Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Here is what got me started on the Chronic Drug Use is Caused by Chronic Pain track. The important thing is to read Dr.Shavelson's book. The drug war in essence is a persecution of tortured children.


Heroin. The name itself strikes terror into the heart these days. But originally it was named by the Bayer people from the word heroine. Or female hero. Why? Because it was so effective in relieving pain and suffering. If it were legal it would still be one of the most effective pain relievers in the doctor's arsenal. It was also considered such a safe and effective medicine that it was available over the counter until 1914.

The story these days with heroin is different. It not only is not available over the counter, its not available anywhere in America legally.

So where does this leave us today? We have black markets and addicts. Black markets of course require police and addicts require treatment.

An interesting study by Dr. Lonny Shavelson looks into the world of the addicts and their treatment. What do we know? What works? How can addicts be helped?

First we start out with an unusual point of view. Most addicts are in pain. This is quite surprising. It surprised me. I thought they were just in it for the euphoria.

Here is what Dr. Shavelson found in his study of 200 addicts: a high proportion of severely abused children (beatings, rapes, rapes of siblings). He questioned his study methodology. He thought there must have been a flaw in how his sample was selected or in how the questions he asked were framed.

Then while he was doing his research, an article came out in the Journal of the American Medical Association that said that the addiction rate goes up for male sexually abused children. And it doesn't just double or triple. It is 25 to 50 times higher than the rest of the population. Approximately 70% of the women in drug rehab experienced sexual abuse before they started on drugs. In other words, those heroine addicts not in actual physical pain are suffering from severe post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. What is the preferred treatment in America today for these hurt and humiliated souls? We don't deal with the pain that made them liable for drug abuse. We ask that before they can be healed that they heal themselves by giving up drugs. And then we wonder why rehab for hard-core addicts does not work too well. But how could it when the treatment does not match the disease.

So the next time the TV expose shows the junkie with the spike in his or her vein think of what torment that person must be in internally in order to put them in the place they are in. And all too often our response to those suffering is to jail them. Barbaric. Or treatment that deals with symptoms and not causes. Stupid.

Dr. Shavelson has written a book called Hooked about his experiences with addicts. A recent transcript of an interview by NPR with the doctor is available here.

Hooked - NPR interview.


These articles (c) 2004 M. Simon - industrial controls engineer for Space-Time Productions, a Free Market Green, and political activist.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


Anonymous said...

"It was also considered such a safe and effective medicine that it was available over the counter until 1914."

No, it was not considered so safe; there was simply no Federal agency charged with regulating the safety of medicines. The Pure Food & Drug Act was passed in 1906, but was initially concerned only with the clear labeling of medicines.

There is a big difference between "not regulated" and "considered such a safe drug."

M. Simon said...

Before 1914 medicine was regulatedby the states. There was no effort by the states to prohibit Heroin use.

In addition the 1914 act was a sham. Doctors at that time would prescribe maintenance doses for addicts. The government declared this bad medicine and started imprisoning doctors.

This led to a situation where people who functioned normally under maintenance doses going to the black market.

The policy was considered by many doctors of that time a very bad policy.

The 1914 Harrison act was not in response to medical problems but to the desire for an abstinence policy for all drugs including alcohol. i.e. the Temperance Movement. It was followed in 1920 by alcohol prohibition. And we know how well that worked.

A study of the history of that era and the temperance movement is quite instructive.

Drug War History

Anonymous said...

Even if you're not in pain to begin with, addiction is a painful state to be in. I've been opiate dependent for over 7 years so I know what I'm talking about. I WAS in pain (with depression) before I got hooked so what you say is right.

M. Simon said...

The link to Gledwood.

Anonymous said...

Thanx 4 ur comment on mine. Morphine drip-drop-drop, mmm lovely... (better than giving hospital patients 4-hourly shots, that IS a way of turning someone into a junkie!
Just wanted to add re heroin maybe you're aware it was well popular with the old Nazis pre-&-during WW2. Methadone was apparently originally named Dolphine after dem Fuehrer... I think it was Goebbels who fled to Sweden in a bid to fuel his "B" (as we call it here in London) habit...
Your blog is a trip!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice blog, Simon. I find it sad that most organizations are just concerned about treating people with their heroin addiction. I think it would be much better if heroin rehab facilities would deal not only with the addiction but with other the underlying issues as well. Simply put, a good heroin rehab should treat an individual not just because he's an addict, but because he's a person.

M. Simon said...

Heroin Rehab,

Thanks! Beautiful comment.

Anonymous said...

heroin is very deeply addictive and deeeeply deadly, so don't ever try one of those!!!!!

M. Simon said...


I agree. People with the most pain get the most relief from heroin.

Jeremy Berger said...

Heroin was actually considered safe and was even portrayed to not have withdrawal effects as with other opiates used for pain. It was quickly realized it was not a safe drug Heroin Addiction History

Infoturn said...

Heroin was made as a replacement drug for morphine, just like methadone as a replacement drug for heroin.

Curt said...

It's nice to know some people understand how we addicts are. We have real pain. We want badly to be like normal people. But there is an underlying sense of failure that consumes our initiative. We have been rejected by people and we bond to many different physical things. Very hard to dig out from, because the goal of reform is to be like and bond with the people who brought us where we are. "You did this to yourself." Yes, to escape the pain of living lonely in your crowd. It is 'normal' to desire to be without pain. I wish I didn't care about people and/or what they thought. The problem is that is ALL I care about. I don't want to be the successful people that can run over everyone. I want to love and be loved.
So off to work. I work 60 hrs/
week, and always want to get high or drunk, but mostly don't. And this is how I feel.

M. Simon said...

Medical schools in America teach - addiction is a symptom of PTSD.

I discuss the biology in layman's terms: