Re: Bye-Bye to the >H Right Wing ->Drugs & addicts

From: Alex Ramonsky (
Date: Tue Feb 19 2002 - 21:26:29 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Vanessa Novaeris" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2002 21:57
Subject: Re: Bye-Bye to the >H Right Wing ->Drugs & addicts

> The FACT of the matter is that you cannot force an addict/alcoholic to get
> clean. Nothing in existence can keep the afflicted from that next hit or
> drink or whatever EXCEPT their own free will to *choose* to stop. S/He
> require assisstance (sometimes a great deal) to carry out this choice
> completely, but the *choice* by necessity must be freely & willingly made
> the addict of his/her own accord.

 I've had a dilemma about this subject for some time. My views are based on
both my own experience and that of others, both socially and in research.
Feel free to disagree with me completely, I am merely seeking answers to
unsolved problems, which is what research is all about, and this group
excels at bouncing problems back and forth and often finding solutions...I
don't want to make anyone uncomfortable though, so if you don't want to talk
about drugs, stop reading now.
I find it curious that in our society, distinctions are made between
'drugs', as in illegal or other substances that people get addicted to,
'drugs' that people get from doctors or chemists, and 'drugs' such as sugar,
coffee and junk food.
All of these categories of drugs affect the mind, and the behaviour,
profoundly. Sugar and junk food have as strong a link with delinquent crime
as alcohol or amphetamines. The side-effects of regular use of Ibuprofen,
Valium or Chloramphenicol are just as serious as those of tobacco, and worse
than marijuana.
(That was a qualifier...)

 Not all junkies *want* to get sober & my feeling
> is that if they don't want to put in the effort when given the
> then they are fucking themselves. The State need not waste money or
> resources on people who continue to make the *choice* to use.

There is a possibility that this could be totally unfair...
If someone suffers from depression, and they find a drug which relieves the
symptoms, they are going to use it, because from their point of view they
feel more responsible, capable and, bluntly, sane when they use the drug
than when they do not. And which is preferable -a nervous, depressed,
irritable person driving the family car, or a person under the influence of
a drug that makes them feel sane and happy?
My point is, I believe that many 'addicts' who choose not to stop are
self-medicating to relieve an unbearable mental state. Many are doing this
legally, with Prozac, Valium, tobacco or chocolate. They know the substance
is damaging their body and creating social problems. But in just the same
way that the side-effects of pain-killers are still preferable to acute
pain, the social and physical side-effects of addiction seem better than
acute psychological torment.
I will stick my neck out here and say that I believe any addict who chooses
to continue is probably in this position.
When I say 'psychological torment' I'm not referring to the effects of
withdrawal. I mean the person was in psychological torment before they ever
took the drug, and took it in the first place because they were looking for
relief from that torment. They probably tried several drugs before finding
one that worked. And the symptoms will return, and remain indefinitely, if
the drug is stopped. So by asking addicts to stop we could be doing the
equivalent of taking away the Prozac from someone with deep depression, or
the Chlorpromazine from someone with schizophrenia.

 In fact, accepting responsibility for ones own actions, (past,
> present, & future) is literally the first step in treatment of addiction.
> Addicts cannot get sober without first taking full responsibility for
> themselves & their condition.

Which condition? The addiction or the condition which caused it? Should we
assume responsibility for our own genetically inherited diseases, our
neurological / neurochemical imbalances / disorders or our viral infections?
We don't get sick on purpose. We don't get psychologically distressed or
depressed on purpose. Is a drug user guilty for taking medication with bad
side-effects, if nobody is providing anything better?
Why would anybody who is 100% mentally healthy ever choose to put anything
into their bodies if it didn't, overall, make them feel better? How many
people are out tonight searching for anything that will?
Psychoses and neuroses do not always respond to drugs from a doctor. An
individual's mind, and neurochemistry, is unique. Sometimes, chocolate or
tobacco or marijuana will do the trick. Should we, then, take this away from
them, or make them feel guilty for doing it?

If a person chooses to diminish their lives
> >by using some drugs, then they have every right to do so.
> >All drug use carries a risk, and the risks are varied. As an adult,
> >each makes his/her own decision as to whether to expose themself to
> >that drug, and one measures the potential good/harm against their
> >own personal form of measure.

On the physical damage side, depression itself increases the possibility of
so many diseases / disorders, there is not enough time or room here to list
them. It is definitely worse for you physically than smoking anything (and
pretty nasty for your loved ones, too).
What we should be doing is assessing why people need drugs (any drugs) and
providing the safest drugs possible to relieve the symptoms each person
suffers when s/he is 'straight'. This is what doctors try to do, although,
with a patient, the illness is already recognised. Perhaps the biggest
question should be why such a large percentage of the population suffers
from mild-to-middling psychological disorders? There may be a clue to this
in those organisations which succeed in 'curing' addicts -perhaps what they
are actually doing is curing the underlying disorder, by showing the person
that someone cares and giving them a bit of self-esteem, with the love,
respect, affection and attention they maybe never got from parents, friends
or partners, and the lack of which caused the depression in the first place?
Human beings need to be nurtured throughout growth to be mentally healthy,
to avoid insecurity and fear of abandonment.
Insecurity=fear=anxiety=depression in a lot of cases. How many people do you
know who are 100% sane? (Well, the people on this list, of course! )
As for the state, my point of view makes its interference obsolete. If any
person has to take any kind of medication to relieve any kind of symptoms,
and that medication affects their behaviour and/or performance, then they
should be monitored by their GP and assessed for their ability to drive or
operate machinery. They may need to register as disabled until a safer
medication can be found or a cure is forthcoming. But without such a cure,
expecting anyone to give up their medication and just suffer is perhaps a
bit barbaric?
The state would, of course, have to trash all the drugs laws and hand the
control of substances over to the drugs companies & manufacturers. So a
heroin manufacturer would have to pay taxes on that, and users would pick
their supply up on prescription. Same for tobacco. And I reckon a lot more
people would go for therapy / treatment than could be bothered to get their
cigarettes on script every month...although if it were thought of as a
medication, it would be more popular in tablets -who on earth would smoke
It wouldn't be too long before the real problem was addressed, if the
emphasis was on creating safer and safer medication for each individual.
Finally, a personal view; I drink alcohol copiously whenever I am with
people socially whom I do not know very well. I do this on purpose because
otherwise I can't think of anything to say, and I feel awkward, embarrassed,
geeky and shy. When they are gone, I stop, and I don't think about drinking
again until I'm in that situation again, just as I wouldn't dream of taking
a painkiller if I wasn't in pain. What if I felt like that with everyone,
even my family, all the time, unless I drank all the time? What if I felt
utterly depressed unless I constantly took something which made me feel
better but made me behave like an asshole? Would I do it?
I honestly do not know.


The Ramonsky Disclaimer: "Anything written or said or recorded by me or
quoted from me, which causes offence in any way, was not meant to; however
please let me know so I won't do it again, whatever it was."

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