Drug addictions are often treatment nightmares. Whether alcohol, marijuana, heroine, or prescription drugs, it’s just common sense that if something feels good, why stop? Illness, injury, loss of family, loss of job, and death are often the results of abuse. You’d figure that a logical person would stop using if the results are so catastrophic. Sadly, for the addict, logic isn’t much help.
Does anything help?
Individual psychotherapy is only marginally effective. Religion is only marginally effective (Religious zealots who saw addiction as a sin and got prohibition passed, only got a lot of people killed and allowed organized crime to make a fortune). AA, NA, MA, OA, GA and all the other As are very helpful but certainly not perfect. Hospital programs and rehab programs can be helpful, because they get people clean and into 12 step programs. In the end, no specific treatment is easy and the path to abstinence is a tough one.
So what about stopping drugs at its source, like waging war on the cartels in Mexico? According to Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, fighting the cartels is only making it worse. He stated that in the last year, 500 people died of drug related issues while many thousands died in the war against the drug producers? He advocates legalizing drugs and stated that governments can’t control what people do. If a person is determined to use, that’s what he’ll do, no matter what the law says. President Fox feels that the job of governments is to keep people safe, not force them to do what the government dictates.
What’s the answer?
There isn’t a great one. As individual practitioners we can continue to educate our patients, get them into programs, treat the underlying depression and anxiety if they exist, and always be a voice of reason and a caring resource. Also, and I can’t emphasize this enough, never give up. Battling denial, omnipotence, and selfishness, the main defenses of addiction, are just as important as battling depression and anxiety. It’s what we were trained to do and what we do best.
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