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The Tragedy of Opiate Addiction & The Hopelessness of the Drug War: What Can Be Done?

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I don’t know if you know any opiate addicts, specifically heroin addicts. I met a lot when I was in rehab for alcohol and was enlightened to a hidden world of pain and sadness. Being addicted to heroin is as crazy a lifestyle as one can imagine. I say lifestyle because it’s an all-consuming job to keep from getting sick. They tend only to have friends who are fellow addicts because they are figuring out how to get more drugs all day long. Their mood ranges from overly docile and derpy to incredibly nervous and panicky. They don’t eat. They get sores all over. Their veins collapse and they end up trying to inject in awful places that I won’t go into. They are poor because drugs are expensive. And they get felonies for possession of tiny amounts. It’s sadness and madness all in one.

So what might lead to this awful lifestyle? Well adjusted, happy and contented people don’t randomly start using heroin one day. Typically their lives are sad and filled with tragedy to begin with. I say typically because in rehab I met some very successful heroin addicts with rather mundane stories, but they seem to be in the minority. For the average addict, life has been or is very tough and they are desperate to shut out the world to experience some peace. The heroin also tends to be a self-reinforcing substance. It disables you so much that you can’t manage your life, next you get more depressed, and then you need more drugs.

Addiction is a foul social curse, and we as a nation treat all addicts like criminals whether or not they have committed some non drug-related crime. In reality they are likely just self-medicating. Wealthy people in America have access to better drugs with less side effects, and then these members of society lead the charge with the moralizing of drug abuse. We automatically give users felonies for possession, giving them a scarlet letter for life, and then we teach them how to be professional criminals in prison.

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Illicit Drugs And Mental Illness Take A Huge Global Toll : NPR →

"The current analysis of mental disorders, led by Australian , finds that depression is the biggest contributor, accounting for about 40 percent of the burden. The other illnesses, in descending order, are related to anxiety, illicit drug use, alcohol use, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, developmental disorders, childhood behavioral disorders and eating disorders."

This is a good read if you are anti-Drug War like me. People use drugs to alleviate the awfulness of our civilization. We’re all conditioned to believe that everything is wonderful because we have TV and Fast Food, but our society is vacant for so many. This isn’t the only reason people use drugs of course. We need to increase the access to mental health facilities for those in need instead of locking them up and turning them into lifetime felons and criminals.

We need a revolution in this respect. What we have right now is a disaster. It is completely broken. It is completely corrupt. It is ruining real peoples’ lives. I’ve seen the effects with my own eyes, and it tears at my soul. We don’t have to live like this. We can move on.

America should strive to be better than this.