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Massachusetts' real dope problem

This morning's Boston Herald had two stories that amazed me -- one that it actually happened in Massachusetts, the other that it happened at all.

First, in Arlington, a guy tried to rob a pharmacy. He pulled a gun and demanded OxyContin. The pharmacist instead decided the guy needed some lead supplements and pulled his own gun. Shots were exchanged, but no one was injured, and the would-be thief fled. And most amazingly, the pharmacist is NOT facing any charges for the normally-unforgivable offense of defending himself with his legally-registered firearm.

The second story really shouldn't have surprised me. Representative Peter Lynch, who represents part of Boston in Washington, has decided that it's time to ban OxyContin.

Apparently, because some people abuse the drug, it's time to take it away from everyone. I've never used it, nor met anyone who has (legitimately or otherwise), but the stories I've heard attribute almost-miraculous powers to it for those suffering from severe, chronic pain.

So, once again, we see the typical mindset of the Massachusetts liberal at work: because some people abuse something, we'll simply take it away from EVERYONE. The idea of just punishing the abusers is too harsh; it might hurt their feelings. Or it might be too hard. It's so much easier to just take it away entirely.

And if the only ones who will complain are the sick, the weak, the crippled, and the infirm, so much the better. They won't make too much noise.


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Comments (41)

Yes, it provides a very eff... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Yes, it provides a very effective medication to chronic pain. For people with broken bones or severe cancers and other major injuries, afflictions that are chronic (ongoing, sustained problems that are not relieved within a short term), the morphine equivalent can be near-miraculous.

However, there's a suggestion that OxyContin inspires a greater addictive response than does the generic equivalent (morphine sulfate or thereabouts). I don't know specifically as to any chemical differences, just saying, there's reason to suspect that there is some difference in the OxyContin and the generic eqivalents available, which are not quite so inspirational of addiction as is OxyContin.

And, not everyone has an addictive response to drugs of any kind. It's really a phenomenon of central nervous system physiology by some, not consistently shared by all humans. Don't forget that many people abuse OxyContin by modifying the prescribed dose (the crush the pills and snort them or mix them crushed in liquid and drink that or otherwise increase their dosage beyond what is prescribed, all of which can distort a person's capacity for self awareness).

But, yes (tangent, there ^^... (Below threshold)
-S-:

But, yes (tangent, there ^^), it's typical of liberals to suggest banning ALL use of this drug, particularly when it's so effective for chronic pain that can't be managed otherwise.

Until you've experienced broken vertebrae and similar and still have a functioning spinal chord, you just have no idea how terrible some impairments can be.

Sorry, should be, THEY have... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Sorry, should be, THEY have no idea, not you, Jay Tea, specifically (used the "you" in the universal sense).

It's Stephen Lynch. Former ... (Below threshold)

It's Stephen Lynch. Former ironworker and labor union boss.

The doctors prescribed the ... (Below threshold)

The doctors prescribed the generic version of OxyContin for me when I had foot surgery. It eased the pain, but unfortunately I tend to react oddly to many pain medications, resulting in cold and flulike symptoms. I took two and the bottle still sits in our medicine cabinet, next to the bottle of "something with Codeine" syrup my wife was prescribed by a doctor (also mostly unused)

It's a very useful pain medication as long as you aren't a mutant like me. Banning seems like typical Liberal overkill. But...are these the same people that want marijuana and other illegal drugs made legal?

Thank you for pointing out ... (Below threshold)

Thank you for pointing out the obvious Jay. The interesting part about Peter Lynch's position is that he's not the only moron that thinks that way. A great example is the extreme position of the Patriot Act. As long as people allow fear, greed and sloth dictate their decisions we will get pure stupidity leading this country into a mire of absurdity.

Compare and contrast to the... (Below threshold)

Compare and contrast to the future "unforeseen consequences" of putting cold remedies behind the counter because lawbreakers will use them to make methamphetamines.

Will it stop the unlawful from making meth? Or will it force them to gunpoint confrontations to get their Sudafed?

