though he is in a rehab and been sober for a few days he is still hallucinating. K2 spice was being sold at GAS STATIONS. They got away with it for awhile b/c it was on non-editables. One drug (can't remember which one off the top of my head) was being manufactured by dealers and was causing Parkinson's Disease. So tragically a bunch of teenagers now have Parkinson's Disease. Point is drugs are scary for sure. But fear has never proven to be a good prevention method. Luckily there are people out there who treat addicts with compassion and empathy. They are sick and no family is immune.

Suboxone gets people in trouble too. I hope you test regularly for benzos before you provide a prescription. There are many unethical providers and doctors that write a script and send people on their way.

ETA: I do not support medical marijuana. I know too much about the dangers. People think it is a "soft" drug but in fact it is quite dangerous. I am not talking about it being a gateway drug but all on its own. There was a great documentary called "Marijuana in the 90s" http://www.fmsproductions.com/substance-abuse-videos/DavidOhlms/marijauna90.php that might change your mind.
For sure we all do! They also have to sign a waiver stating they understand that they should not use benzos. I also do random u/a tests during treatment. But you know what? You can not imagine how many of my patients come from provides who would be prescribing opiates and benzodiazepines together. While there were a few cases of buprenorphine/benzos combination causing lethal effects, methadone + lorazepam, in my mind, could be a much faster way. And you can not imagine how often I have to call these doctors and tell them that opiates and benzos are not safe! And how many of my patients come in withdrawal and on 4 or 6 mg of Xanax, which had been legally prescribed to them by the same doctor that was giving opiates (likely, their anxiety was also caused by intermittent withdrawals). There is a whole list of medications that can or should not be combined with benzos, and just because Suboxone has a black box warning does not mean that we should forget about other combinations.

I do not know if alcohol is the worst of all drugs. I guess each and every one has his own drug lurking in the dark. And we are lucky if we do not "hit" it, so not trying is the best route. But banning marijuana only glamorizes it and opens the door to trying - first marijuana, and then other things.
 

Tacori E-ring

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crasru, unfortunately not all providers/doctors are ethical. I have heard horrible stories. Being a suboxone provider can mean a lot of money. That, not believing in harm reduction therapy, is their motivator. It's sad that some people do not go the extra lengths of providing education and UAs to try to give them a safer environment. I know one doctor that actually told a client not to worry about it. He would have to be on such a large dose of both drugs to have a dangerous interaction :errrr: might not be the best thing to say to an addict. Pot seems harmless but it is not. The half life is SO long you can test positive up to 30 days after you smoked. That scares me! You argue that being illegal glamorizes it but I could argue the opposite point. Some people would likely abuse it if it was legal, but the fear of negative consequences keeps them from trying pot. Alcohol is legal. That's what makes it dangerous. It is socially engrained. There are subcultures where binge drinking is supported. Most people don't even KNOW the size of a standard drink. My professor also works in a trauma center and gives drug assessments to anyone who comes in (by law) and she said there is nothing scarier than wet brain. Some alcoholics can NEVER recover brain function. That is different than other drugs that may take months or years but their brain will recover. In full disclosure, I thought more like you before grad school. The more I learn about drugs, the more I silently dread the day my child goes to school.
 

canuk-gal

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crasru|1307824484|2943509 said:
CIrce, there were two reasons. One point I wanted to make had nothing to do with drugs, rather than banning other things and creating black market. I liked your thread and did not want to add anything to it because you really have to walk on eggshells not to make issues political here, and I wanted your thread to stay open.

On the other hand, there is a problem of drugs and I see it snowballing. I see it firsthand. Most teenagers think nothing of selling/reselling marijuana in high schools (in fact, it is even glamorized, it makes them popular...Jim is a guy who can get good pot), then one of these days someone selling marijuana to his friends comes and offers to try Vicodin or Oxycontin... for free. And three months down the road kids get totally addicted and start buying "Oxy" from the same guy or on the streets for 80 bucks a pill. And now heroin is on the rise because Oxycontin is so hard to get. As a prescriber of Suboxone (a drug treating opiate addiction) I see the scope of this problem. And it all starts with kids selling marijuana. I have not noticed a huge problem with nicotine and very few people told me that people selling them alcohol one day brought Vicodin instead. (Not that I am condoning kids' drinking, God forbids! And yes, we have to have strong laws against drunk driving. Or driving under any other influence).

