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Why America can’t kick its opioid addiction Naive policies can't compete with today's drugs

It’s the drugs, stupid. (Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


November 19, 2021   6 mins

It’s tempting to think about America’s opioid crisis in the past tense. The Sackler name — which belongs to the family that owned and ran Purdue, the pharmaceutical company that flooded America with addictive painkillers — has long been removed from the walls of the art galleries and museums they showered with money. Lawsuits have been settled. Dozens more are ongoing. Stories of addiction in Appalachia and rustbelt overdose deaths fill bookshop shelves. You can watch the same tale play out on Hulu’s TV series Dopesick.

But America’s lethal addiction crisis is far from over. In fact, it’s worse than ever. According to data published by the Centers for Disease Control published this week, more than 100,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in the 12 months between April 2020 an April 2021. It is the first time the figure has reached six figures over a year-long period and represents a 28% jump on the previous 12 months.

As I have reported before for UnHerd, the pandemic quickly undid what limited progress had been made in the fight against opioids before 2020. Lockdowns left recovering addicts alone and starved of the human contact that is so central to staying sober. Relapses spiked, and with them deaths. “Isolation is the opposite of what you need for recovery,” one pastor in West Virginia told me.

But the pandemic is only one dimension of what amounts to a serious public health emergency. And the prescription pills peddled by Big Pharma that most people think of when they hear the words “opioid crisis” aren’t the biggest problem. Today’s battle is against two synthetic drugs: one that kills with terrifying ease, another that creates zombified and desperate addicts almost overnight. These have transformed America’s drug landscape, and rendered obsolete a lot of conventional wisdom about drug use, addiction and the proper policy responses. They are not the drugs fondly remembered by ex-hippie Boomers.

“I don’t know any longtime fentanyl users,” one addict-turned-counselor tells the journalist Sam Quinones in The Least Of Us, his new book on America’s metastasising addiction crisis and the two drugs at its heart. “They all die.”

Today, fentanyl is responsible for the majority of drug deaths in America. In tiny doses it gives users a high that resembles the blissed-out pain relief delivered by heroin or prescription pills. But it is far stronger and more deadly. In anything other than those microscopic quantities, it will kill you. The other drug central to the latest phase of the addiction crisis is methamphetamine, in particular a kind cooked up using a method known as P2P, which uses phenyl-2-propanone.

This new meth isn’t like the old meth. “I wouldn’t even call it meth anymore,” an addict-turned-councillor tells Quinones. Some gangs refer to it as “weirdo dope”. One user, Kirsten, explains that it was not the party drug that used to cause her to chat endlessly and crave companionship. After using the new meth, she “had trouble talking, unless it was to herself. She heard voices.” She struggled to eat and rarely left her home: “Her once-pretty smile faded along with the enamel on her teeth, which turned black and abscessed. Her head jerked uncontrollably. She gave her son to her family to keep him safe. By 2016, she was seeing angels and demons
 She began barking like a dog in public.”

Users across America were all experiencing the same thing: paranoia, hallucinations, isolation, uncontrollable limbs, memory loss and garbled speech. Together, fentanyl and meth, Quinones writes, now form “an unmercifully addictive, mind-twisting, and deadly concoction that no one demanded”. That point is crucial. No one asked for this. These designer drugs were not devised with a particular set of consumer tastes in mind.

As The Least Of Us makes clear, they are first and foremost, supply-side innovations. The supply chain found a way of making drugs that were easier to produce than their naturally occurring equivalents; far more addictive, far cheaper. The results have been immensely lucrative — and devastating.

Fentanyl was initially imported with the click of a button from unregulated Chinese producers. After a government clampdown, that then switched to Mexico and domestic production, where the raw ingredients for the rudimentary production process were imported instead of the finished product.