Is this post really about l... (Below threshold)
Noumenon:

Is this post really about legalizing marijuana? It has those painkiller effects too... Stephen Lynch's action really looks like a microcosm of the war on drugs. Call it liberal or conservative, it's still a bad idea.

Well, it shows how much the... (Below threshold)
meep:

Well, it shows how much the "war against drugs" will addict any politician.

I've got relatives who take OxyContin for chronic pain related to back injuries. I'm sure they'd be happy to know some federal politician is trying to protect them from themselves.

On a side note, I found the... (Below threshold)
LJD:

On a side note, I found the local news reporting on this subject interesting. They somehow twisted the firing of a gun by the Pharmacist, and twice by the criminal, as reason for gun control.
Had the pharmacist not had a weapon, and known how to use it, he could have been lying dead on the floor, among many other victims of a stupid criminal in a Oxy-Contin induced haze.
Meanwhile "Mustang Sally" is back in school. The boys she serviced are expelled, and two face criminal charges.
Massachusetts is way out of hand with their freaky liberal philosphy.

The active ingredient in Ox... (Below threshold)
kevino:

The active ingredient in Oxycontin is Oxycodone, basically a synthetic morphine. Oxycodone is available in a vartiety of other medications (e.g. Percocet and Percodan). The advantage of Oxycontin over other preparations is that they put a lot more Oxycodone in a time-released form. The good news is that patients don't have to take a pill every three to four hours. A typical dose is every twelve hours. The bad news is that there is so much Oxycodone, people can crush it and ingest the Oxycodone all at once. That's what makes it so attractive to substance abusers.

If we ban the substance, people will continue to abuse Oxycodone, but they will have to acquire larger quantities of pills. It will also mean that patients in pain will have to acquire more pills and swallow them.

However, while I hate to ban these things, the OxyContin craze has gotten WAY out of hand. A few years ago it swept through the drug scene up here in the NE big time, and interest in the drug shows no signs of stopping. The last I looked, the DEA's estimate was 30-40% of the pills that were manufactured were being used illegally. That's crazy. And I don't think it will be banned because it is a favorite drug used by celebrities who are addicts.

I can't render an objective view on this subject. Over the past few years I've talked to too many people who are addicted to OxyContin. Most of them made to switch to a cheaper substitute: heroin.

What? No Rush Limbaugh joke... (Below threshold)
Scott H:

What? No Rush Limbaugh jokes?

Seriously, there are two issues here. The first is whether or not the state should ban drugs that are abused for recreational purposes. As a small government conservative, I feel the answer is a strong NO.

However, all drug abuse does impose costs on society. These can be health-related, such as with tobacco, or they can be tragic such as when a DUI driver hits and kills someone. So the second question is: "How should society pay for these costs?"

Well for those"tragic" costs, I feel the current criminal law would deal with that. DUI is a crime, not drinking. Beating your wife while drunk is a crime, not getting drunk. So as a small government conservative I feel we should punish the "tragic" action (which is also why hate crimes have never made sense to me).

The deeper issue is how we deal with the health costs. And that is a subject for another day.

Scott

Jay Tea, You have such a gr... (Below threshold)
Zsa Zsa:

Jay Tea, You have such a great mind! I really love the way you think! You really should go into politics! I would vote for you!...

"So, once again, we ... (Below threshold)
Fran:


"So, once again, we see the typical mindset of the Massachusetts liberal at work: because some people abuse something, we'll simply take it away from EVERYONE."

I would suggest that it's not just the liberal democrats who interfere with your rights. I know of a couple of states that would like to the Federal Govt to butt out.

The lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft was brought in 2002 by Angel Raich, who has an inoperable brain tumor, and Diane Monson, who suffers from chronic back pain. After running out of more traditional options, their doctors recommended marijuana.
California is one of 11 states that have legalized the medical use of marijuana. The others are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
http://www.susanives.com/columns/dec0504.html

One manifestation of that movement is the effort by citizens, either through their state legislatures or through state referenda, to restore their rights to use marihuana for medical purposes, including their rights to seek medical advice and direction concerning such use, free from federal government interference. Because federal officials have lately claimed a power to prohibit the exercise of such rights, we have a looming constitutional crisis on this issue.
http://www.cato.org/testimony/ct-rp100197.html

It's only a problem when your ox is the one getting gored.