This is a (dangerous) generalization. Evidence please!

cheers--Sharon
 

ksinger

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What I wonder, is why it is in society's best interest to have a bunch of mind-altered, whacked-out, potentially violent and non-producing people lolling around strung out on drugs. I guess the rights of the individual really do trump any outmoded concept such as what might be better for the overall society.
 

TooPatient

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canuk-gal|1307893426|2944066 said:
crasru|1307824484|2943509 said:
CIrce, there were two reasons. One point I wanted to make had nothing to do with drugs, rather than banning other things and creating black market. I liked your thread and did not want to add anything to it because you really have to walk on eggshells not to make issues political here, and I wanted your thread to stay open.

On the other hand, there is a problem of drugs and I see it snowballing. I see it firsthand. Most teenagers think nothing of selling/reselling marijuana in high schools (in fact, it is even glamorized, it makes them popular...Jim is a guy who can get good pot), then one of these days someone selling marijuana to his friends comes and offers to try Vicodin or Oxycontin... for free. And three months down the road kids get totally addicted and start buying "Oxy" from the same guy or on the streets for 80 bucks a pill. And now heroin is on the rise because Oxycontin is so hard to get. As a prescriber of Suboxone (a drug treating opiate addiction) I see the scope of this problem. And it all starts with kids selling marijuana. I have not noticed a huge problem with nicotine and very few people told me that people selling them alcohol one day brought Vicodin instead. (Not that I am condoning kids' drinking, God forbids! And yes, we have to have strong laws against drunk driving. Or driving under any other influence).

This is a (dangerous) generalization. Evidence please!

cheers--Sharon

I don't know if I'd agree with the MOST part, but I personally witnessed the sale of drugs IN CLASS. Took place between the two guys sitting in front of me. I went to the "drug officer" (an actual police officer who had an office on the high school campus) and let him know what I had seen. You know what happened? The next day the teacher of the class this happened in had a "talk" with the guys who did this and told them to be more careful because someone had complained (said looking directly at me).


The whole debate of legal vs. not-legal is a tough one and I can see that there are certain things that should absolutely be illegal. The "harmless" drugs I'm less clear on. Since they are so widespread, I can see some benefit to legalizing them so that they can be properly monitored and take away the whole "look at me, I'm doing something illegal :bigsmile: " side that I'm sure some people like. At the same time, making something like that legal runs the strong risk that people will see that as the government saying that it is actually safe to use and only a "big deal" if abused.


FWIW, you'll almost always find that I am the first in line to argue that something should NOT be banned by the government and instead information made available so people can make their own educated decisions. People are, generally, rational and capable of making decisions that are right for themselves when presented with actual information. (Part of what makes me less convinced that currently illegal drugs should be made legal is the huge amount of incorrect information available on the subject -- ie "marijuana is harmless")
 

packrat

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ksinger|1307894702|2944075 said:
What I wonder, is why it is in society's best interest to have a bunch of mind-altered, whacked-out, potentially violent and non-producing people lolling around strung out on drugs. I guess the rights of the individual really do trump any outmoded concept such as what might be better for the overall society.
:appl:
 

Arkteia

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canuk-gal|1307893426|2944066 said:
crasru|1307824484|2943509 said:
CIrce, there were two reasons. One point I wanted to make had nothing to do with drugs, rather than banning other things and creating black market. I liked your thread and did not want to add anything to it because you really have to walk on eggshells not to make issues political here, and I wanted your thread to stay open.

On the other hand, there is a problem of drugs and I see it snowballing. I see it firsthand. Most teenagers think nothing of selling/reselling marijuana in high schools (in fact, it is even glamorized, it makes them popular...Jim is a guy who can get good pot), then one of these days someone selling marijuana to his friends comes and offers to try Vicodin or Oxycontin... for free. And three months down the road kids get totally addicted and start buying "Oxy" from the same guy or on the streets for 80 bucks a pill. And now heroin is on the rise because Oxycontin is so hard to get. As a prescriber of Suboxone (a drug treating opiate addiction) I see the scope of this problem. And it all starts with kids selling marijuana. I have not noticed a huge problem with nicotine and very few people told me that people selling them alcohol one day brought Vicodin instead. (Not that I am condoning kids' drinking, God forbids! And yes, we have to have strong laws against drunk driving. Or driving under any other influence).

