Driving addicts to use really risky drugs.
Changing supply does little to change demand when it comes to drugs of abuse. Why? Because addiction is a chronic brain disease that changes the function and structure of the brain, and because people often use drugs to cope with painful emotions. Neither of these problems is cured by making drugs less available.
People aren’t going to stop using drugs because we change the formulation. They aren’t going to quit because we create harsher drug laws. So what will work? Put simply, the same solutions that apply to other chronic illnesses: prevention, education (of patients, physicians and the public), and long-term disease management.
Instead of criminalizing addiction, encouraging doctors to stop providing care to people who may be addicted to prescription drugs, and focusing the majority of our research and resources on new formulations, vaccines and pills to defeat people’s attempts to get high, we need to address the deeper issues at work in addiction.
While the assertion that addiction is a disease is a rather disproven one, the rest of the assessment is well worth the read.
Our government’s best efforts to stamp out prescription drug abuse are really little more than a striking testament to how little our political system (and even our medical system) grasps the fundamental nature of addiction.
A very wise man once stated that “When the range of available questions becomes limited, grasp of complex problems becomes simplistic.”
The problem is, that system refuses to even ask the most basic questions like, “Why do addicts use anyway?”
Sadly, considering all we have spent, the answer would have nothing to do with the availability of drugs…