Fran,While I agree... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Fran,

While I agree with you on the War on Drugs issue, your argument is way off the mark.

The CATO testimony correctly references Federalism and the Commerce Clause relative to US v. Lopez. That is the key issue.

There is no right to use marihuana for medical purposes.

You certainly have the right to seek medical advice, but Federal and State government has a responsibility to protect public safety by enacting laws to regulate the practice of medicine. For example, doctors are prohibited from prescribing medications through the normal process that are not approved as safe and effective by the FDA.

Yes, there is a "looming constitutional crisis on this issue," but the issues are Federalism (e.g. Commerce Clause and the 10th Amendment) and the errosion of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment protections.

What? No Rush Limbaugh j... (Below threshold)

What? No Rush Limbaugh jokes?

I'm surprised too. Where are Minnie and the rest?

All I can say is don't worr... (Below threshold)

All I can say is don't worry Rush, you'll still have eating to fill that gigantic empty void called your soul (and your belly for that matter). He'll learn what most people have learned already about the war on drugs. Fuck regulatory morons and do the drugs anyway, just don't do them in public and you'll be straight.

I add to Kevino's comments,... (Below threshold)
jumbo:

I add to Kevino's comments, above. I've investigated and prosecuted drug crimes for almost 25 years, and have familiarity with OxyContin use and abuse.

Oxycodone (Percodan, etc.) isa fairly strong semi-synthetic opioid, with by-mouth analegesic properties much stronger than codeine (Tylenol III, e.g.), somewhat stronger than hydrocodone (Lortab, etc.), but not as powerful as hydromorphone (Dilaudid, etc.), morphine (MSContin, Kadian, etc.) or methadone (Palladone, etc.). It's not as powerful as IV meperidine (Demerol, etc.), is left in the dust by IV morphine and fentanyl (Sublimaze, etc.), and is not even in the same universe as heroin. The point is, there are many, many more powerful opioids. So what is the deal about OxyContin?

Some years ago Purdu Pharma came up with a process, essentially a coating for tablets, which would act as a time release, allowing some of the drug to be released in a controlled way at different times. So Purdu formulated OxyContin as nothing more than a long-lasting version of Percodan. But in a tablet meant to last 12 hours instead of four, there had to be three times more of the drug in the tablet.

It was meant for serious pain, either acute or chronic, where long-lasting reliable relief was needed. Oxy was even touted it for cancer-pain treatment, which is considered the most severe.

Purdu knew they were sitting on a gold mine and could charge zillions fore their then-unique product. Thye pushed Oxy VERY hard with dotors, whether thay were pain specialists or not. Junkets, "seminars" in Tahoe, Aspen, etc. A lot of money went into promotion. Soon many general practioners were holding themselves out as "pain doctors" even though they had no particular specialized treining. Every state had more than a few unscrupulous "writing dcotors" who would charge hefty office visits for prescribing OxyContin on request. The growing stigma attached to prescribing OxyCodone even led some genuine pain specialists to stop prescribing it, and write for substitute drugs just as effective.

Demand on the street was high, because users could get a high similar to heroin, and even a "rush" if they were crazy enough to inject the dissolved tabs. In the early days of OxyContin, abusers learned quickly that all they needed to do to defeat the time-release mechanism was to scrape off an outer coating, crush the tablet and then sniff it, or mix with water and inject. Because it was a large dose, the effects were more intense. Oxy on the street was generally $2 to even $4 a milligram (Oxy came, as I recall, in 30mg, 60mg, and 120mg, and at one time even came in something like 180mg or even 240mg.), so it was high $ drug.

Abusers tended to be white, often suburban. In my state it was not uncommon for kids of prominent, affluent folks to be addicted, or to have even died from overdose of Oxy which had prescribed by one of a few "writers" who were well known in the dope community. So it got attention. Purdu became a victim of its own hardsell marketing and high profile, and even governers od states lashed out at Purdu and OxyCOntin. I'm afraid those political attacks, as in Massachusetts now, were more cynical politcal gambits than anything else.

