By Joe Tilton
As presentations and discussions were attended in Atlanta last week, several observations and conclusions were realized.
With rare exception, baseline causes were not addressed. The emphasis was on government studies on how schools can solve the issues. So many presentations were loaded with graphs comparing drugs used in what years and how some program slowed some use. Programs are important, but how do they impact the individual drug user?
We heard from the FDA, DEA, Coast Guard, mental-health professionals and psychiatrist. Authors, parents, organizers and victims told their stories, and it was obvious how marijuana is worse than any military attack we can think of.
There were no presentations on the 12-step program.
Not one session focused on parent-caused issues or child abandonment to video games. Loneliness was identified.
No discussion of morality or loss of human spirit was scheduled, except for rates of depression.
While schools are critical to the solutions, so are parents and faith-based organizations.
It was said how there are not enough government programs to solve the problem, still Dr. Sharon Walsh, established “Bridge to Life” at the University of Kentucky, with the goal of saving lives. This program is one to copy.
Dr. Roger Humphries advised us to look at a addiction as a “use disorder” with compassion for the addict instead of jail. “We’ve seen learned helplessness and strokes in 20-year-olds caused by illegal drug use, worse than cases involving 70-year-olds. We see patient blaming in the medical community and parent degrading rather than serious treatment.” Humphries urged professionals to meet patients where they are and build trust with them and their families.” He also reminded how a bad year for transportation-related deaths number 40,000, but overdoses and other related drug deaths are at 70,000 now. Daily losses from the drug issue this year numbers 200. Do the math: 2019’s anticipated death toll will be 73,000. We grounded an entire fleet of aircraft after 346 were killed in two crashes of the 737 Max 8 planes. How can we allow the death toll from the drug epidemic continue at such insane rates?
Now, let’s add the death rates from Fentanyl: 29,406 last year.
What do we do about suffering from pain issues? The problem is huge in our nation, with 25.3-million people being treated. “We must find affordable, non-addictive medications and solve the addictions, using a mind-body approach,” according to Dr. Francis Collins, a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.
With calls for new drugs and programs, another presentation brought a critical point to light. In a study involving rats and heroin, they found rats, when given a choice, preferred social interaction over heroin. When the same rats were given a traumatic or shocking event, they went for heroin.
A call for communities to be “healing centers” was made several times during the Summit. So, we must find the Bridge between what we know and what we can do. Addicts are not using one drug, but self medicating with street formulated cocktails. Taking one drug from active addicts will not solve the problem, however eliminating the “introductory” drug (by 97+ percent), marijuana, would go a long way toward the solution.
See the next article for some very good news in the battle against methamphetamine.