Monday, November 28, 2005

Is Addiction Real?

Bill Quick at The Daily Pundit has posted my latest article on the subject of addiction. Bill also has a link to this related article at LGF. I will post the full article that Bill has put up later today or early tomorrow.

And thanks Bill for the exposure.


Is addiction real? A very interesting question.I think there is an answer to that question. Obviously I think the answer is not in the affirmative. Why? Well there in lies a tale.

For me it started with Dr. Lonnie Shavelson. In July of 2001 I read a review of his book "Hooked" and learned some things. One of the things I learned was that in his sample of female heroin users 70% were sexually molested before they started heroin use. He also found that male heroin users were 25 to 50 times more likely to have been sexually abused than the general population. I wrote an article on the subject. Heroin. What I suggested in that article was that a large number of heroin users were taking the drug for relief from severe PTSD.

The next piece of the puzzle came to me in November of 2002 when I read this report done on the CB1 receptor in mice. A cannabinoid receptor also found in human brains. The report showed that fear memories which seem to be mediated by the CB1 receptors decay at different rates depending on genetics. I wrote this review of that report: Addiction or Self Medication? What I figured out from the report is that the reason drugs are addictive (long term use) for some and not others was based on genetics. A very big key to the puzzle of addiction. In the past the fact that some get addicted and others do not was ascribed to the "addictive personality". Now no one could tell you what an addictive personality was. It couldn't be defined. So in fact it was mumbo jumbo. I now had another piece of the puzzle. However twin studies showed that genetics only accounted for 50% of the cause for addiction. What was the other 50%? Pretty obvious from Dr. Shavelson's report. Trauma.

Well that lead me to look deeper into the genetics aspect. I wrote an article Genetic Discrimination which goes into some of the genes involved in tobacco addiction and marijuana addiction. It turns out that the genes involved in tobacco addiction vary by race. It also turns out that some people do not produce enough cannabinoids to feel normal. Again the idea that genetics only accounts for 50% of addiction (in this case to pot) comes up.

Looking further into the opiate question I looked into endorphins, the body's natural heroin, and how the body produces them. Sex, food, and exercise. And of course we know about sex junkis, food junkies, and even exercise junkies.I wrote about that in an article called Big Mac Heroin Attack.

What about stimulants? Stimulants seem to work well for people with ADD/ADHD problems. Of course this has got the pharma folks in full hue and cry mode against street drugs.

The War On Unpatented Drugs

To sum up:
1. We now kow that severe PTSD may be the cause of 70% or more of heroin use.
2. We know that there is a genetic connection.
3. We know there is a trauma connection.
4. We know that stimulants treat a different class of problems than opiates

What I have done is come up with a hypothesis that fits the facts. Why some people and not others are susceptable to addiction (as opposed to habituation which we know how to treat: Detox). Surprisingly this is a Well Known Secret in some segments of the medical community.

What we do not know is the true extent of the problem. Exactly how much of what we call addiction is due trauma/genetics? We don't know the answer because the problem is not being studied in any systematic way. We have the most information on pot/PTSD and stimulants/ADD-ADHD. A very few studies on opiates. Most studies so far have been anecdotal rather than statistical. The reason in my opinion is that there is no research money out there to make a statistical study of the self medication hypothesis. Such studies would be very expensive if they included DNA work ups and extensive interviews.

Self medication appears to be a very lage part of our "addiction" problem. In fact we may not even have an addiction problem. What we may have is seriously undertreated population with various mental problems caused by imbalances in the brain.

What is needed is more research. The only way we will get that any time soon is to pressure the government.Obviously the drug companies have no interest in finding out what addiction is because it will impact their bottom line if people take drugs for Problem Solving. In fact there are a lot of actors in this farce who would stand to lose big if such a study showed what I expect it might. The only folks to be benefitted would be "addicts". And they don't have much of a lobby in Washington.

I have also written about soldiers/police and PTSD here:

The Soldiers Disease
A test for PTSD
Police and PTSD

And if you go to my sidebar I have lots of other links to articles on the subject.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Cut and Run

Nothing wrong with cut and run. Our enemies will see to that.

If cut and run emboldens them we may very well wind up with a nuke war with a Dem in office. A rather high price for electoral victory. The Dems will deserve it.

Who could see in 1936 that a small short war with Germany at the cost of 10,000 lives would save millions? Are we in the same position now? Unfortunately there is only one way to find out.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Pot for asthma

Medical reseach done in 1975 shows that pot can be valuable for asthma.

Instapundit suggests that in case of clogged lungs caused by the H5N1 flu virus, inhaled steroids such as those used for asthma might be helpful.

Pot seems to do the job and is much safer. Especially in the case of children, why would we even consider dangerous drugs like steroids?