Becasue of the uproar, about three years ago Purdu changed their time-rlease mechanism to one that is much more difficult to defeat, and engineered it so that in some cases attempts to go around the time-release result in the destruction of the oxycodone itself. Now time-relaese for pain meds is very common.

Sorry about such a long and tedious post. The bottom line is OxyContin is a valuable and effective drug, needed by many in severe, chronic pain. And that comes from a man who has put people in prison for illegally distributing it. In my opinion the Massachusetts ploy is emblematic of the leftist wont to deny a useful and legal thing to all becasue of its misuse buy a few.

BTW, FWIW, with all the heart-damage news about Vioxx, etc., I want to correct a continuing msm error. Vioxx and similar drugs ARE NOT "PAINKILLERS", as I see written in every news article I read about them. They are ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES. They merely work to "shrink" inflaaed tissue in joints. That is how they provide some measure of relief. THEY ARE NOT "ANALGESICS". Thay don't "cover" he pain, make you feel good or euphoric like true "pain medicene" can, which are opioids.

I hear some people abuse th... (Below threshold)

I hear some people abuse the power to tax and regulate, too. Hey, I've got an idea . . .

"And if the only ones who w... (Below threshold)
leelu:

"And if the only ones who will complain are the sick, the weak, the crippled, and the infirm, so much the better. They won't make too much noise."

Especially after they've been startved for a week or two.

I ummmm don't know if you w... (Below threshold)

I ummmm don't know if you will believe this, but Steve Lynch is regarded as a conservative democrat here in Massachusetts. He is surely the most conservative member of the delegation, but you could say the same about the Maoist on the Berkeley CA City Council.

jumbo:Thanks for p... (Below threshold)
kevino:

jumbo:

Thanks for posting your comment. Your history of the drug is, of course, 100% right.

If you have 25 years in this area, then you are tougher than I. I don't deal with this mess all the time, and I'm not sure that I could. Its pitiful.

Prosecuting people has got to be tough, but you've probably saved a lot of lives. We need a lot more money for treatment -- for the ones that really want to quit. For a lot of others, their lives just spin out of control until they get caught or they die.

Good luck to you.

wavemaker:You're c... (Below threshold)
kevino:

wavemaker:

You're correct that Steve Lynch is a fairly conservative MA democrat, meaning he's not a complete communist. He's also, I think, from South Boston. Many readers won't know that South Boston has had one of the worst open-air drug markets for opiats. They appear to be making an effort to clean it up, to reclaim the area in his district.

Thanks for commenting at my... (Below threshold)

Thanks for commenting at my post, Jay. And I did the same to you, glancing quickly and thinking you were referencing the Massachusetts attempt to ban, not the national one.

But I continue to believe that OxyContin is a drug that is a)easy to abuse, b)overused by MD's and c)replaceable if banned.

(lady in green sweater) "co... (Below threshold)
zach:

(lady in green sweater) "come everybody, we have to get these penguins away from Paris Hilton"

http://www.howdoyoulikemyface.com/2005_05_01_hdylmf_archive.html#111539811612788909

So, given the way Teddy abu... (Below threshold)

So, given the way Teddy abuses Chivas, how long before Lynch calls for a ban against it?

Massachusetts' real dope... (Below threshold)

Massachusetts' real dope problem

Hey, am I the only one who saw that title on this post and thought, "...is that so many of them vote"?

"Prosecuting people has got... (Below threshold)
jumbo:

"Prosecuting people has got to be tough..."

Kevino, I'm so burned out I'm crispy. You obviously know a bunch about this situation. Oxy is really not a problem in my area compared to that old standby, crack, and the new one, meth. It seems I now spend my life making sure, at the risk of losing my law license if I fail, that the American criminal justice system is double extra primo "fair" to Mexican and Guatemalan illegal aliens who are caught transporting and distributing crystal meth in lots as big as 100 pounds. There has never been ONE in my experience who hasn't claimed a need for an interpreter, too. Simply unbelievable amounts of money, time and energy are spent on persons who in their own countries would be summarily imprisoned for crimes.