This is a (dangerous) generalization. Evidence please!

cheers--Sharon
Statistics: one out of five high school students has been involved in drug transactions (sold drugs). Mainly marijuana. Of course, it is an averaged number, and we have very "bad" neighborhoods and "good" neighborhoods, but this is hard data.

I think that if the state legalizes marijuana and takes monopoly over sales, and the money raised is given to NIDA (which is seriously lacking grants), people can be prosecuted for violating state monopoly, not for smoking. Also, anti-drug campaigns also need money. Anti-smoking campaign was, in general, pretty successful. People were provided with information, smoking was not banned, but smoking in public places became uncomfortable (only in certain areas, etc.).
 

Arkteia

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ksinger|1307894702|2944075 said:
What I wonder, is why it is in society's best interest to have a bunch of mind-altered, whacked-out, potentially violent and non-producing people lolling around strung out on drugs. I guess the rights of the individual really do trump any outmoded concept such as what might be better for the overall society.
In WA state where I live, marijuana is illegal. In BC, our "Canadian" neighbor, it is perfectly legal. I have not seen people lolling around high on marijuana there. We did get in bad neighborhoods several times, since we do not know Vancouver too well, and saw exactly the same as we see in bad neighborhoods of Seattle, no more, no less... Again, it is observation, and not statistics, but I do not think legalizing it makes things worse. What I am saying is that banning creates black market, which makes a lot of money and drives up consumption. As I have mentioned before, it is true not only for drugs, it is true for guns and other things.
 

Arkteia

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Tacori E-ring|1307893096|2944063 said:
crasru, unfortunately not all providers/doctors are ethical. I have heard horrible stories. Being a suboxone provider can mean a lot of money. That, not believing in harm reduction therapy, is their motivator. It's sad that some people do not go the extra lengths of providing education and UAs to try to give them a safer environment. I know one doctor that actually told a client not to worry about it. He would have to be on such a large dose of both drugs to have a dangerous interaction :errrr: might not be the best thing to say to an addict. Pot seems harmless but it is not. The half life is SO long you can test positive up to 30 days after you smoked. That scares me! You argue that being illegal glamorizes it but I could argue the opposite point. Some people would likely abuse it if it was legal, but the fear of negative consequences keeps them from trying pot. Alcohol is legal. That's what makes it dangerous. It is socially engrained. There are subcultures where binge drinking is supported. Most people don't even KNOW the size of a standard drink. My professor also works in a trauma center and gives drug assessments to anyone who comes in (by law) and she said there is nothing scarier than wet brain. Some alcoholics can NEVER recover brain function. That is different than other drugs that may take months or years but their brain will recover. In full disclosure, I thought more like you before grad school. The more I learn about drugs, the more I silently dread the day my child goes to school.
Or not. I take patients' insurances when I prescribe Suboxone, and do not keep them on retainers, just because I believe they have the same rights as any other patients, but they are always out of money, their checks bounce, they move, they relapse. In fact, I should not be supportive of them - my ratings went sharply down when I started prescribing the drug. Someone is angry because I am not prescribing benzos, someone is unhappy because I would not prescribe Suboxone early, someone is unhappy because of financial issues. Users are not happy people, and often angry, and still I feel sorry for them because I have not been there and I should not judge. I am concerned that Suboxone is becoming a "miracle pill" and my patients try to avoid CD counseling or AA/NA because the pill keeps them clean. I am also not happy because for many of them the main motivation is "I am broke". And treating my favorite group (autistic spectrum, adults and children) is more rewarding, at least emotionally. But as long as this pill, Suboxone, at least a little bit decriminalizes drug consumption, I'll be prescribing it.

I share your feelings about the kid going to school. I did the worst thing possible, I did not allow my older son to work when he was at school because so many of my friends' children first tried marijuana in the summer, at their first work. He was working later, in college, in areas where drug use is not that rampant. I am still scared, there is alcoholism on my husband's side of the family, and my son, actually, likes alcohol, not drugs, but I do not think that banning alcohol could have made things better. In fact, in Gorbachev's time, in Russia, an attempt was made to "ban" alcohol. With our typical measure of idiocy, they have destroyed old vineries in Crimea, and allowed two bottles of vodka per person per month. The rate of alcohol poisoning went sharply up, and alcohol turned into "liquid currency". The government had to stop the ban...
 

Dancing Fire

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there are more people hook on prescription drugs than illegal drugs.
 

Trekkie

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crasru|1307822625|2943480 said:
I am posting this because I am still thinking of another post here but that post has exhausted itself...