The story with P2P meth is a little more complicated. For years, producers had preferred the method of production that extracted ephedrine, an ingredient used in over-the-counter drugs. Meth was churned out on an industrial scale in Mexico this way, and on a smaller scale in the US, where ephedrine could be found in drugs such as Sudafed. But a clampdown on that substance on both sides of the border led to a different, messier technique. The advantage of the so-called P2P method is that the ingredients are easier to come by: a list of legal and widely available chemicals. The disadvantage is that the methamphetamine it produced is — to simplify a little — a lot dirtier, filled with all sorts of noxious stuff. But the producers didn’t care: it was cheap and easy and meant they could deliver addicts a highly addictive fix with minimal fuss. Again, supply-side issues, not consumer tastes, explained the change.

These are drugs for the age of the gig economy. You don’t need capital, you don’t land, you don’t need armed guards. You just need an internet connection and, for fentanyl, a magic bullet blender (the brand of choice, apparently). As Quinones writes, the gadget “fit snugly with fentanyl’s disruptive allure, which was this: that with minuscule investment of learning and money, anyone — even someone in boxers in his mother’s basement, without education nor connection to mafia or trackers — could now making a killing. And beginning in about 2015, they did.”

In spite of this brave new world of synthetic drugs, we are stuck in the shadow of the Sixties and Seventies and the idea that drug use is “a form of adventure, particularly for a young man who had intellect and a thrill-seeking soul”. But that culture was formed in an era when the drugs were a far cry from the “highly potent marijuana, corrosive methamphetamine, and powerful narcotic pain pills in unprecedented supply”.

The big argument in The Least Of Us is that drugs explain the drugs crisis. That may sound fatuous, but it’s important. Yes, demand matters, but pontificating about the root causes of American unhappiness — post-industrial decline, family breakdown, listlessness and so on — misses the point. The lethal addiction crisis is, first and foremost, about receptors in our brain and the horrifying availability of chemicals that attack them with overwhelming force.

We are dealing with a chemical assault: a woeful mismatch between 21st-century compounds and our stone-age brains. In other words, it’s the drugs, stupid. Put simply, this is a fight for what it means to be human. As Quinones puts it: “Our brains are wondrous, mystifying, complex organs. From them have sprung awesome creations, innovations, inventions. Drugs dim those gorgeous lights to gray obedience. Our brain on drugs resembles the regime that imprisons its great writers, artists, and scientists.”

By messing with the pleasure circuits we have evolved in order to eat, have sex, socialise in a group and pass on our genes to the next generation — things that have kept us alive and helped us thrive for millennia — drugs diminish what makes us human, and kill all sense of community. (Understand this and you understand how the pandemic has made the problem so much worse.)

Our blindness to the potency of modern drugs also means we have ignored the spillover effects of addiction. The proliferation of homeless encampments in American communities of all sizes, Quinones argues, is first and foremost a consequence of the new meth: “Homelessness is different now — more prolific, more stationary, less transient,” he writes. “Much of it now is rooted in the voluminous supplies of meth that Mexican traffickers’ switch to the P2P method made possible.” In light of this insight, the focus on “housing-first” approaches to homelessness miss the point.

Ultimately, the twin meth and fentanyl assault on America scrambles conventional debates about drug legalisation and decriminalisation in unpredictable ways. An addiction crisis largely started by over-prescribing addictive pain pills before has become a story of deadly illegal synthetic drugs made with ever-changing combinations of widely available substances. The question of what the law proscribes feels besides the point. On the one hand, Oxycontin and the other addictive painkillers pushed by pharmaceutical companies starting in the Nineties undercuts the legalisers’ claim that a regulated market saves people from abuse. On the other, the restrictionists will never be able to keep up with the labs, who will always be one step ahead in the hunt for cheap, easy-to-manufacture addictive chemical compounds.

First and foremost, the problem is one of supply: the challenge is to find ways to prevent the aggressive marketing, and dramatic increase in supply, of highly addictive, very dangerous drugs — legal or illegal. Here, the emergence of Big Weed and its campaign to sell high doses of THC as part of a healthy lifestyle is surely an ominous development.