FWIW, the greatest criminal justice problem this country has, bar none, is the fact that it has absolutely NO border control, no policy about controlling its borders, and no intention of creating a policy which secures those borders. The new Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (made from the old INS and Customs) is an abject failure.

As to pain drugs, I have tremendous sympathy for folks who are in very real, chronic pain, and there are far more than we know. Chronic pain is like a huge weight on these people's shoulders, crushing them down into mental, enotional and physical exhaustion.

I even sympathize with addicts. ((Legitimate users of opioids are NOT addicts, even if they are so dependent they cannot go a day w/o their drug;) Addicts are those persons who had no medical reason to begin taking it, wanting the rush or the high of euphoria.) Even they have my pity for how hard it is to be addcited once a drug rules your life. They don't get high anymore, they just try not to gte "dope sick".

Finally, I'm not for legalization of marijuana, but it is indisputable that there are valid medical uses for it, and sometimes it is far and away the most effective drug for problems like nausea and loss of appetite in chemo patients.

I don't know if there's any... (Below threshold)
goddessoftheclassroom:

I don't know if there's any test a person can take to see if he's predisposed to addiction. However, after shattering my radius three years ago, OxyContin got me through the first two weeks. I took it EXACTLY twelve hours apart (and I mean to the second) because I was aware of its potency.

It's too important to those who really need it to ban it.

Jumbo:Wow. Where ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Jumbo:

Wow. Where do I start? You are so right.

Demand for drugs has created some innovative new ways to use. Crack is huge in some parts of Boston, and it turned people who couldn't imagine it into addicts. Whole neighborhoods have been destroyed. For the life of me I can't imagine the twisted mind that thought up crack. I, personally, have not had the pleasure of speed users, but I've seen the interest in it growing for some time. Oxy is big: it hit the country in a wave. Not like crack, but still big. And there has been one other development in recent years: relatively inexpensive heroin that is very pure.

RE: Lack of border control and chronic pain
I agree 100%.

RE: Sympathy for addicts
Yeah, I kind of figured you did.

RE: Legalization of medical marijuana
I really don't have an opinion. As a libertarian I'd like to legalize or at least decriminalize weed. If people find that THC is useful, there has got to be a safer delivery system than smoking all that tar and other residue. I've never been interested in using drugs myself, but I'd still legalize it for constitutional reasons stated earlier.

RE: Burnout
I hope that you can look back on the successes. I'm sure you've had a quite a few. There are probably people walking around who wouldn't be breathing if it wasn't for the work you did. And some of them may be talking to other people who are trying to put their lives back together. That's tremendous.

And let's face it: here are times that you have to be tough. They have to prove to you that they really want to quit. If they don't, then bad things happen. A lot of them are working on recovery programs to stay out of jail or get their kids back. I've seen it work -- occasionally. If so, it's worth it.

People do amazing things to themselves, and many of them get that way because of things that you can't fix. Some of them hate themselves so much they try to block out the world, and for others the world doesn't look right unless they're high. You can't do anything about that: they have to want to do it themselves. By showing them that "their lives are out of control," that's a start.

Take care of yourself.

As Jumbo points out here, a... (Below threshold)
-S-:

As Jumbo points out here, and as I was mentioning earlier, this thread, there is a difference in individual human response to some prescribed medications, and OxyContin specifically.

That is, again, not everyone who takes this drug (and/or the generic equivalent, since OxyContin is the brand name of a medicaition, not the medication itself -- a title, a brand name by a manufacturer) responds by the establishment of a compulsion to up the amount, a psychological response that insists on maintaining the drug intake despite the cessation of symptoms otherwise (the psychology becomes the symptom, not based in other physiology or malaise, and there is a compulsion to increase the quantity of the drug over time to reap a satisfying result -- that's an addictive response and it's abnormal).

Unfortunately, also as Jumbo points out, as do others, people who have these addictions also tend to congregate in certain areas and people responsible for certain social order find themselves literally immersed in an abnormal environment where the addicted outnumber the normal/the non addicted personalities. It can lead to a wrongful perception about "all" human behavior related to this, or any other drug, because not ALL humans respond to ALL medications/drugs with an addicted change in their central nervous system that defies normal psychology.