Occasionally some PS-ers mention prior issues with alcohol and their battle and long periods sobriety... we all support them.

At the same time, I have never seen a post where a PS-er would talk about battling a drug addiction... having been addicted to hard drugs. Staying clean or trying to get clean.

Are PS-ers different from other humans? Likely, not, and I assume that some people on this very huge forum have had problems with drugs but do not want to mention it. The stigma attached to drugs is way bigger than to alcohol.

In my profession, I see many people with addictions. You learn to be non-judgmental. But when I took my exams, I had this feeling that even some examiners were prejudiced against people with addictions. I hope I am wrong here.

I believe it has to do with the criminality associated with drugs. They are banned, and people have to buy them on the streets, resell, steal, get into debt... you know. Drugs are illegal.

We had the same problem with alcohol during Prohibition. We all have read books, and I believe that if alcohol was prohibited now, we'd have the same attitude to people who drank. Now, people who are battling addictions tell me that they prefer to go to AA rather than NA because no one would think of coming to AA to sell a bottle of whiskey to make a quick buck. NA is infested with dealers who know that they are dealing with vulnerable people and have a chance to make money here.

The point I am trying to make is that banning (and I am not talking about drugs only here - each one can guess which other things may or could be banned) does nothing but creates black market, and black market is the worst thing you can do to deal with the problem.

This post comes from a person who never used drugs, who usually does not drink because alcohol gives her heartburn, who does not own a gun and would prefer not to be in other situations that I do not want to mention here because they always generate hot discussions.

(Here is an example. A well-known physician lost his position because he was caught with a drug on him. He was always functioning well, did well and was in no way a criminal. Another place was desperately searching for a specialist of his profile. I mentioned him but said that he was what we call "impaired physician". "Alcohol?", came the question. "No, (this)", was my answer. "Oh, this... no we can't. Alcohol would be still OK, but this...". And "this" was neither heroin nor meth. It was an addiction, but treatable).

As I have said, this post is not solely about addiction. And I do not want it to sound political. Just an observation from someone who is observing these issues every day. Just the consequences of making one or two more things illegal.
Um, I'm quite open about my former drug use. Here on PS and in person. I occasionally post about when I'm approaching a milestone and have even requested advice regarding a ring I would like to have made for a milestone coming up in October. I have always felt incredibly supported and several members have shared about their own particular battles. But then again, PS is a pretty judgment-free place, at least as I experience it.

Re: Drugs vs alcohol, I really can't comment except from my own personal experience. I believe that alcohol is a drug, no better or worse than cocaine or meth or heroin. Cigarettes are legal, so is alcohol, cannabis is legal in some places, in some instances. It seems quite petty to differentiate between different drugs like this.

Growing up, long before I touched my first drug, I used to believe that all drugs should be legalised. These days I'm not so sure.

I do know that if you're an addict, you're an addict. Banning something isn't going to make your addiction go away. If I had never been exposed to alcohol or drugs I would still be an addict.
 

PilsnPinkysMom

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 11, 2008
Messages
1,878
Dancing Fire|1307940843|2944524 said:
there are more people hook on prescription drugs than illegal drugs.

Perhaps. My DH is a pharmacist and encounters addicts on a daily basis. For him, it is the most difficult part of the job. Though he sometimes has tense interactions with the addicts, he's usually only angry and frustrated with the prescribing physicians. One doctor in this area actually stopped seeing patients in her office and was meeting addicts in public places (parks, parking lots, coffee shops) and giving them scripts in exchange for beaucoup $$$. It's so sad and twisted that "healthcare professionals" knowingly make money off of these addictions instead of helping patients or referring them to people who can help. These "legal" drugs cause worlds of hurt for many people and unfortunately those who use them properly and for legitimate reasons are stigmatized.
 

Tacori E-ring

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Joined
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Messages
20,039
Dancing Fire|1307940843|2944524 said:
there are more people hook on prescription drugs than illegal drugs.
Data?
 

megumic

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
1,647
PilsnPinkysMom|1307948775|2944543 said:
Dancing Fire|1307940843|2944524 said:
there are more people hook on prescription drugs than illegal drugs.