For his part, Quinones says his instincts are with the liberals, but is cautious about the consequences. In particular, he believes in the need for continued criminalisation “not as a reason to send someone to prison” but as “leverage we can use to pry users from the dope that will consume them otherwise”. It is not good enough, he argues persuasively, to wait for someone to “hit rock bottom” and seek help. Today, people “are living in tents, screaming at unseen demons, raped, pimped, beaten, unshowered and unfed”.surely  If that’s not rock bottom, what is? When it comes to fentanyl, the answer is death. Coercion must be part of the solution.

The Least Of Us is a bleak wake-up call, but Quinones ends on an upbeat note. Perhaps, he argues, the misery of the drug wave sweeping America will do what other crises haven’t done and bring about much needed community reconstruction.

I’m less optimistic. Not because America’s communities, from small Appalachian towns to big coastal cities, lack resilience. But because of the mismatch between our stone-age brains and terrifyingly addictive drugs. Even as the latest overdose numbers make headlines, America is yet to properly come to terms with the seriousness of what it is up against. However, despite all the bleak headlines and grim statistics, I’m left with the horrible feeling that the country hasn’t quite hit rock bottom.


Oliver Wiseman is the deputy editor of The Spectator World and author of the DC Diary, a daily email from Washington. He is a 2021-22 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow

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Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

Great article, says what I have been shouting into the void all the years on the internet – That Legalization is NOT the answer. That Addiction is not what people think it is at all, and enabling addicts, like Liberals love to do, is doing no one any good – and plenty of harm.

Like you say, if legalization is the answer why did we sue Purdue Pharma?

But the point I liked best is that you explain this is not Demand Driven – it is not lots of people who love drugs having their needs met by dealers and producers – it is the opposite – it is the producers and their agents, the dealers, creating the demand – Then satisfying it.

Drug use, and so Addiction, comes from three directions,

1) fun and excitement and to get over social awkwardness, and to be an adventure and so on – recreation drugs. These tend to be lighter ones and are a phase one goes through and mostly not an addict. This is where the gateway drugs come in. Mostly young people.

2) #1 getting away from you and doing it too much for too long and becoming habitual or addicted, or just an addictive personality who Loves being high – this is likely to be overcome eventually, especially after ‘Rock Bottom’ is hit.

3) despair of spirit, like in covid we talk of deaths of despair. These are the broken people who can blot out their bleakness by getting stoned. They are not very able to get over it as they are just in despair but sober when off drugs, and that is not good. This group are more common than most know, they might not have a drug problem, but they still live in a sort of existential despair – mostly it is a product of growing up never being safe, secure, feeling like part of a community, or loved – as a child and young person, of feeling like people only wish to use you, this is not curable mostly – they are broken, even if they do not look like it, this is what a really bad childhood does. Also PSTD can bring it on as an adult – but mostly the first case.

The first groups can be fixed mostly, but the other – not so much – AND society today is pumping the third kind out in ever increasing numbers. They are the result mostly of broken homes, the underclass, and today’s sick society of post Religion with nothing to replace the community, morals, and family.

It is a social problem, not because of drugs, but because of breakdown of marriage, and the Welfare Trap, and the utterly degenerate values pumped out by the Entertainment industry and the huge amount of criminals who are all in this end of society – it is broken society. It is directly caused by Liberalism, non-judgement-ism, enabling, pandering, tolerating, excusing behaviors we would never accept in anyone who was part of our family – but promoting in the underclass of society. The only fix is society demands better of bad parents, but Liberals will not do so.

‘Life At The Bottom’ a book by T Dalyrimple is about this, but that was back then, now it is much worse… As a society we have created this huge underclass – but as Liberals will not admit such a group (of all races) exists it cannot be addressed. Just look at the rioting in USA – what is that? But one can not comment.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

How about another Un-Herdian view.

You say, “It is a social problem…..because of the breakdown of marriage and the Welfare Trap – it is broken society…caused by Liberalism…pandering…promoting an underclass”

I would agree with all of that but drugs are also attractive to very rich people who don’t get near the welfare system. So, what does it mean at the level of the individual? I would suggest that it comes from the idea that children are people who have rights like adults and thoughts like adults.

