Drugs at Every Level
I have met people who have more money than they could ever spend. They apparently don’t have a problem in the world. Yet they became drug addicts. Maybe it was too much privilege or boredom or the fact they never had to work for a living. They had a hard time, turned to drugs and became addicts. Others I have met were born into poverty. Their parents had no money and they had none either. They also became drug addicts, yet when you have no money it is unwise to develop an expensive drug habit. So you get super-rich celebrities who wind up dead from a mix of heroin, cocaine and prescription pills. And you get inner city drug problems. Drugs pervade every strata of society.
Escaping from Problems
People use drugs in order to “solve” their problems. Certain uses of drugs are perfectly legitimate; pain relievers and anesthetics are vital in the field of medicine and surgery. But in the case of “recreational” drug use, abuse and addiction, chemicals are used to escape or provide a temporary relief from the problem. There are an unlimited number of things people do when they are unable or unwilling to solve a problem. A child is upset with his parents and after he has an ice cream cone he feels better. A couple is fighting so they go on vacation and forget about it. A man is unhappy in his marriage so he has an affair. When his wife finds out she does the same thing. A teenager has a hard time in school so he loses himself in video games for hours every day. Anything from surfing YouTube to going fishing to bowling could constitute an attempt to escape a problem.
Crossing the Line
Many of these things are harmless. Watching TV is fairly harmless unless you do it so much that it affects your health and happiness. Having an affair is obviously detrimental to a marriage. Compulsive gambling is an example of an addictive behavior which can be extremely destructive in a person’s life. When people cross the line into self-destructive activities, it is certainly time to take notice.
There is no shortage of information on the detrimental effects of drugs. Over 100 peopledie every day in the US from drug overdose according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The drugs abused by teenagers range from alcohol and marijuana to a wide array of prescription drugs including opioid painkillers (essentially synthetic versions of morphine and heroin) and psycho-stimulants (essentially legal versions of cocaine and meth).
New “Solutions” to Old Problems
New drugs trends sweep their way through rural and urban America faster than the DEA can monitor or control. A substance which anyone can order cheaply off the internet is powdered caffeine. It is legal but caught the FDA’s attention after the death of an 18-year-old in May of this year who was using the substance. One teaspoon (3 grams) of powdered caffeine is equal to 25 cups of coffee, vastly more potent than any energy drink. Kids are now using powdered caffeine in a similar way as they’ve used other stimulant drugs – namely to party all night or study all night. Either way they are playing with fire. They also use powdered caffeine to offset the depressant effects of alcohol and marijuana, a lower-level (yet still dangerous) version of a “speedball” (the deadly combination of cocaine and heroin).
The Lasting Damage
As I have explained countless times, drugs affect people in different ways, but there are exact scientifically proven chemical reactions brought about through continued drug use. They overload the brain with dopamine and inhibit the reabsorption of this neurotransmitter. What does this mean? It means the brain and nervous system’s natural chemical balance is utterly disrupted. You feel high, get a false sense of euphoria, get depressed, crave more, use more, chase the high by increasing the quantity or using other drugs, all the while your body is being slowly eaten away. And if you use too much (overdose), use drugs prepared with other toxic chemicals (very common), or mix drugs in a toxic manner (also common), you could end up one of the 100 dead per day statistic. This is not meant to scare. It is just facts.
Facing One’s Problems
People can’t solve a problem so they retreat from it. They believe drugs help them do so. They learn otherwise either slowly and corrosively or jarringly and tragically. One reason people can’t solve a problem is they cannot even look at it or even see it. They cannot “confront” it. Thus holistic rehabilitation to be effective must help individuals in being able to “confront” things. This does not mean they are fighting something or belligerent with anyone. It means they can face it without flinching or avoiding. The ability to simply confront is a high-level ability. It should not be taken for granted and it CAN be learned through a sequence of precise exercises.
The Value of Communication
Some problems “miraculously” disappear when we simply see them for what they are. But others require more work. One tool that has unlimited use in problem-solving is communication. Communication is the stuff of life itself. It too is a vital skill which can be learned through exact exercises and drills.
What is a Problem?
What is a problem? One definition of a problem is an intention and a counter-intention. It can also be a force and a counter-force. You want to go to the store. A large bully is blocking the route. That is a problem. You need a promotion and a raise but someone is making this difficult if not impossible. That is a problem. Life is full of problems demanding to be solved. Problems consist of pieces or parts. Any problem can factually be solved by isolating its parts, taking it apart piece by piece, then dealing with each part one at a time.
Failures of the Past
People who use drugs to solve their problems are not happy people, because the drugs don’t solve their problems. The drugs become the problem. Just ask a drug addict. It’s no fun at all. Why do people decide that life has gotten the better of them and give up on a given course? Why do they abandon their dreams? One reason is that they piled up too many failures and painful experiences in their past. Another factor is that they were told repeatedly and forcefully in the past that they were no good at something and should just give up. Pretty soon they were telling themselves the same thing. It’s a vicious trap, but fortunately there are ways out of it.
It’s great to see people resuscitate their ambition. Hopes and dreams don’t have to die. They can literally be brought back to life. And when this happens, we see the individual come back to life at the same time.
There are real solutions. There are also false ones that are in fact problems. Drugs are a false solution. They are a widespread problem for the individual and for society. But there are people dedicated to confronting, dismantling, and solving the multi-faceted and destructive problem called drug and alcohol abuse.