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Opium is an ancient drug obtained from the juice of unripe seed capsules of the opium poppy (Paps Aver Somniferous). Under analgesic euphoria, the opium groups were presented only by natural opiates. Now there is refined morphine, which is derived with synthetic preparations that we are able to produce in the laboratory. Today these drugs are available by prescription only, but substance abusers still get them and use them in their addictions.|
There are also many prescription drugs, including mental psychosis drugs that were originally regarded as quite safe and non-addictive. As time went on the idea that these drugs were non-addictive proved to be misleading; the result was depression and severe dependency, even on normal dosages.
For instance, in the 1950’s reports were published from many reputable psychiatric clinics verifying the enthusiastic claims of the manufacturers about new sovereign preparations for reducing anxiety, without risk of addiction. Some years later, however, we saw how patients were becoming severely addicted to tranquilizers and anti-anxiety drugs.
The same information applied to central nervous system stimulants. Stimulants such as cafeen, benzene, and other drugs were originally considered so innocent that they were sold without a prescription. Thanks to studies and research, we now know that toxic manias, which arise after a long period of abuse, are in many ways more serious than the classic morphinism.
Characteristics of addiction lie in the conditions of emotional intensity with the tendency for escape from reality. When the person later returns to the reality of their ordinary senses, they find quite an unpleasant experience. They become convinced that the psychotic experiences gave them a deeper meaning of truth and a sense of their normal consciousness. What these people lose is their “self.’ The absolute truth no longer exists and addiction takes over every aspect of their life.
In the United States there are several addiction epidemics. The best known involves heroin, which spread across our country in the 1960’s and 70’s. There are also many addictions of local boundaries. We see airplane glue and paint sniffing, gas huffing, with many diverse teenage groups involved in this illicit activity.
The number one epidemic we are seeing today is methamphetamine use. This is such a familiar phenomenon that it hardly needs further explanation. We know what this drug can do to families, neighborhoods, and society. In the last few years, meth use has spread across the Southland with devastating consequences.
Some treatment results are poor, even under the most favorable of conditions. It is obvious that new ideas on the treatment of addiction must be tried. Clinical research must be carefully planned and documented. Even unfavorable results should be recorded and openly reported, so that we can benefit from our mistakes.
Unless we take effective countermeasures soon, the new forms of addiction may become a still greater threat to the health of the addict, who could lose hope of ever being able to lead a normal, productive life.
Bejerot Carol Maurice, Roth Martin. Addiction and Society. Charles C. Thomas publishing Springfield Illinois United states of America. 1970.
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