Massachusetts (Boston area specifically), Manhattan and other areas of N.Y., New Jersey, generally the larger urban areas in the country are where those with addictions can more easily find what they want so they congregate in those areas (d'oh), to state the obvious. For people studying those areas, it can appear that there are vast percentages of humanity who are addicted (to whatever) but it's just that there are higer concentrations in certain areas OF those with addictions, not that there are higher numbers among humanity who are addicted (to whatever).

About VIOXX, yes, it results in a certain type of "anti inflammatory" result but the method inspired is what's the problem...it has a negative affect upon cardiovascular function (as do opiates) (and as do other medications, so best to discuss in specifics with a doctor who'se willing and able to explain your questions)...and as with any medication that alters the immune function, you stand to lose certain fitness function with any benefit. It's a trade off. Unfortunately, where the cardiovascular function is concerned, many people don't realize the tradeoff they've made until they drop dead due to heart failure.

When you alter a normal autoimmune response, you may experience a benefit of one kind but you also stand to suffer negative consequences for doing so, as with what VIOXX (and others) delivers.

With opiates, you get great pain relief but you also suppress your cardiovascular rate.

On another note, someone resorting to injecting heroin (someone mentions that) because they can't obtain OxyContin is not the normal user of anything, much less OxyContin/opiates. Again, it's a case of abnormal response to a medication among the human population: some will, most won't respond that way.

All said and done, these is... (Below threshold)
-S-:

All said and done, these issues emphasize to me how important it is to instruct children throughout their younger years in physical fitness and sports activities. Such that, they don't grow to adult years, take construction jobs (or whatever) and fall victim to the influences of abnormal psychology by some they'll find themselves interacting with, that suggests (sometimes, insists) that drugs and substance use is something to do.

As in, most people with a good sense of physical fitness will abandon the suggestion. Steroids included, but that takes also education because a lot of hapless younger people get into steroid abuse out of sheer lack of information and absent parental intervention or relatioship otherwise.

Same problem carries forward into later years because without a concept of physical fitness earlier, you grow into a 'drug reliant' person. Pain and chronic pain management is a different thing altogether, however.

"Such that, they don't grow... (Below threshold)
jumbo:

"Such that, they don't grow to adult years, take construction jobs (or whatever) and fall victim to the influences of abnormal psychology by some they'll find themselves interacting with, that suggests (sometimes, insists) that drugs and substance use is something to do."

Pardon me, but WTF? Let's overlook what I see as a complete lack of any causal connection between education, copnstruction jobs and drug abuse, and go to the thrust of your remarks. I'm not sure I understand what you're saying about a connection between fitness and potential for drug abuse. If you mean that fitness is an indicator of immunity to addiction or abuse, I absolutely disagree. If you're saying that fitness is a preventative against injury and subsequent pain which might lead to drug dependence or abuse, I also disagree. While regular exercise might work to keep joints strong, mobile and healthy, it can also just as easily damage them or result in inuury.

Physical fitness has many benefits, but providing a bulwark against drug abuse or addiction is not one that I see.

jumboKudos to your... (Below threshold)

jumbo

Kudos to your years long dedication. I've worked at a DA office for only 7 years (not a lawyer) I'd say about 1/3 of our misdemeanors are drug related and way too many of our felonies.

Drug of choice in my neck of So. Cal is meth. Way easy to cook...and the Mexican mafia controls all "imported" drugs and they take a very dim view of poachers... they control a lot of the gangs and just go out and execute anyone that deals in their turf.

Jumbo, relax, I was merely ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Jumbo, relax, I was merely referring to the importance of awareness about physical fitness, opportunities to learn about fitness, and thus, to be fit...from childhood on.

A lot of adults enter the labor force and resort to helps via substances. And not through fitness programs.

That's all I was mentioning: the importance of education about the importance of physical fitness...start young with sports and people tend to stick with some level of physical fitness instead of sitting in a chair watching sports later. That's all.

A lot of children feel excluded from sports when younger when they don't qualify for team sports and that's a problem. Needs to be more emphasis on individual sports activities at whatever level of capability anyone/everyone has, and not so muchh on teams (that exclude the less fit, etc.).