Perhaps. My DH is a pharmacist and encounters addicts on a daily basis. For him, it is the most difficult part of the job. Though he sometimes has tense interactions with the addicts, he's usually only angry and frustrated with the prescribing physicians. One doctor in this area actually stopped seeing patients in her office and was meeting addicts in public places (parks, parking lots, coffee shops) and giving them scripts in exchange for beaucoup $$$. It's so sad and twisted that "healthcare professionals" knowingly make money off of these addictions instead of helping patients or referring them to people who can help. These "legal" drugs cause worlds of hurt for many people and unfortunately those who use them properly and for legitimate reasons are stigmatized.
This happened around here recently. A few docs in NY/NJ got busted for running an Oxy drug ring -- more than 500,000 pills in two years. Since I know a few oxy addicts, it makes me sick to think physicians are not only condoning but have become a part of the whole scheme. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to be the pharmacist...WOW...never thought of that. Stuck in the middle I suppose...
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
Trekkie|1307946906|2944542 said:
crasru|1307822625|2943480 said:
I am posting this because I am still thinking of another post here but that post has exhausted itself...

Occasionally some PS-ers mention prior issues with alcohol and their battle and long periods sobriety... we all support them.

At the same time, I have never seen a post where a PS-er would talk about battling a drug addiction... having been addicted to hard drugs. Staying clean or trying to get clean.

Are PS-ers different from other humans? Likely, not, and I assume that some people on this very huge forum have had problems with drugs but do not want to mention it. The stigma attached to drugs is way bigger than to alcohol.

In my profession, I see many people with addictions. You learn to be non-judgmental. But when I took my exams, I had this feeling that even some examiners were prejudiced against people with addictions. I hope I am wrong here.

I believe it has to do with the criminality associated with drugs. They are banned, and people have to buy them on the streets, resell, steal, get into debt... you know. Drugs are illegal.

We had the same problem with alcohol during Prohibition. We all have read books, and I believe that if alcohol was prohibited now, we'd have the same attitude to people who drank. Now, people who are battling addictions tell me that they prefer to go to AA rather than NA because no one would think of coming to AA to sell a bottle of whiskey to make a quick buck. NA is infested with dealers who know that they are dealing with vulnerable people and have a chance to make money here.

The point I am trying to make is that banning (and I am not talking about drugs only here - each one can guess which other things may or could be banned) does nothing but creates black market, and black market is the worst thing you can do to deal with the problem.

This post comes from a person who never used drugs, who usually does not drink because alcohol gives her heartburn, who does not own a gun and would prefer not to be in other situations that I do not want to mention here because they always generate hot discussions.

(Here is an example. A well-known physician lost his position because he was caught with a drug on him. He was always functioning well, did well and was in no way a criminal. Another place was desperately searching for a specialist of his profile. I mentioned him but said that he was what we call "impaired physician". "Alcohol?", came the question. "No, (this)", was my answer. "Oh, this... no we can't. Alcohol would be still OK, but this...". And "this" was neither heroin nor meth. It was an addiction, but treatable).

As I have said, this post is not solely about addiction. And I do not want it to sound political. Just an observation from someone who is observing these issues every day. Just the consequences of making one or two more things illegal.
Um, I'm quite open about my former drug use. Here on PS and in person. I occasionally post about when I'm approaching a milestone and have even requested advice regarding a ring I would like to have made for a milestone coming up in October. I have always felt incredibly supported and several members have shared about their own particular battles. But then again, PS is a pretty judgment-free place, at least as I experience it.

Re: Drugs vs alcohol, I really can't comment except from my own personal experience. I believe that alcohol is a drug, no better or worse than cocaine or meth or heroin. Cigarettes are legal, so is alcohol, cannabis is legal in some places, in some instances. It seems quite petty to differentiate between different drugs like this.

Growing up, long before I touched my first drug, I used to believe that all drugs should be legalised. These days I'm not so sure.

I do know that if you're an addict, you're an addict. Banning something isn't going to make your addiction go away. If I had never been exposed to alcohol or drugs I would still be an addict.
Trekkie, congratulations on staying clean. I respect you for this openness. I also imagine how hard it has been for you. The good thing is that you have been there (which is hellish) and now you are here. I did not know your story, but I have read your other posts and I think you are amazing.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
PilsnPinkysMom|1307948775|2944543 said:
Dancing Fire|1307940843|2944524 said:
there are more people hook on prescription drugs than illegal drugs.