In a strange way, in the past children were not people. Often, children came by accident when man met woman. These children led rough lives out in the yard, playing outside in all weathers. Parents fed and clothed them as a duty but they were always inferior (can’t think of a word here so used inferior) and controlled by their parents – sometimes with violence. Today this would be seen as bad parenting.

Today, many people choose to have children and they are very, very special. They are given everything, sweet treats to make them smile, the latest smartphones, no reason to attend family meals, total protection against what lurks outside the house. When the children speak, you have to listen and you have to encourage their views, even if they are stupid.

The result is an adolescent of 12 years who is effectively a God. There is no reason to do anything, no sense of responsibility, no thought of anyone else – just a thing looking for neverending kicks.

The opposite end of the Welfare picture but I see it all the time. Why is this UnHerdian? Because it is an approach which overdoes the idea of Freedom of the Individual.

Last edited 2 years ago by Chris Wheatley
J Hop
J Hop
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I would agree with all of that but drugs are also attractive to very rich people who don’t get near the welfare system. “
Why do you think dysfunction is only in the poor? My family was quite dysfunctional but always middle class. My mother’s family was full of incest yet they looked from the outside like a respectable family. The US President has a son who was obviously raised in a very dysfunctional home. My husband came from a very poor yet emotionally healthy family. It’s not just about income.

Dapple Grey
Dapple Grey
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

‘Why do you think dysfunction is only in the poor’
Its not, but I don’t think dysfunction is the cause of addiction. If it was then every person from dysfunctional families would be addicts.
Also if one looks hard enough one can find dysfunctional aspects to every family.
Addicts and alcoholics come from all backgrounds – that is evident at AA and NA meetings. Also addicts always blame others for their condition – ‘my parents were too strict/too liberal/too many boundaries/no boundaries/ too much money/ not enough money/ hated school so it’s school’s fault’ etc etc. You hear people say ‘oh he took drugs because his wife left him and he lost his job’. Far more likely he lost his job and his wife left him because of his using.

J Hop
J Hop
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I never fully understood the legalization route. Remember Big Tobacco and how large multinational corporations used slick marketing to addict millions of people to an addictive substance for profit? Now switch tobacco for heroin. Yeah…
Also, there will still likely be an underground market for this stuff since people will always crave the harder stuff as their addiction progresses, and unless you want to make fatal dosages legal, there will be black market demand. My guess is you go into Walmart at first to get the legal stuff, and then as your addiction surpasses what can be legally sold, you head out back to get your next dose out of a van in the alley of Walmart.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

Part of the argument around legalisation is the theoretical possibility of tightly controlling the quality of the end product (to avoid some of the medical problems alluded to in this article) + the probability of the finished product being taxed – generating revenues for rehab programmes.
The Portugese of course, decriminalised the public and private use, acquisition, and possession of all drugs in 2000, choosing to take a more holistic public health approach to the problem. The results of this policy have been mixed as detailed in this very comprehensive but rather politically biased (IMHO) paper published in July 2021 :
“20 years of Portuguese drug policy – developments, challenges and the quest for human rights” Rego et al in Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
About 50% of the world’s medical grade opium poppy alkaloids are produced in Australia. There was a notion circulating about 10 years ago that some of these contracts should be lifted and given to poppy growers in Afghanistan as a way of providing regular income for impoverished farmers there, loosening the grip of the Taliban and introducing a regulatory bureaucracy to that country, by stealth. A way too innovative idea for the average policy wonk I would guess.

Last edited 2 years ago by Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

Thanks to the author for an insightful article.
The latest iteration of drugs are too powerful and dehumanize people. All self control is lost. I’ve no idea what is the solution to this problem. The US had its famous war on drugs (little effect); it hunted down and imprisoned drug king pins like El Chapo (little effect). It’s currently trying to decriminalize drug possession and use but given the extreme potency of these drugs I doubt that will have much effect unless huge sums are invested in treatment, counselling and extensive social support for addicts.
Are these drugs how the developed world culls its less productive members who are least adapted to the relentless competition of a globalized economy? (yes, I know how cynical that question sounds).

