There is so much in the news about addiction to opioids. I want to quickly run through what I know about opium. Opiates are derivatives or manufactured analogs of opium. Opium is probably the least addictive. Then morphine, then the oxy’s, and at the top, super-addictive Fentanyl. Each of these escalations in potency is further removed from the plant until the oxy’s and fentanyl, which are totally manufactured, not derived from the actual plant. Heroin is a concentrated form of opium and a substitute for all of the above. If you are in psychic pain, any of these drugs can be addicting. Pain patients do not usually get addicted to morphine because of physical pain alone, they are able to taper off.
It is a proven fact that psychic pain is a prerequisite for addiction to opioid-type drugs.If you do watch videos about addicted people, what you see is that every single person was in some kind of psychological pain. What most addicts in treatment are endeavoring to do is quit using the substance- while not being able to do much about their mental and emotional pain because life is so hard, right now. Not being able to create a happier life leaves them very vulnerable to falling back into addiction. The non-physical pain is the real driver towards the use of opioids. People who use opioids past the physical pain, find life extremely difficult. Life is far more difficult now. Good jobs are scarce, rents are high, cars and gas are costly. Health insurance is dependent on your job- if you qualify in the first place. Way too many people have to give up their dreams and even compromise their lifestyle in today’s austere times.
The Millennial generation is being raised by Generation X, the first generation to find the cost of living rise extremely high for young people, whether they completed their education or not. Generation X had to have two parent incomes in order to not quite have enough money to enjoy themselves.
The baby boomers graduated high school and college – the state universities were practically tuition free-and could get part time jobs-20 hours a week make enough money to cover rent, food AND a car. The baby boomers went on summer vacations every year. Their parents often had a boat or other money consuming hobby. None of that is possible today -even with salaries quadruple what the Boomers’ parents made and the taxes at 90% for the wealthy. My parent’s first house on Montecito Street cost $3k. That very same house today is worth about $300k. I know. I lived the easier life. In my opinion, a lot of psychic pain is caused by struggling to cover the bare necessities.
It is no longer possible to work 20 hours a week as a waitress or clerk in a store or library, and pay the rent, utilities, food and have a car. In the 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s, if you worked 40 hours a week, you could even afford a kid or two on a low salary.
During my college years, I knew one heroin addict, a girl who had fallen for a Mexican during high school and got pregnant. The parents broke them up and sent the girl to a home for unwed mothers and made her give up her child.
Her next boyfriend was a Mexican heroin dealer. She never got over losing her child nor using heroin until she had a stoke in her 40’s and went to a nursing home. When I was a psychiatric clinic supervisor I knew several heroin addicts with dual diagnoses- (a psychiatric label in addition to the addict label). They all had a lot of psychic pain that affected their ability to deal with the increasingly hard facts of life in the 80’s and beyond. Life has not been a beach for more than 30 years. Instead, it has become increasingly hard to compete in the job market, plus most Millennials rang up large debts if they went to college. None of their average high school friends can afford vacations anymore, and it is hard to have a lot of fun. It is hard to even feel good.
This all adds up to a lot of mental pain. Stress it is called. Stress causes inflammation in the body and metaphorically, in the mind.
Even if many opioid addicts manage to stay clean, there are still many stress factors they can do nothing about- like the rising cost of living. It is hard to stay positive and stay out of fear states nowadays, so opioid addiction is still rising. There will be many more addicts before this is done, because there is a great abundance of heroin from Afghanistan where they are raising record breaking amounts of poppies every year.And there is also a great abundance of Fentanyl from Phoenix AZ where it is manufactured. Plus, the drug companies are making so many tons of the oxy’s that they are readily available from doctors and on the street.
I have never seen so much psychic pain in so many people in my entire life as I see today in most of the people I observe. People who have few choices because so many things and systems are breaking down. I can understand why addictions to opioids are rising. Psychic pain is a prerequisite for addiction. I keep claiming that. My experience is one thing, the experience of an expert backs me up.
Stanton Peele’s work with addicted Vietnam soldiers is an important case in point. At the end of the Vietnam war, when all the soldiers were returning, the US government expected a heroin crisis as up to 25% of the soldiers used heroin in Vietnam. Peele, a pioneer in addiction studies who has stayed in the field for the last 50 years, helped set up clinics in expectation of the flood. Then, very little happened. an astounding number of vets, over 90%, just returned to their lives and never looked back. They explained that they needed it in Vietnam, it was so bad over there, heroin numbed them to the psychological pain. but at home, they never thought about it again. A 3 minute video made recently by Peele himself, now in his 80’s, explains:
I have observed all my life that there is a wealthy sub-class of people who believe in eugenics, even though they don’t call it that.This new opioid war is a major weapon in potentially clearing the earth of excess people. It targets people who are stressed and unhappy, then it lets a major killer class of drugs loose in greater quantities than has ever been imagined. I think it will be more effective than AIDS as a weapon of mass destruction going on in local communities everywhere.
Strangely, a statistic is emerging from all the states that have legalized cannabis, medical or general, that everywhere pot is in use, opioid addiction rates go down. I think that was a major factor in the $250k that the Phoenix manufacturer of fentanyl gave to the anti-legalization bill in Arizona this last election- and helped it lose narrowly.
It is true that pot has a major physical pain reliever in an ingredient called CBD that can be extracted from the plant if you do not wish to experience the psychoactive aspects of the plant. However, the other main active ingredient in pot, THC, is a mental stress reliever. It does not solve problems, but it allows one stress relief about them or even insight into how to deal with them. After some THC, many unimportant things go away and one feels more ready to deal with the rest of the day. At the end of the day a few puffs will allow a lot of aches and pains to be relaxed.
In fact, one does not have to smoke it or eat it any more. There is a way to extract all the active ingredients out of pot and make it into a liquid that vaporizes at a low temperature. Inhaling the vapor avoids the heat of burning in a pipe. One exhales a water vapor, not smoke. People who use the same flavors as used in nicotine vaporizers even disguise any slight odor. The vape pen the is about size of a regular pen.
So, I hope any ex-CSer who deigns to read my stuff can overcome the ‘moral superiority’ attitude about drug use that so many Christians have. The word drug is a charged word full of moral implications. Yet a drug is supposed to cure what ails you. If you have an infection, there are safe drugs for it. If you have heart failure, there are safe drugs for it, if you have pain there is a safe, natural drug for it, cannabis, which is not addicting, has not yet ever caused a death, when used alone, ever, ever. And it helps the psychic pains of living in untenable conditions. It is better than aspirin and works faster than advil or tylenol for any kind of headache. It works instantly.
Aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are the typical over the counter pain relievers. None of them is really very safe. New alarms are being raised about ALL over the counter pain relievers. Opioids aren’t safe. The only safe pain reliever is cannabis.