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The Sins of the Father

Submitted by David Borden on
I have posted three other blogs so far, but I have attempted to write several more. What I have learned from my failed attempts is that my writing on drug issues is only meaningful when it describes my personal experiences. That means I am simply going to tell you about the people I have known in my life who had drug problems, and then I will describe what those problems meant to me. All the solutions to the bigger societal issues of drug use and abuse were committed to writing long ago; they simply have not been implemented successfully at the moment. And I doubt there is much meaningful information that I can add beyond my own personal experiences. My father could get addicted to practically anything. He had physical, psychological and psychiatric illnesses galore. As best we can tell now, he also had the same difficult-to-diagnose, medium-intensity Lupus that I have, as well. That means there is a good chance that some or all of his psychiatric symptoms came from the same vasculitis of the central nervous system I have had flare up a few times. If you are unfamiliar with the illness, I can tell you that you never want to be personally familiarised with it. Now I want to make a point that I think a lot of people do not understand. My father is notorious in the little town where I live, even though he has been dead since 1990, because he did a plethora of things that were so stupid I cannot even convey the magnitude of it to you. I DID NOT AND DO NOT APPROVE OF THE THINGS HE DID. His car wrecks, drinking and drugging and all the other things big and small probably hurt me as much or more than anyone else on earth, and on the small chance that someone who knows me and knew him is reading this, people who have embarrassing relatives many or even most times do not think the things those people do are appropriate or have any redeeming value. But to get back to the issue, it was obvious the man was sick, and almost everything he ever took was totally legal in the respect that he bought it at a liquor store or got it from a licensed pharmacy with a valid prescription. The other really obvious point is that when you are so sick that it overwhelms you, soft recreational or prescription drug abuse are not the worst solutions around. Not that I am endorsing them, but the alternatives are school shootings, workplace shooting sprees, other crimes of just about every description and many, many wars. Is there really any doubt that Adolph Hitler was the cause of World War II or that he was not even close to 'right in the head?' How many lives and how much more money, pain and suffering would it have saved if he had a team of psychoanalysts and a circus side show to look after his mental health and entertainment? The drug czar would have you believe that we are all drug addicts waiting to happen when drugs are available to us. I have a feeling I could get just about anything in the United States Pharmacopoeia if I did not get too wild with my requests. If nothing else, most physicians would write me prescriptions just to get rid of me, because medical practitioners are just as afraid of sick people as the general populace. I could care less about controlled substances and try to avoid them if at all possible. The pain medication I take is a very weak one called Tramadol or Ultram, and sometimes it is ineffective. But it is better than dealing with the side effects of Methadone or Oxycontin. If some foolish person has you convinced that pain medication is fun, you have been seriously mislead. Most people would not want it even if it were free and available on every street corner, because the side-effects are so unpleasant. All the addicts I have known took the drugs they did to try to self-medicate real illnesses that are not treatable by contemporary medicine. Everyone does not react well to bicyclic antidepressants like Prozac, and people who think medications like it are a solution to drug addiction and every mental illness that exists are not being realistic. I took a number of different antidepressants when my vasculitis of the central nervous system first appeared, and they have very severe side-effects. The reason I took the drugs was that no one paid any attention to my prostatitis, which was an indicator in a person my age that something more serious than mental illness was afoot, and I was given psychiatric medication. For three or four months, I did not sleep more than two or three hours a night, and it literally made me go temporarily insane. I cannot even take half or a quarter of a dose of most antidepressants, because the side-effects are so severe. Antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, Aspirin and many other drugs are the same way; my allergies are so severe than I cannot tolerate them. My point, though, is that bicyclic antidepressants are not the cure for every illness with a psychological or behavioural component. Recreational drug abuse is very serious and never desirable, but it is safer than dealing with physicians who abuse their ability to prescribe drugs either through ignorance or neglect. I have often seen figures of 80,000 prescription drug deaths through inappropriate prescriptions per year. In comparison, figures for deaths caused by automobile accidents are generally 40,000 to 50,000 per year in the United States, and I think if a person reads up on the subject, the danger that automobiles pose is obvious. Some of the early research on the subject was from engineers studying preventable deaths from aeroplane accidents, and it turned out the likelihood of getting killed on the drive to the airport was so high that researchers turned to studying road deaths. Comparisons like that start making it sound very attractive just to hand out methadone or Oxycontin to anyone who is not getting any relief from other medical treatments. At least pharmaceutical opiates rarely ever cause deaths except when people purposefully overdose. Even most heroin overdoses are simply because the strength of street drugs is often hard to estimate. To sum up my main point, I have seen drug abuse with my own eyes, and the solution to successfully preventing it or eliminating the reasons people abuse drugs is not at the point of a gun or in a prison cell. Society's way of dealing with people who abuse drugs should not be to try and punish them, because it causes more suffering and pain than I think most people can personally imagine. It is like the pre-anticonvulsant approach of trying to talk people out of having Epileptic seizures. Anyone can readily guess how much talking cures help Epilepsy, very little. 'We the people' have to recognise that substance abuse is a more complicated problem than anyone could have ever imagined in 1900 or 1933, and we have to adjust our thinking. It saddens me to think that anyone will ever have to go through the same thing with a relative that I had to go through with my father. There is a hole in my heart because of it that will never and could never be mended, and I hope that people can look past their fears to something that will actually be effective and beneficial to us all.

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