We, at Changing Lives received the following “interesting” email recently. We thought it was “interesting” enough to post—along with Joe’s response—in the hope that some of you will also share your comments.
Although the writer does not let us know exactly what she is responding to, we assume it is to Joe’s comments on our blog post “Cocaine Vaccine Shows Promise in Mice. Promise for whom?” or "The effectiveness of Suboxone in the treatment of Opiate addiction."
You are criticizing people who provide methods of making society safer and provide opiate dependent people a chance to make positive changes in their lives because "someone" is making money? AND you are doing that while selling your book and your method? You need to do some research if you want to have credibility. You are exactly what you are criticizing. Open-mindedness is a sign of intelligence. Why don't you just stop spreading the hate? What are your credentials, the fact that you have been addicted to a substance. I have a few decades of sobriety and recovery too and I say " How many ways are there to the top of the mountain?" You do not hold the only answer. You do, however, hold a lot of judgment. It is not attractive to me.
A fellow traveler on the road of happy destiny
Dear Fellow Traveler,
Thank you for your email. I want to respond to a few things you mentioned. At the same time I do not expect us to agree on how best to confront the disease of drug dependency. You obviously have some strongly held opinions and so do I. Just the same—I don't want to just delete your email with no response. So here we go:
In your email you state:
"You are criticizing people who provide methods of making society safer and provide opiate dependent people a chance to make positive changes in their lives because "someone" is making money?"
Your above sentence makes me think of two commonly held ideas that the clinical/recovery world hold—and where I disagree. You are correct, I do criticize the idea of "harm reduction i.e. making society safer." This thought process, especially for opiate dependency, has proven to be a miserable failure.
The reason I say that is because harm reduction begins with the skewed belief that "some people" just can't quit. Hence we find another way to "help" them. This thought process first played out beginning with the Methadone clinics. Of late, this same skewed thinking has lead to the development of the drug Suboxone. Much research has been done on both—and both have proven to be miserable failures concerning long-term abstinence.
On my blog I post articles on this topic from credible resources. My personal belief is that ANYONE CAN QUIT ALL SUBSTANCE USE AND ABUSE if they want to—and by that I mean anyone. There are no unique cases that have ever been shown to be impossible—for the person who wants to quit.
So, yes I do not believe in harm reduction and I do not believe in giving addicts drugs to get off their drugs. The exception to this would be—during the detox phase, withdrawal period, some can benefit from short-term medication use (typically the first few weeks). As time passes in recovery some will continue to be depressed and some may benefit from taking an anti-depressant.
You also make the comment:
"Open-mindedness is a sign of intelligence. Why don't you just stop spreading the hate?"
Open-mindedness along with a thorough investigation of ideas is necessary to come to an informed decision on any subject. I have read hundreds of books on this topic and have sat through hundreds of hours of classroom training and am credentialed in addiction recovery. That—along with thirty-three years of personal recovery and counseling thousands of addicts and their families have brought me to the place I am now—concerning my beliefs. What I have found is that "open-mindedness" is not a true indicator of intelligence. There are many ideas about recovery from addiction to substances and some are, in my opinion, pretty strange (crap).
The "spreading hate" that you mentioned is correct. I do hate to see addicts and their families given false hope (being preyed upon by the small group of those who truly are just out to make $). The pharmaceutical world has helped many, many sick people get well and even found cures for some diseases. But once you open the door to the idea that some "just can't quit" you also open the door to usage of large numbers of drugs that sometimes/usually have little or no effect concerning recovery.
Do they temporarily relieve symptoms? Sure, but do they end the obsessive and compulsive drug use? No. The only thing that comes close to a permanent solution is "talk therapy." They don't make a pill or potion that will even come close to talk therapy. But these same pill and potion manufactures are making billions off of this disease.
My book sells for a whopping $19 (from our website). I would love to sell millions because I believe the information is valuable. Hundreds of my readers have sent emails and letters saying that this book helped them a great deal.
Lastly, you ask:
"How many ways are there to the top of the mountain?"
I live in the mountains and like to climb a little myself. And you are correct; there are usually a few, sometimes several, routes to the summit. The one that most people will tend to use though—is the one that has proven to be the safest. This is where you will find most people climbing (the route that works the best for the most). Great risk is involved in taking what appears to be a 'short cut.' Many lives have been lost looking for the easier softer way. Drug addiction is like that too I believe.
Thanks again for writing. Emails like yours make me really think about why I believe what I believe.
To read more on this topic:
"Suboxone: Concerns Behind the Miracle" ~by Steven R. Scanian, MD
Do you need help for your family now? Find out about affordable Phone Counseling.
MORE ASK JOE:
> Is a relapse—failure?
> If someone can stop using drugs or alcohol for weeks at a time, they “aren’t an addict—correct?
>Chronic Pain Management & Pain Pill Addiction: What to do?
>How can I know if my addicted friend or loved one is telling the truth?
>”I need help because I’m not able to deal with my live-in Fiance’s need to get drunk every night.”
>Should my husband “back off?”
>Gambling vs. Drug Addiction? What is your opinion?
>How can I tell if someone is an addict/alcoholic or just a heavy user?
>What is Methadone? What is Harm Reduction?
> Self-Tests: Codependence
> Self-Tests: Alcohol and Drug Addiction
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