Perhaps. My DH is a pharmacist and encounters addicts on a daily basis. For him, it is the most difficult part of the job. Though he sometimes has tense interactions with the addicts, he's usually only angry and frustrated with the prescribing physicians. One doctor in this area actually stopped seeing patients in her office and was meeting addicts in public places (parks, parking lots, coffee shops) and giving them scripts in exchange for beaucoup $$$. It's so sad and twisted that "healthcare professionals" knowingly make money off of these addictions instead of helping patients or referring them to people who can help. These "legal" drugs cause worlds of hurt for many people and unfortunately those who use them properly and for legitimate reasons are stigmatized.
Totally understand. These doctors are probably worse than street drug pushers. The street dealers usually have their own problems; the doctors are making money off vulnerable people.

I am also surprised at how easily these drugs can be prescribed. Everyone, but everyone, can do it. A dentist prescribed Tylenol # 3 to me for toothache! I took one pill and did not even like it. I do not know whether it is the concept of "making everyone comfortable" or just a habit... BTW, even lavish prescription of painkillers after surgery is not good. I refused morphine even the first night after my C-section, and I tried to get up as soon as possible. I was driving in a week. I had one night of patient-controlled analgesia after significant abdominal surgery and that was it. Invasive surgery causes gastroparesis with constipation, and so do opiates. So prescribing more after surgery actually, increases the risk of complications.

But these doctors only testify that black market has its pull. That is why I believe that the state has to look at this problem from the other end. Not to ban and punish, but think of how to decrease monetary interest in selling drugs.

Sorry if I am rubbing people the wrong way here. Today I met another victim of the habit and the dealers.
 

iLander

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
6,731
No. Absolutely not. I can never condone any kind of legalization of dangerous drugs.

To legalize something is to imply that at some level, it is safe. It's not. At any level.

I personally know of a person and a family destroyed by a "just this once" use of LSD. Life lost to addictions, brain damaged caused by substance abuse. And the LSD use was way back in the day when it WASN'T illegal, when no one knew what it did to you and it was still new and hip and groovy. The allure was to "try something new". I still wonder if he would have used if it was illegal. I don't think so, he wasn't the type to break the law.

I believe that making it illegal keeps regular folks from saying "Well, cocaine is legal, I'll just try it this once." I'm a curious person. If it wasn't illegal, I might consider it. But because it's illegal, in my puny mind that underscores that it is dangerous. Plus I don't want to break a law and potentially end up in jail with some criminal sitting next to me. Maybe I'm the only one that sees it that way, but that's how it works in my head.

I am so tired of hearing people say "Well it costs so much money to fight the drug wars". (not at you Crasu, my liberal AND conservative friends like to say this) So what? It also costs a lot of money to keep people from shoplifting, stealing cars, murdering their neighbors, mugging you in the park and the myriad of other things that law enforcement does. It costs money to keep society safe from it's errant members. That's what I pay taxes for.

I get VERY resentful when Nickelback has lyrics that say "Everybody's got a drug dealer on speed dial. Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar" That REALLY ticks me off. The song should be "I have Dr Kovorkian on speed dial to assist me in killing myself", because that's what drugs do. The song implies it's cool. I think it's sick.

Alcohol is a dangerous drug for some people and a minor relaxant for others. Drugs are addicting and dangerous for Every single person that uses them. I can see the distinction, and I'm glad our lawmakers can too.

I'm an extremely liberal person, open to many ways of life and lifestyles. But this is where I draw the line.

(sorry, that was pretty much a rant, but I feel very strongly about this) :|

ETA: For those seeking a stat; Shoplifting prevention (or as it's called in the industry "shrink reduction") is a $46 BILLION dollar industry. Yup, prevention of anything illegal costs big bucks.
 

ksinger

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Messages
5,078
crasru|1307939838|2944515 said:
ksinger|1307894702|2944075 said:
What I wonder, is why it is in society's best interest to have a bunch of mind-altered, whacked-out, potentially violent and non-producing people lolling around strung out on drugs. I guess the rights of the individual really do trump any outmoded concept such as what might be better for the overall society.
In WA state where I live, marijuana is illegal. In BC, our "Canadian" neighbor, it is perfectly legal. I have not seen people lolling around high on marijuana there. We did get in bad neighborhoods several times, since we do not know Vancouver too well, and saw exactly the same as we see in bad neighborhoods of Seattle, no more, no less... Again, it is observation, and not statistics, but I do not think legalizing it makes things worse. What I am saying is that banning creates black market, which makes a lot of money and drives up consumption. As I have mentioned before, it is true not only for drugs, it is true for guns and other things.
Not exactly a great reason to NOT ban something, and not strictly true either. Banning a thing does drive down consumption in the majority of the law-abiding who might try something if it was legal but don't because it isn't. So a black market does not itself drive up consumption, it merely makes the consumption that was going to happen anyway, nearly cost-prohibitive, thus increasing crime among those who become addicted and making the selling of drugs attractive only to an element of people who are inured to risk - ie, criminals.

