OPINION: Sympathy for the junkie

By Mitch MacKay of East Jordan


Addiction is a fascinating phenomenon.

Not anomalous, however, addiction has been with us for as long as history has been recorded in Gutenberg type.

The opioid crisis was started by doctors, so it is alleged.

Seemingly so, it began long ago when opium was available at our local apothecary over the counter, practically off the shelf as old advertisements will plainly illustrate, teething babies and so on, all your aches and pains dissolved, a feeling of tranquility besides.

The Chinese knew what they were doing with opium dens and no one seemed to mind transporting them to America and elsewhere. 

In fact, no drugs of any kind were illegal a hundred years ago in the Western World.

Authorities have a problem though, now that they’ve already interfered with the usage and distribution thereof, and with the medical applicability so ubiquitous and we might say essential in pain relief, operative functions and so on.

Nobody is hyped up for a “bottle and a bullet” operation nowadays, not even the toughest Marlboro Man cowboy.

Right now the marijuana issue is undergoing the throes of bantering about in social and legal circles with an overriding medical benefit slowly coming to acceptance.

Well, if it works medically, which it does, why not recreational?

Okay, there is that little problem of driving, working, social graces &c, melding with your fellow man in civil decorum.

As to addiction, that falls into the psychological department.

It is not proven that marijuana is addictive or a gateway drug to harder stuff, but some statistics exist to that effect anyway, or so it might seem to investigators. 

Addiction is the crux of the matter.  Some doctors who originally prescribed opiates for pain and anxiety now regret having done so and even campaign against it.

That leaves some patients in the lurch and some medical staff in a position of guard dog against addiction but often beyond rationale since reformism is a subjective reaction not encompassing objectivity.

This is wrestled with via doctors’ offices nationwide in contemporary continuum.

This is why the federal government abjures decision making for the present-future; they don’t want to be wrong, or more crucially, they don’t want the responsibility of being wrong.

Harmful drugs of recent past still bear scars on recipients legally cleared for prescription, Thalidomide and many more.  The unborn often pay the highest price. 

Addiction creates an industry of its own.

A substitute for willpower, placebos galore flood the market with promises of ersatz conquering of lack of will to quit anything unbecoming or socially destructive.

Simply put, if anyone hasn’t the willpower to quit something, voila, there it is, no willpower.

If you don’t have it, can’t conjure it, you justify preferring satiation.

You might seek ameliorative products and programs to ease yourself out of your addictions be they drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, food, anything that may be called a habit.

But we each and all gravitate to norms of comportment in our daily lives, coffee at awakening, happy hour, whatever it takes to ease into our days of work and leisure. 

Opioids are great relaxers for multitudinous ailments.

To become addicted, larger quantities than prescribed are imbibed and right there should be the signal that an addiction is taking place.  But without said willpower there’s little hope of countering the desire.  If you don’t have willpower, you just don’t have it; you accept your temptations.

Like a fly and a Venus’s flytrap plant, addiction awaits your straying haplessly within proximity to be assimilated, resistance is futile, abandon all hope ye who enter.

Most of us have known or seen those persons so caught in the web of drug desire, hopelessly victim to constant renewal of the scourge to their bodies, souls, minds, social standing and often life.

They are helpless victims.

Or are they?

Believe it or not, it’s choice.

Otherwise we’re considering each person a potential blackguard regardless his/her righteous upbringing, just one glimpse of iniquity away from abject moral turpitude. 

It was Nancy Reagan who coined the phrase:  Just Say No.  

Peer pressure said otherwise.

And kids know that the adult world does not always harbor their best interests.

Kids, as is said, have their tuners set to #11 for BS.

But it worked fairly well, that simple phrase and still does for any who stop to consider it.

It’s not actually willpower; it’s more an attuning with a higher, more powerful, mindset that proclaims you don’t need to use crutches if you can walk; why hobble yourself?

Some postulation surfaces that drugs actually cause pain when cessation is attempted.

That’s psychosomatic psychiatric territory and a crutch in its own rite.

Though cold turkey takes many forms, there’s only one ameliorant: quit.

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