Friday, November 11, 2005

It Is All About Enforcement

Over at Jane Galt's there is a discussion of abortion going on. [hat tip Instapundit.] I have left a few comments which I repeat here:

If abortion becomes against the law the law will need to be enforced.

If our drug laws are any indication we will need a Pregnancy Enforcement Administration. The PEA. The PEA brains will need to have enforcers and snitches and the whole repressive apparatus for control.

And instead of 20,000 or so murder investigations a year we will have to have 200,000 murder investigations. And prisons. And guards. etc.

All this for a practice that is at least 2,500 years old.

Now perhaps, despite 2,500 years of moral opprobrium, it is possible that a practice of such long standing has some value to humans. Like drugs for instance.

And of course every miscarriage will need a murder investigation.

And women will need to be watched for tell tale signs of pregnancy.

And how about those anonymous tip lines. Great for those who have a grudge. Accusations will need to be followed up. The woman in question will need to go to a government certified lab for inspectiion.

Well if that is the way it is going to be - I want to be Chief Inspector. For the right consideration, I'm sure the charges can be dropped as unfounded or at least inconclusive.

And don't forget the problem of fetal alcohol syndrome. Perhaps alcohol prohibition for women ages 10 to 60 is in order. FAS is a serious problem and requires a serious solution.

It is obvious that we do not have enough secret police (undercover operatives) in America.

I am going to love the "tender breast" road side check - preliminay signs of a possible pregnancy.

Or perhaps we can have trained dogs who will sniff (up close and personal) and alert if there is the right smell. My dog is going to alert not only for the correct smells but also when I give the secret hand sign.

In the PEA our best operatives will be certified as VIPs. Vagina Inspection Police.

The possibilities are endless.

If we are really serious women will need to be government pregnancy checked every week. Maybe daily.

Suppose we do it weekly. Suppose doing the test costs $25. And say there are about 100 million women who between 10 and 60.

For a cost of only about $130 billion a year we can eliminate abortion. Given the usual mark up and administration requirements say $250 billion. For only a quarter trillion a year we can eliminate at least 99% of all abortions.

Every woman in America will need to become enrolled in the PEA database. Periods will need to be charted. Sex partners tracked. Those PEA brains think of everything.

Of course the women will need to be watched giving samples and video taped to make sure the watchers aren't getting frisky. Or helping too much.

I think a big market might open up for "hair stylists". To make sure the videos look good. And the feminine hygyne product lobby will certainly be a supporter once they understand the possibilities.

And if some of the tapes make the 'net? No problem. There is no right to privacy. Especially from the government.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Is Europe Burning?

Paris is burning More Paris is burning.

Denmark is burning.

Yourish has links to burnings in the Netherlands, England, Denmark, and threats in Australia.

So far France has been at it for seven days with no end in sight. The cabinent ministers are not united on a course of action. The Minister of Peace and Harmony was especially adamant that understanding and tolerance was the only way forward.

As some one has pointed out, what is needed is "a wiff of grape". What will be offered instead is a glass of vin ordinaire.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The State of Reconstruction

Andrew Sullivan is moaning about the state of the reconstruction in Iraq. He refers to this New York Times piece on how the reconstruction is going. Here is my answer to Andrew and the NYT piece:

Wars are expensive, money is often ill spent, no plan survives contact with the enemy.

Before a rebuilding plan can be initiated surveys need to be done of requirements. Not having a plan is not the same as the inability to plan. TBD (To Be Determined) is not dishonorable or a sign of incompetence.

When you are in a rush mistakes will be made.

And only $30 bn on rebuilding? Cheap so far. And 2/3s of the projects completed? If projects are proportionate to dollars that says $15 bn will be needed to finish. About 5% of the yearly Congressional pork budget. Certainly there is a bridge or two we can cut to make up the difference.

Repeated changes of priority costing time and money? Didn't any one tell Glanz [the NYT reporter - ed.] that there is a war going on?

Prices for building materials going up because of increased demand? Isn't that a sign that a lot of building is going on? Isn't that good?

A substation with no connection to the grid? Consider it a storage area for heavy equipment. All is not lost.

25% of project money spent on security? A sign that we still have an enemy.

Innovate, adapt, overcome. If it doesn't work out: learn, adjust, try again.

Did I mention the Iraqi Army and Police? No shortage of recruits. Despite the continuous attacks on those waiting in line to join. Would that we all had such guts in the face of the enemy.

In wars against guerillas the metric of success is the advance of self government. The number of purple fingers increased since the last election.

I'll have another history lesson soon.


BTW more even that people in Iraq, you are the target of the attacks. It is important to keep that in mind. Home front morale is as important as troop morale. Do your bit to raise it.