On a personal note, I've never felt any desire to indulge in illegal drugs simply because they were illegal, nor the legal ones either for that matter, now that I think of it. Maybe that is the psychology and/or internal chemistry of some people, but not all certainly. In any case, I am extremely fortunate to have neither the temperment nor the chemistry to become an addict of any kind. Pure dumb luck if you ask me, although I will give myself credit for making pretty good choices along the way, but it wasn't all that hard. I know that isn't the case for some.

Marijuana is a middle case - a soft drug if you will, and was not what I was talking about earlier. I'm not terribly keen on the idea of legalizing marijuana, but then I loathe smoking of any kind, all the time. Personal issue. The other drugs though? No way. Like ilander, that is where I draw the line too. Legalizing something does legitimize it in the public eye, and not much you can say will change my view on that. Banning does work, but only to the degree that the general belief is that the thing/item being banned is genuinely detrimental to the individual and by extension, the society (although, as I mentioned above, the idea of an individual having to make the least personal sacrifice for the good of ANYONE else is pretty much dead in our culture), and in the willingness of the society to impose some pretty harsh penalties. We moderns no longer have the will to do that...so...

Legalizing drugs would remove the current punitive deterrent (jail) as paltry as it may be, for people getting into the business of selling drugs. More people would get into the biz, which in turn would lower the price - the price would be lower even if it was taxed and extremely regulated, which many advocate. (Can you imagine our tax bases - local and maybe even federal - being predicated on drug sales? The mind boggles. Talk about a conflict of interest and potential for exploitation!) Increased availability, lower price, no stigma, no consequence, and voila, more "casual" use of drugs that are extremely addictive. Even sellers of legal drugs (cigarettes) don't rely strictly on persuasive marketing to sell their product - they doctor it up to make it even MORE addictive than it normally would be. If privileged tobacco company execs who are supposed to have some moral compass will do such things, people newly freed from the restraint of being almost-criminals are probably not going to suddenly have your best interests at heart simply because their product is legal tomorrow. If you were trying do decide something to sell, what could be better, money-wise, than a product which addicted your customers?

In any case, I've always been more interested in why so many people apparently feel the need to alter their brain chemistry. What is out of whack that pushes them to look for SOMETHING to FIX it?

And guns just really don't fit into this discussion....
 

risingsun

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 19, 2006
Messages
5,549
We have turned to harm reduction in the addictions field to help clients who are unable to become clean and sober through more traditional methods. It is often the first step to sobriety. I do believe in strictly controlled use of medical marijuana and opiates for intractable pain. This includes heroin for end of life care. At one time, something called a Brompton's Cocktail was used in England to provide such relief. When people are in chronic pain, we in the medical community owe them a pain free way to live out their days. I do not recommend legalizing drugs. There are more people addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs because they are legal and easy to obtain. Marijuana is not, IMO, a soft drug. Try working with a 45 year old pot head. The lights might be on, but no one is home. It's also carcinogenic. For example, my name is Marian or Mrs. Risingsun, not dude. Those of us in the field need to come to together and develop some clear and direct protocols. I maintain that harm reduction is a legitimate form of treatment and can save lives. Those who are rigid in their treatment approaches do not do this field any favors. We all need to keep current with psychopharmocology and the cutting edge approaches to CD treatment.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
Not exactly a great reason to NOT ban something, and not strictly true either. Banning a thing does drive down consumption in the majority of the law-abiding who might try something if it was legal but don't because it isn't. So a black market does not itself drive up consumption, it merely makes the consumption that was going to happen anyway, nearly cost-prohibitive, thus increasing crime among those who become addicted and making the selling of drugs attractive only to an element of people who are inured to risk - ie, criminals.

On a personal note, I've never felt any desire to indulge in illegal drugs simply because they were illegal, nor the legal ones either for that matter, now that I think of it. Maybe that is the psychology and/or internal chemistry of some people, but not all certainly. In any case, I am extremely fortunate to have neither the temperment nor the chemistry to become an addict of any kind. Pure dumb luck if you ask me, although I will give myself credit for making pretty good choices along the way, but it wasn't all that hard. I know that isn't the case for some.

