"When I ask heroin addicts why they started taking heroin, most of them reply with one of two answers. These are: "I fell in with the wrong crowd" and "heroin's everywhere".
"When I reply that it is odd how I meet many people who fell in with the wrong crowd, but I never under any circumstances meet any member of the wrong crowd itself, who must therefore be lurking permanently out of my sight and hearing, the addict who has attributed his addiction to his fortuitous acquaintance with the wrong crowd smiles, or even laughs, knowingly.”
[We might also add: heroin is not “everywhere”; as with any drug, whether licit of illicit, you have to devote some time and make some effort to “find” it. Even migraine tablets require a trip to the chemist.]
And further on:
"In other words, the whole apparatus of care, doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, counsellors, serves not to alleviate suffering but to create and exacerbate it. (I cannot resist quoting a law first enunciated by Colin Brewer about modern society: "Suffering increases to meet the means available for its alleviation.")
From The Australian - Edited extract from Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy, by Theodore Dalrymple. Dalrymple has worked as a prison doctor and as a psychiatrist in a general hospital in a British slum.
(Yes, yes, I know I covered this back in June 06 - see, this is how long it takes for O/S books to finally be released on our shores – Breaking the spell – Poppycock.)
Elsewhere in the same newspaper (can’t link it), some quotes were obtained to vigorously refute Dalrymple’s insights:
From Luke Davies, prize-winning author of Candy:
“I make the point in Candy that the physical stuff is kind of horrendous [though he admits that the physical side does take less time to recover from than the flu] - but it doesn’t even touch the sides of the spiritual despair, which is the driving force that keeps the addiction going – the horror at the pointlessness of existence.”
Oh dear. Where does one go with such self-justifying drivel? If we follow this to its logical conclusion, then we should all be daily and frequent heroin users. Alternatively, we would have to believe that only society’s most sensitive, angst ridden souls become addicts. [Insert vigorous derisive *snort*] Is the pointlessness of existence a greater horror than any number of actual horrors we could list? Nuh, I don’t think so. Besides, real spiritual despair leads to many things, many horrors in and of itself, but a clear beaten path to drug addiction is not, invariably, inevitably, or compulsorarily, one of them.
Drug treatment expert, Richard Mattick, offered his condemnation, saying that heroin addiction:
“kills hundreds of people in
each year” and that Dalrymple’s comments were “unhelpful because they send the message to ordinary people that opiate dependence isn’t a serious problem.” Australia
No, that’s not what Dalrymple is arguing at all. He’s arguing that giving up the dependence isn’t a serious, or even medical, problem. He’s arguing that giving up opiates is easier than recovering from the flu, which is a real medical condition. He’s arguing that those deaths are, in fact, 100% avoidable. Although that last point has always been a tad self evident.
Dalrymple, says of the supporting industry for opiate users, and their gratitude for such:
“Any aid to the perpetuation of the state of daydreaming is … greatly appreciated.”
The extract is an interesting read, as I imagine would be the entire book. If nothing else, an alternative view will shake up the tired old mantras, maxims and aphorisms, for at least five minutes, before all will return to routine.