DIARY: I received a comment from a cyber friend today and decided to publish this article as a few people have asked similar questions or voiced their concern about myself ‘managing’ my addiction.
Terry, this is a general comment about your site more so than about this topic as such. Specifically about the information in your sidebar actually. Also I say this as someone who has grappled with a number of addictions so, please understand my comments are not intended to be judgemental. Mate, it seems to me, that your experience is possibly somewhat atypical, your claim (and I have no reason to believe you are being dishonest) to be living a more or less "normal" (don't like the word myself, conventional might be a better substitute)life but-for-being-a-heroin-addict seems to me to be a kind of attempt to normalise your addiction. I know I kept drinking and using drugs for many years on the illusion of managability, I believed my addiction was manageable, so I kept using. I had to -like it says in the first step- admit that i was powerless and that my life had become unmanageable.
While you continue on with the belief that your life is manageable while you continue to use, you will relapse. Obviously this isn't something I usually discuss in a public forum so you can email me if you'd like to respond, obviously you can choose to ignore or take on board what I have to say, it's entirely up to you.
For the record I have been street drug and alcohol free for five years now and I was a daily, round-the-clock abuser of a number of substances. There was a time in my life when I couldn't even imagine going a day without some kind of mind altering chemical.
First of all, I am actually a recovering addict. I am on what’s called, substitution treatment which is the most common form of treatment for heroin addiction. Substitution treatment usually involves methadone or buprenorphine which keeps the patient “stable” by maintaining their addiction with something else apart from street heroin. These substitution drugs are just as addictive as heroin but each dose is much longer lasting and doesn’t get the patient high. The idea behind it is to give the patient time to stabilise their life without worrying about finding money or drugs everyday. Once on methadone, most patients can live a fairly normal life with work and other normal functions of life. After being stable for a period, the patient can then be weaned off methadone slowly until they are free of opiates.
Due to a pain condition and the problems of depression and some health issues from methadone, I have been switched over to slow release oral morphine (SROM) which works on basically the same principal as methadone. Morphine is not allowed to be prescribed solely for addiction in Australia but is an option for addiction treatment in some other countries.
Although substitution treatment can get you physically clean from heroin, often the physiological cravings can lead the patient back to heroin. To succeed with substitution treatment, counselling is recommended and it increases the chances of staying clean. Many methadone patients relapse and usually it takes a few attempts.
A major issue is that often people start on heroin because of a personal problem, particularly deep rooted physiological trauma or mental health issues like depression. When these people get clean, their problem might still persists and the chances of relapsing are high.
As you can see, addiction is very complex and addicts are usually misrepresented by the MSM and the ignorant as just selfish, hopeless junkies. For the majority, this isn’t true and until addiction is treated entirely as a health instead of a legal issue, the politicians and MSM will continue to use the personal health issues of addicts as publicity fodder. Some other people like myself have major problems kicking opiates and spend years or even decades on methadone. For some, life on methadone is fine and recent research is showing that it might be an appropriate strategy to keep some patients on methadone indefinitely.
The constant push to lower your dose for the goal of becoming clean is now being questioned as appropriate for everyone. As more is being discovered, alternative treatments for long term patients are being trialled overseas like prescription heroin.
Addiction was once treated with the drug that addicts were addicted to. Just as methadone is currently used to stabilise then reduce, heroin, cocaine and morphine were once prescribed using the same model of reducing your dose until clean.
Ironically, the real problems of heroin and cocaine started when the US declared the “War on Drugs” in 1971 and forced the UN to enforce it worldwide. The level of drug related crime and the mortality rates were only a fraction of what they are today. Prior to the push from the US/UN to enforce their “War on Drugs” policies, the US were one of only a few countries with major drug problems because they outlawed prescribing these drugs for addiction half a century before anyone else.
As some countries are reverting back to prescribing heroin, their heroin related problems are decreasing steadily whilst drug related crime and major societal problems continue to infest countries like Australia and the US. Heroin prescription is now an option for long term addicts in Canada, England, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Spain. It has been extremely successful and many more countries are looking into it.
I used to use heroin up to 500-600 times a year or about twice a day. On methadone I got that down to zero for a while but I kept relapsing. This went on for several years until my back pain got worse, the depression became unbearable and my body was at it’s limits from the methadone.
