Magic Bullet for the Opiate Epidemic
I had a dream one night, while I was in rehab, that I snuck out and shot up heroin. I awoke in a panic, dripping sweat and convinced that it was real. The fact is, that wouldn’t have been unusual for me.
When you’re at your fifth treatment center, you start to doubt yourself. A lot. Maybe nothing works. The thing about a drug addict is that deep down; they want to get clean. It’s just really, really hard and takes a lot of work, honesty, and persistence. Qualities that your average addict is sorely lacking.
Is it a pipe-dream that there could be a vaccine for addiction? I used to also dream about a shot or pill that would just make me an addict no more. But it sounds too good to be true, right?
Yes, and no. The fact is, scientists are working very hard as we speak on creating a “vaccine” for opiate addiction. Politicians are touting this as the new “solution” to the opiate epidemic. It would be an opiate blocker that can permanently prevent the euphoric effects of opiates in a person. It makes it so that they don’t get high.
So what we’re talking about here is preventing the drug addict from getting the reward of one specific type of drug. Helpful? Perhaps. But just as you can see the flaw in the logic, there is little evidence historically that this method of “fixing” the problem fixes anything.
Antabuse is a drug that creates a violent reaction when combined with alcohol, making the alcoholic ill if he drinks. Naltrexone is an opiate blocker that comes in the form of an injection or pill, that makes opiates ineffective when taken. So really it’s just the “vaccine” described above.
These types of drugs already exist and have for years. And yet we’re still searching for similar solutions because previous “miracle drugs” have failed. But the alcoholic on Antabuse will continue to drink despite the illness it produces, and the heroin addict on Naltrexone has found other drugs to abuse and is now in rehab for combining cocaine and alcohol.
We’ve seen the rise and fall of miracle cures for addiction over the last few decades. Methadone’s failure was followed by the advent of Suboxone, which apparently isn’t getting the job done either. These are replacement drugs which missed the mark sorely. Meanwhile, the epidemic worsens.
Could it be that the quick-fix, the band-aid solution is just too simple? Catering to those who live a quick-fix lifestyle by giving them a quick-fix solution reinforces the mentality, and there is no shortage of other drugs out there to take when heroin no longer gets you high.
Miracle solutions are usually too good to be true because, in reality, they are. Hard work produces results. Facing your demons and overcoming them is the route to personal freedom. As a society, we got into this mess, and getting out won’t happen with a magic potion or cure-all tonic. Honestly, more drugs and medicine offered up by those who created the stuff that people are addicted to should make us cautious.
A better idea may be to pour our resources into result-based treatment, not developing more chemical cures. Rehabs that focus on empowering the person and getting them away from synthetic substitutes. You may think that there are lot’s of places like this out there, but they aren’t the industry standard at all. These treatment centers are statistically more successful, but labeled as “non-traditional” and don’t receive government funding. They are truly rare.
Let’s help the drug addict to face their inner demons. Not run from them from once again or continue to numb themselves from life. That’s they’ve been doing this whole time. I know this is difficult to face. Remember: the truth is harder to swallow than more pills.