The recent heroin-Fentanyl deaths raise many moral and practical questions. This is because people become dependent on opioid drugs for a variety of reasons. Some sincerely want to become free of narcotic drugs — and some love the feeling drugs give them more than life itself.
Because of these differing motivations, shouldn’t we expect to need different tactics or methods to release them — and, if some don’t really want to be free of addiction, how can we expect success from any form of treatment?
It should not be surprising that the heroin-Fentanyl deaths should be occurring in a black market situation where the price of heroin is artificially inflated by the scarcity created by the War On Drugs. Fentanyl is a cheap way to increase the potency tremendously when used to “cut” heroin. Addicts used to one strength of street heroin are fatally surprised when they obtain a much stronger batch.
Efforts to correct the problem of heroin-Fentanyl deaths are flawed when they focus on preventing death at the last moment, with Narcan, the latest trick of the pharmaceutical industry to capitalize on the tragedy of drug addiction which they helped cause.
On another front of the War On Drugs, bountiful profits are being reaped by the Drug Rehab industry in their doomed attempt to treat addicts at public expense rather than jailing them. Often their definition of rehabilitation is simply to switch them to methadone or suboxone.
The Drug Rehab industry success rate at turning out clients who don’t relapse within a year is quite low. They don’t like to talk about this or present objective research to confirm their claims of success. The numbers I received from a retiring clinic director confirmed my suspicions. For rehab centers that use methadone or suboxone (which are themselves opioid drugs and reportedly harder to quit than heroin) the success rate is 4.3%. For those facilities that use a 12-Step program and fewer pharmaceuticals, the success rate is 2%. For these miserable success rates, we the public are paying about $30,000 for a month of live-in treatment.
Why, if government agencies are often paying these high fees for pitiful results, shouldn’t we consider other methods of treatment, which have been proven to be more successful and safer — both in the laboratory and in real-life practice?
To make sense of this predicament, let’s look at why we face such an overwhelming addiction epidemic.
Most of those who end up on heroin, start on prescription opioids, either legally prescribed to them or diverted. This is a relatively new trend in addiction (it began in the late 1990s caused by the easy access to prescription drugs like Percocet, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone). Oxy, in particular, was heavily marketed to doctors as offering little risk of addiction.
In recent years, easier access to highly addictive opioid painkillers introduced a new class of people to narcotics. These people had legitimate pain from some chronic condition for which the medical profession had no cure. With few other suitable alternatives to treat a wide variety of diseases that had no hope of a cure, not surprisingly many of these folks became dependent and some, as depression set in, allowed dependence to progress into addiction.
And so, we seem to have two distinct types of addicts: Those who became addicted through their limited options for any other form of treatment (and sincerely want to quit, but are afraid of both the pain and the stigma associated with withdrawal and treatment, time off work, expense, etc.).
And then, we have those who were led to hard drugs by some inner need, often a psychiatric dysfunction like schizophrenia or some other condition for which unmedicated life is simply intolerable. I would guess that this group of heroin addicts would be very resistant to permanently quitting their drugs of choice unless they had easy access to a safer, convenient, and emotionally satisfying alternative.
Since conventional methods of treating opioid addiction show so little return for society’s huge investment, doesn’t it make sense that we should be open to successful, proven alternatives?
There is currently such an option for reversing addiction. It is widely being used as a DIY form of addiction rehab at no cost to insurance or government programs. It is based on an herb that has been used for this very purpose for 200 years or more in the Orient.
That herb is kratom, Mitragyna speciosa korth, and is currently legal in 45 of the United States.
Kratom has been studied and shown to be safe and effective in NIH(National Institutes of Health)-funded research, which was granted a patent on the method of addiction treatment: http://www.google.com/patents/US20100209542
Here is a mystery for us all to ponder: Why Isn’t This Method of Treatment Being Used More Widely?
Moreover, why is kratom the subject of attempts to ban its use, when states say they wish to fight the epidemic of heroin-Fentanyl deaths?
Why is kratom never mentioned in regard to the successes it is producing in ending addiction?
Could it have something to do with the bonanza of profits the addiction rehab industry is enjoying for treating the same clients multiple times at $30K a pop?
All we hear from TV newscasters are breathless warnings that “kratom is just like heroin, it’s a legal high, it’s killing people — and your child may be next!” Are the smoke shops and convenience stores where shiny foil packets of kratom capsules and shots are sold paying the newscasters for these promotions? They should be, because talk like this is very inviting to young people.
The misinformation spread by TV news reports across the nation, trying to frighten the public enough to gain their support for banning kratom, are too numerous to address here. Kratom, in its pure unadulterated form, has never killed anyone, but is especially effective as a step-down treatment for easing the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal from opioid drugs — exactly what is needed to help those who want to be free of drug addiction to accomplish that with relative ease and with much greater safety than with methadone.
The Mainstream Media, and our government “watchdog” agencies, are doing a major disservice to the American people by trying to preserve a status quo that perpetuates a War on Drugs that is essentially causing the deaths from heroin and Fentanyl.
As usual, the public is being sold a bill of goods that benefits special interests — including, perversely enough, the wealthy drug cartels which would no longer exist if heroin was made legally available.
Essentially, once again, we are being talked into approving more expensive approaches that extend the failed War On Drugs, throwing good money after bad, when ending what isn’t working would be a more sensible solution.
The notion of banning kratom, which is a proven uniquely-useful aid in overcoming the fearful barrier of opioid withdrawal is ludicrous — especially at a time when we are feverishly seeking a solution to the epidemic of drug addiction!
Kratom is being used by thousands of those who sincerely want to be free of their dependence on opioid narcotics. They use it to overcome the barrier of withdrawal in the comfort of their own home, usually with the coaching of a group of Facebook friends. You can read a snippet of a typical conversation of how kratom smoothes this process HERE.
Opioid addicts who don’t want to be free of dependence on these drugs would be better served by providing them legal heroin of certified purity, available for them in government clinics, perhaps as Portugal has recently done.
Wasting more public money on saving those who really don’t want to be saved is foolish. Banning a life-saving herb that is ending addiction for those who do want it is doubly foolish.
Fighting heroin-Fentanyl deaths by applying drug war tactics on a proven, convenient, inexpensive tool such as kratom is a big mistake. It is past time to do some fresh new thinking about harm reduction in our efforts to treat drug addiction. Kratom can only be helpful is it is used — and not banned.
Author Paul Kemp reports frequently on the miracles of restored health that he sees occurring daily in the kratom community.
To Obtain Kratom for Research Purposes, Visit OnlineKratom
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