My doctor arranged for me to see a pharmacotherapist who arranged with the health department for me to switch to SROM and anti depressants. That treated my back pain, my addiction and my depression (to an extent). I wasn’t going to get off opiates any time soon and my doctor agreed that prescription heroin was suited to my situation if available. I now use heroin 12 times a year or once a month. I don’t crave heroin like I once did but use this method as a safety measure. It’s still very easy to fall into using but once a month is enough for me. If I start to stray, I can reminded myself that my time to use is coming up. It seems to work and keep away from heroin for 344 days a year. If I was in another country, I would be on prescription heroin and the difference is it is not an option in Australia.
For those who think I am deluding myself as all good junkies do, the use of heroin as a treatment is approved by many doctors but cannot not officially be endorsed. To summarise, my treatment plan is not focussed on being free of opiates. I would love to be clean but the current thinking is that long term addicts have different needs to most heroin addicts. I have the choice to deal with my situation with street heroin or via the medical route ... I have chosen the official medical route. My treatment is long term addiction management, not the “stabilise, then reduce” treatment like most methadone patients. I have no physical need to use heroin because of the morphine (or methadone) but I still have physiological cravings. This is treated via 12 monthly doses of heroin. BTW, my situation is fully implemented and monitored by 3 medical professionals. I should also mention that you can safely take opiates all your life. they are basically non toxic and do no harm physically. Other drugs like amphetamines are a different matter. You can never manage a life of speed or alcohol for too long because of the havoc it causes on your body and brain.
Some Won’t (Don’t Want To) Get It.
Tens of thousands were once treated with heroin or morphine with very little problems but that changed when the US/UN enforced their abstinence or nothing approach. Abstinence should always be the first and preferred method but if that doesn’t work, then there should be several options after that like substitution treatment. The problem is that after nearly 40 years of drug hysteria and propaganda from the MSM, politicians, moralists, conservatives and the religious right, there is massive ignorance in the public arena and total abstinence is seen as the only option.
My whole blog is based on trying to dispel the myths and personal views that dictate how we, as a society treat the drug problem. Some will never change their minds though, choosing to ignore science and medical facts and sticking to their ignorant views. Even when presented with my blog, some choose to skip over the facts and the actual content then construe their own biased views or judgements about myself.
As an unrepentant Junkie Wright, it really is just a matter of time before he cops a shot of some bad smack or before he catches a blood borne disease and goes to the biggest trip of all. I am amazed how the likes of Everett take at face value all of Wrights protestations that he has his habit “under control”. When it is very clear that Wright is in fact a most obedient slave of the poppy and that any suggestions that this addict can control his master, like those made by Wright in his blog, actually border on the delusional as any number of former addicts will testify. In the end the only ways to stay clean are to totally abstain which Wright refuses to even consider. Indeed Wright’s ability to “cope” is predicated upon some rather fragile constructs that are only ever one or two setbacks from irrevocably collapsing in a heap Typical of the left Everett is willing to make any concession to someone who her perceives as a noble “victim” he does it in relation to our Indigenous Australians and he does it with Wright. Personally I don’t care about the fact that Wright is a Junkie it is his obnoxious and belligerent comments directed at me that I object too and I refuse to treat him with kid gloves because he loves the needle more than anything else in the world.
-Iain Hall; Moralist and conservative blogger.
The above comment was made by infamous conservative want-to-be weirdo, Iain Hall. Much of his criticisms are aimed at me personally but you get the feel of the overall ignorance that he displays.
His views reflect the usual media driven images of desperate junkies shooting up anything and not caring about sharing needles.
The idea that any form of treatment except the “abstinence only” method is doomed to fail is typical of conservative values and ignorance. Remember that it was the US and their conservative views that interrupted over a century of treatment with their own “War on Drugs” approach that has given us the massive drug problems we have today.
The conviction that Hall’s conservative opinions are facts are shown with his claim, “as any number of former addicts will testify”. What former addicts? We just have to take his word for it. Although Hall should never be taken seriously, his views are reflective of those who can’t comprehend that drug addiction is complex. The black and white world of some right wing conservatives will always hinder their ability to see past drug addiction as a law and order issue. Countries that have prescription heroin or safe injecting rooms are always under threat of conservative politicians regardless of the success. There is quite a lot of research now showing the huge benefits from what would have been called radical only ten years ago. You can only ignore facts for so long and the fallacious thinking like that of Hall is luckily becoming less influential on how we approach drug addiction.