Marijuana is a middle case - a soft drug if you will, and was not what I was talking about earlier. I'm not terribly keen on the idea of legalizing marijuana, but then I loathe smoking of any kind, all the time. Personal issue. The other drugs though? No way. Like ilander, that is where I draw the line too. Legalizing something does legitimize it in the public eye, and not much you can say will change my view on that. Banning does work, but only to the degree that the general belief is that the thing/item being banned is genuinely detrimental to the individual and by extension, the society (although, as I mentioned above, the idea of an individual having to make the least personal sacrifice for the good of ANYONE else is pretty much dead in our culture), and in the willingness of the society to impose some pretty harsh penalties. We moderns no longer have the will to do that...so...

Legalizing drugs would remove the current punitive deterrent (jail) as paltry as it may be, for people getting into the business of selling drugs. More people would get into the biz, which in turn would lower the price - the price would be lower even if it was taxed and extremely regulated, which many advocate. (Can you imagine our tax bases - local and maybe even federal - being predicated on drug sales? The mind boggles. Talk about a conflict of interest and potential for exploitation!) Increased availability, lower price, no stigma, no consequence, and voila, more "casual" use of drugs that are extremely addictive. Even sellers of legal drugs (cigarettes) don't rely strictly on persuasive marketing to sell their product - they doctor it up to make it even MORE addictive than it normally would be. If privileged tobacco company execs who are supposed to have some moral compass will do such things, people newly freed from the restraint of being almost-criminals are probably not going to suddenly have your best interests at heart simply because their product is legal tomorrow. If you were trying do decide something to sell, what could be better, money-wise, than a product which addicted your customers?

In any case, I've always been more interested in why so many people apparently feel the need to alter their brain chemistry. What is out of whack that pushes them to look for SOMETHING to FIX it?

And guns just really don't fit into this discussion....[/quote]


I have a theory about it. If we discount peer pressure, the desire to fit in, etc.

No one's brain is "perfect". People suffer from social anxiety, just anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, panic attacks. If their problems are not diagnosed and treated, they start self-medicating. Heck, it is well-known, I am not discovering America here... But I spoke to my medical director who is also a CD specialist - he noticed that for patients with bipolar disorder marijuana is often a drug of choice. It slows down their racing thoughts and helps them sleep. Alcohol, of course, helps to relax and really disinhibits people - so 10% of people with alcohol addiction actually start drinking to ward off social anxiety. They notice that drinking at parties makes them social and fun... this is exactly what they are missing. Those of patients with Asperger's syndrome who do drink (and many do not use anything because they know right from wrong) usually drink to ward off social anxiety.
Now stimulants. They work well for ADHD. I heard one person say, "all of a sudden, I got eyeglasses put on..." (He tried cocaine for the first time). And they bind to the same dopamine receptors as Ritalin. Trouble is, they are very short-acting so pretty soon the person starts looking around in search for more.
With opiates... there are two very distinct groups. Some (like myself) hate them because they make them sleepy and devoid of any energy, some fell surge of energy. Which makes total sense. Remember what we advise to people who are depressed? "Go to the gym, exercise releases endorphins and enkephalines and they are natural treatment for depression". They do, but they are endogenous opiates. So when people get opiates outside, they feel perked up. One of the women I know told me, "for the first time in five years, I felt alive". (She, actually, is an ex-addict and is doing her best to stay clean. The meds were prescribed to her after surgery, for a very short time). So with time, exogenous opiates suppress production of endogenous ones... The body asks for something outside!

Now this, of course, is a very primitive attempt to explain why people are experimenting with mind-altering substances. The level of novelty-seeking behavior is different in all of us. It is very different in all animal species, too, you can see it in mice. But there is a "knockout mouse", a mouse whose brain is lacking D4 receptors and it is genetically immune to alcohol! I guess some of us are "knockouts", too (sorry, it is not a bad joke, it is an official term). Immune to (at least) some drugs. There is no merit of mine in not being an addict, there are no alcoholics in my family lines. Yet presence of one alcoholic parent increase a kid's chance of becoming an alcoholic (in comparison to general population) by the factor of 18! I, really, can not blame people who become alcoholics or addicts. it is a bad choice, but perhaps genes play a more important role.
 
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