Chinese ami opium poster

Chinese ami opium poster

(3) Heroin causes serious physiological damage. As we noted earlier, there is no evidence lhal heroin causes organic damage. The prevailing medical opinion on the long-term physiological effects of heroin is that, unlike alcohol and the barbiturates, heroin itself is unrelated to any major medical condition. The hepatitis, malnutrition and other medical complaints common with heroin addicts are attributable to the lifestyle they lead in a society which has made their activity illegal..

(4) Heroin addiction makes regular work Impossible. The addict cannot contribute to society. The number of successful people in a variety of professions ranging from music to medicine who also happen to be heroin or morphine addicts disproves this. And prior to the criminalization of the heroin user, regular productive work was the rule rather than the exception. Indeed, the most telling argument used by lutn-of-lhe-century.._ physicians who advocated switching alcoholics to opiates was that while alcoholics had trouble holding down jobs, opiate addicts did not.. The simple truth of the matter is that heroin users who can support their habits out of their regular earnings have very few problems maintaining a steady employment record. Of course the typical junkie can never earn enough at the low-paying jobs available to him to make steady employment a feasible alternative to crime.

(5) Heroin addiction leads to crime. What promotes addict-related crime are the laws which drive up the price of heroin to levels which only a small percentage of addicts can raise by legitimate means. In other words, the cause of addict-related crime is not heroin but the laws which make it illegal..

(6) Heroin use leads to violent and antisocial behavior. Heroin and the other opiates tranquilize, rather than stimulate. The only violent behavior associated with heroin addiction are the rip-offs and muggings perpetrated by strung-out junkies trying to raise the price of a fix. Again, this is a product of the antidope laws and the resulting artificial inflation of drug prices, not of heroin.

METHADONE The old Germany gave us morphine and heroin; the Thousand-Year Reich gave us methadone, a synthetic opiate with actions similar to those of all the opiates and with similar properties. Developed during World War II as a substitute for morphine and heroin, it is analgesic ally slightly more potent than morphine. Twenty years before methadone maintenance became the vogue, the Public Health Service facility at Lexington, Kentucky, used it-under the name of dolophine-to gradually withdraw opiate addicts. And junkies used it to taper off, to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and as a substitute for morphine and heroin when these were in short supply.

Since 1970 methadone maintenance has cornered the bulk of hero in-treatment dollars. Its successful promotion is perhaps the best example of the power of double-think to emerge in our time. For apart from providing a rush and a high that most heroin users find considerably less attractive than those afforded by heroin, methadone has the same high addiction potential. . The former heroin addict simply becomes a methadone addict... The sole true advantage of methadone maintenance is that it provides legal addiction. The price the addict pays for this is accepting a less attractive addiction.

Heroin and methadone having an equal potential for addiction, why has the government accepted and promoted one and not the other? WeLL even prior to the first prohibition against the opiates, any number of treatments had been developed to cure opiate addiction and aLL of them failed. Addicts frequently stopped using opiates, but they managed this on their own. They still do. When they gel tired of the lifestyle or no longer feel the need for opiates, they give up their addiction with Utile trouble. But no one has ever had much success curing ihe addictions of those who have not reached ihis point... For example, drug-free programs such as Synanon and Odyssey House cure no more than five to ten percent of those admitted. And ihe inability to cure opiate addiction led to a cyo)e thai became known as the '"revolving door/" Users got arrested, convicted, sei*ved lime, came out and scored as soon as ihey got on the streets. Then they got busied again, served time, etc. By the eajjy 1960s even the dimmest government officials understood lhat the drug laws were not fulfilling their slated purpose of lowering the addiclion rale. Even less successfully., were they reducing addict-related crime. Methadone maintenance was sold as a treatment thai could accomplish this, one that would pul an end to the revolving-door cycle. As Vincent Dole, the developer of methadone maintenance, explained in Federal Probation, a law e n forcemen t journal:

'"More effective methods of dealing with the relapsing criminal addicts obviously were needed. The basic idea In ihe new approach was to develop a medical treatment to permit otherwise hopeless addicts to function as normal citizens in society. The immediate goal was to stop their criminal behavior."