I'm not speaking out against team sports (not at all, by any means) just saying that the individuals when young who aren't team material can still be encouraged to learn and participate as they can in some form of physical activity.

Me mentioning "construction jobs" and the like was just referring to rougher types of employment (nothing wrong with it) that some get involved with that taxes them physcially moreso than a desk job, and from whence SOME people seek out substance helpers (greater physical requirements). Although, yes, I realize that a lot of desk workers are substance abusers, too (perhaps greater numbers of them).

It was just an example, that's all, not a characteristic, certainly not a description as to any negative characteristic.

Physical fitness is conduci... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Physical fitness is conducive to greater self esteem. You feel good about yourself, you're less likely to get involved in "compensatory" helper substances. That's the point of encouraging physical fitness among any population. People are healthier, feel better about themselves, are more likely to decline influences that they feel are detrimental to their wellbeing (substances among those), and be far less likely to be influenced into negative behaviors by peers.

-S-:I don't think ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

-S-:

I don't think you understand the psychology of the problem. Your comment about self-esteem is close. It is frequently very difficult to get addicts to value themselves or to see a future for themselves. For example, this is particularly true for patients who are HIV positive.

I'm sure physical fitness is your thing. That's great.

A lot of alcoholics and addicts were made in childhood, And the causes involve a whole host of hideous events, some accidental, some not.

Hey, guys, I've got to move... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Hey, guys, I've got to move, but I think that some are missing the point about the Oxycontin proposal. Let me repeat: I'm not advocating or supporting the proposed ban, but I think that it is important for people to understand the reasoning. I'll try:

1. The active ingredient in Oxycontin is Oxycodone.
2. Oxycodone is available in a vartiety of other medications.
3. Oxycontin far contains more Oxycodone than the other medications, but it is time released.
4. If Oxycontin was banned, pain sufferers would have to take more pills to get the same dosage of Oxycodone (e.g. every 3/4 hours instead of every 12). That's an inconvenience.
5. Assuming that Oxycodone levels are maintained the same over time, the level of pain relief should be the same over time.
6. Oxycontin is easily abused: people grind up a tablet and snort it to get all of the Oxycodone at once.
7. If Oxycontin is banned, drug abusers will have to grind up and snort several (larger, in my experience) pills. This is makes it much more difficult to get the rush.
8. Other Oxycodone medications being abused and will continue to be abused.
9. It is not uncommon for someone who is addicted to Oxycodone to swallow a variety of products to maintain adequate levels of Oxycodone to avoid withdrawl symptoms, and save their Oxycontin for snorting.

Bottom line: Oxycontin, when it is properly prescribed and properly used, is safe and effective. However, it is a compact package for a large dose of Oxycodone. As such, it can be easily abused in ways that other Oxycodone products cannot.

kevino, SWhile psy... (Below threshold)

kevino, S

While psychology plays a part in addiction, there is a huge physiological component.

Some people's brains are much more receptive to chemical addiction and even that first drink or hit will immediately fire them down the addict path.

This is why there is such a high recidivism even with established 12 step programs, because they only work one side of the equation.

My husband works for a fairly young company that takes the medical approach and is treating the brain. They are getting amazing results because such treatment wipes out the cravings at the source allowing counseling/therapy to proceed without that chemical monkey on the addicts back interfering with recovery.

"Nice parade and all but I ... (Below threshold)
Lasting Magic:

"Nice parade and all but I sure do hope the elephant is in front of us and not in the rear."

Darleen,Sorry I ha... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Darleen,

Sorry I haven't got back to blogs in a while.

Yes, there is a biochemical side to this. Not only is it chemical, I see a genetic predisposition toward alcoholism and addiction. I hope that your husband's company can do something to help. That would be great.

However, a lot of the people that I see have really bad parenting, bad childhood experiences, or trauma the occurs in early adulthood. Recovery fails because the underlying problem cannot be addresses unless they stop using, but while your trying to get them to stop using, the underlying problem is causing pain. And frequently these people have no insurance or economic resources to get any kind of help.

Good luck to your husband's company.




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