If only! I’m sorry about the headline– but did it catch your attention? We all wish we could be cured– and headlines like this one appeal to that wish. We are easy marks for a person looking to make a buck. I want to use that fact as a springboard to discuss a couple things.
I recently received a comment accusing me of just such activity– of ‘making a buck’ off people with addictions. The writer took it a step further stating that all addiction is a matter of choice; that people addicted to opiates should just decide to stop taking them, and that Suboxone is just a ‘substitute for oxycodone’. I was not real polite to that person, although I was more polite than I wanted to be… as that is the type of ignorance that literally kills people. We ALL tried to stop– many, many times. Anyone who has even a basic understanding of addiction knows that it is much more complicated than that. The writer stated that she could stop– that her ‘therapy’ helped her deal with her issues and gain the ability to stop using. I often write that ‘nobody is too dumb to get clean, but some people are too smart’– perhaps she wasn’t ‘smart’ enough to have problems getting clean! (yes, that was needlessly mean).
On the other hand, it isn’t that ‘mean’ when you realize that people die from opiate dependence—often—and what often keeps them from getting help is the thought that they can get things under control on their own. And so they keep trying, and keep hiding their addiction from the people that could help them. Add the shame that the writer would like to instill, and the addiction is forced even further underground. A common recovery saying is ‘secrets keep us sick’; in order to get better, using addicts must expose their addiction to the light of day– to treatment providers, but even more importantly, to themselves.
As for the ‘making a buck’ part… yes, I would like to be paid for my efforts. And yes, my career does exist because people need help with their addictions. But in medicine there are easier ways to make a buck! I treat opiate dependence (among other conditions) because I understand opiate dependence—having lived it. It is a horrible illness that cuts across all segments of society—it tends to hit people who have tons of potential, and has the ability to take away every bit of that potential—that is what keeps me interested in fighting addiction.
Suboxone is not perfect. I would rather have every person with addiction go into 90 days of residential treatment, and attend NA for life. That is the only other option at this point in time. Most addicts will not go to residential treatment until they have lost a great deal, and some never get there—they die first. So we have Suboxone… and it is an amazing advance in treatment options. Even better options will come along—that is my hope, anyway.
The writer also mentioned my tapes! I really thought they would be popular… but they haven’t been. No ‘quick buck’ there! If you, the reader, have suggestions on what you WOULD pay money for that I could sell as an addiction expert, LET ME KNOW! In fact, if you have a great idea for a digital download that would help other addicts and that we could sell on this site, we could work together on it and share in the ‘tons of profit’ I’m supposedly making!
The other half of the ‘money from addiction’ issue can be seen in this comment:
I can’t imagine being on suboxone for 2 years. After about 6 months, I got off it by going to XXXXXXX. It’s a clinic here in XXXXX that uses an all natural approach They use a 10-day amino acid IV infusion that literally dunks your brain in the essential nutrients necessary to repair all the brain damage I caused by using. I started feeling alive again around day 4. I never had any cravings while going through this. Around day 8 or 9, I started feeling like a million bucks! Not high- just healthy. The staff there was amazing and it’s all outpatient. I never missed a day of work. I am amazed at how good I feel- for the first time in my life, I feel healthy. I would definitely recommend it for anybody.
First of all, if you used oxy or other opiates you didn’t do ‘brain damage’—the drugs bid reversibly to receptors on neurons and do NOT do permanent damage—at least not to the structure of the brain. If you used tons of ‘X’ you may have done damage—likewise if you were a ‘huffer’—but you won’t fix the damage with ‘essential nutrients’! Addiction causes changes in personality, destroys intimacy, damages self-image, causes depression… and makes any type of ‘spirituality’ impossible, leading to a life that is empty and meaningless. Suboxone can halt progression of addiction and can help keep these things from getting worse… but Recovery requires more than nutrients and amino acids. I won’t go so far as to declare such ‘restorative’ approaches as totally fraudulent… but I am close to such a declaration! There are a few ‘cocktails’ out there for other addictions as well—the docs that peddle them charge tons of money—10 grand and more—for the ‘secret recipe’. None are supported by REAL research—i.e. in the peer reviewed literature—although they claim to have their ‘own’ studies that support their effectiveness.
Understand that there is a process for documenting effective treatments that all reputable scientists use—there HAS to be such a process, as otherwise we wouldn’t know what works and what doesn’t. First of all, knowing about brain (I hate to keep carping my PhD in Neuroscience but I want readers to know that I am speaking from a position of knowledge), it is silly to think that the complicated factors involved in addiction can be addressed by taking nutrients and amino acids—in ANY combination or dose! But playing along… if there is such a solution, knowing the extent of the destruction that addiction causes around the globe, why not put it through the usual proving process, and then sell it either on one’s own or through ‘big pharma’- and save the world while at the same time becoming wealthy? Or if wealth isn’t the issue, give it away! Why not? The reason, of course, is because those miracle cures don’t work. They may provide a placebo-like response—the addict may feel a bit ‘stronger’ if he/she believes in the product. But that will fade over time, and the addiction will return. The people selling the cure will shrug their shoulders (if they are still around—they may have closed shop and retired to an island by then), and say ‘gee, it usually works… you must have a particularly bad case of addiction! Let’s try a double dose—of course it will cost a bit more…’
Addiction stinks. Suboxone is a step forward… but it still stinks. Want off Suboxone? I made the recordings to talk about the issue. There is no quick cure described on the recordings, but there is my best assessment of what is required, how to go forward, who should try and who shouldn’t, etc. Please buy a copy, check it out, and give me feedback. I promise not to get rich!