The public wasn't lold that methadone maintenance simply substituted one addiction for another. The publicity dwelt, on the fact thai methadone was a medical treatment, one thai blocked the effects of heroin. With a dose of methadone in him, an addict had no desire for heroin, and even if he look some couldn't gel high and thus would stop going after the ilfegal stuff. Well, iroe, a large enough dose of methadone does indeed block most of the effects of heroin, just as a sufficiently large dose of Scotch makes it difficult, to appreciate the effects of a small, dose. But what made methadone maintenance work to the degree ii did-and it has never worked very well because most junkies want no part of it-was the simple fact that il was legal. You could be a junkie and noi have to worry about being busied and noi have to steal to gel money for drugs.

Of course it would have been much cheaper and immeasurably more successful lo give junkies legal, cheap heroin. But after 60 years of antiheroin propaganda, il wasn't likely lhat ihe public would buy ihe idea of giving heroin lo people. Moreover, in large enough doses-80 lo 100 milligrams-ihe effects of oral methadone persist some 24 hours, whereas ihe effects of heroin last only 4 to 6 hours. From the point of view of treatment facility personnel, therefore, methadone was a far more practical drug. Had they been willing to give their patients enough heroin to last them through the day, as the English do, it would have been just as easy as handing out methadone, but this would email a certain loss of control over ihe situation. People would be getting high when they wanted to and not when the appropriate authorities said they could. Then, too, if the junkies had more heroin than they needed for a single fix, they might sell, some of il on the outside, and that would never do. And there was also a feeling among the medical and social worker types who promoted methadone that giving addicts heroin, giving them want they wanted, would be rewarding ihem for being so sick and bad. So we got methadone, a drug in which a brisk sireei business is conducted outside every clinic in ihe country. We also got a new crop of junkies, methadone junkies. And there is as much heroin around as there ever was.

PHARMACEUTICALS Since the belated discovery that heroin was as addictive as any of the opiates, the search for a nonaddiciing narcotic has resulted in the development and marketing of dozens upon dozens of allegedly nonaddiciive analgesics. Meperidine (Demerol), a synthetic, and hydromorphone (Dilaudid), a semisynthetic derivative of morphine, are the most popular of the current prescription items which were originally hyped as nonaddictive. Meperidine is about 10 lo 20 percent as potent as morphine; hydromorphone is about twice as potent as

The addict becomes ¬°is oni: wiih the nbjucis which surround him. His cigarette, a fin^r, falls fri.m his hand."

|<ian C'jCtiiuU

heroin. Both have long been favorites with users who can persuade physicians to write the prescriptions. And meperidine, though it is far less potent in equal doses, seems to be the drug of choice among medical workers with a taste for opiates. Apparently, it acts faster ihan morphine or hydromorphone and has a relatively higher potency than either when taken orally.

With a single exception, all. the compounds originally promoted as nonaddiciing narcotics have a strong addiction potential. . A1J, trigger analgesia and euphoria, and tolerance is built, to them just as to the other opiates. The exception is propoxyphene napsylaie, otherwise known as Darvon. After Valium and Librium it is ihe most prescribed drug in the country. And while il isn't addicting, neither does it trigger analgesia or euphoria. Indeed, all. tests show that at best i(. is no more effective than aspirin and probably less so.

A FEW COMMENTS ON ADDICTION Drug addiction, or physical dependence on drugs, has been, and still! is, explained in various ways. Everyone agrees lhat physical dependence on drugs has at least two observable components: tolerance, ihe need lo take progressi vely larger doses lo achieve the same effect; and withdrawal, ., the physical symptoms of distress which manifest themselves when drug use is slopped. There is less agreement, however, on why some people become physically dependent on drugs and others do not.. Some say that il is a lack of will I power that leads lo addiction, othei-s thai adverse socio-economic conditions are lo blame, still, others lhat il is a combination of these factors, and some even claim that addiction is chiefly the result, of a biochemical imbalance which requires certain drugs, especially the opiates, to coiTect itself.

None of these theories is very satisfactory. The psychological theories can't explain why some successful, strongly motivated individuals become addicts. Nor' can the sociological theories explain why people living in the same circumstances as addicts and equally exposed lo drugs don't become addicts. And the biochemical theoreticians have never been able to produce any evidence whatever to demonstrate their propositions.

Underlying all these attempts to explain addiction, and all accepted thinking about addiction, is the

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