Ernesto Garza
Ernesto Garza
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

It really is not cynical. It is the most stark choice since the Garden of Eden. Eat the apple and lose paradise. Try the drug (just once, what could be the harm?) and lose ……

Laura Cattell
Laura Cattell
2 years ago

There is never going to be a solution to this issue. Gazillions have literally been poured down a bottomless drain. Anyone with a serious drug problem can only help themselves. No amount of intervention is going to do it for them. The sooner the powers that be understand that the better.

Dapple Grey
Dapple Grey
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Cattell

Exactly this. No one can stop an alcoholic or addict from drinking or using. If there was a way of stopping them then there wouldn’t be alcoholism and addiction.

J Hop
J Hop
2 years ago

I have tremendous sympathy for victims of severe trauma who turn to these drugs often knowing their destructive properties but who are too desperate for relief to care. Yet I am hesitant to admit I am lacking patience with the rest. Who doesn’t know that these drugs are horrible and destructive? I remember watching Dope Sick and a user said “it could happen to anybody” speaking of heroin addiction. No! What, you’re just walking down the street and BAM, you’re a heroin addict? More like “it could happen to anybody stupid enough to start using heroin”.
At what point do we just get fed up and say you are an idiot of massive proportion if you pick up this crap to begin with? Again, I excuse somewhat the abused teen who doesn’t care whether they live or die they just want to go someplace happy when stepdaddy visits their room again at 2am but seriously.. at what point can I stop caring about stupid people doing stupid, destructive things?
The pendulum has swung too far from blanket demonization to blanket compassion. We need a little more balance.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

I lost my only son (at age 25) to an overdose. He suffered from Crohn’s disease and was introduced to prescription opioids as a means of relief from the pain he experienced after two resections of his colon. Otherwise, he was an honorable young man, studying to become a nurse after receiving his paramedic’s certificate. He knew all too well what happens with these drugs.
He admitted to me, while he was in a treatment program, that the drugs made him feel like the world was perfect. Obviously, he eventually got addicted, but then sought treatment. After a period of being clean for 6 weeks, he had a one-time failure of resolve and drove himself in the middle of the night to downtown Chicago and bought a dose. His bank record showed that he withdrew $40 from his checking account at 1:00 AM. He never woke up the next morning.
He told me a week before he passed that if he took again, it would kill him. His brain chemistry seemed to be impaired to the point that his yearning for that high outweighed everything else.
I don’t know what the government can do to stop this, if anything, at this point. We turn to the government way too often and in way too many instances already. Before we know it, we will all be brain dead, which would certainly make it convenient for our governments to become totalitarian.
In Chicago, which is the heroine distribution capital of the U.S., the politicians all know what is going on. They are reaping the enormous benefits of the ungodly sums of money being generated. And as long as it’s only the poor black men and boys who are killing themselves on the streets day after day after day, peddling their wares and fighting over turf, only the politicians’ lives seem to matter. Certainly not all those black lives that no one outside of Chicago hears about every Monday evening on the news, when they announce the death toll for the weekend.

Marcia McGrail
Marcia McGrail
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

My heart aches for your tragedy — I pray you find solace in faith in God. A great many fatal overdoses, from a dose that would seem petty in the context of addiction, follow a period of abstention in which the body is cleansed; can ‘relax’, but the loss of tolerance shocks the brain and other organs into catastrophic failure.

Helen Tye Talkin
Helen Tye Talkin
2 years ago

Important article. Tragic and ironic that America and the west now have the curse of widespread drug addiction when the colonial powers formerly stoked opium addiction amongst the Chinese. It’s a hard dragon to slay. When I volunteered for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advicates) – for children in the care/dependency system in CA – the main underlying cause of family breakdown was drug addiction.

Harry Child
Harry Child
2 years ago

If my maths is correct the very sad 100,000 deaths due to this drug addiction involved 0.03% of the American population. Obviously it is a serious problem for some parts of America, but the usual press headlines enjoy scaremongering

Philip L
Philip L
2 years ago
Reply to  Harry Child

The population isn’t your denominator here. More than two thirds of these overdose deaths were A. males and B. aged between 25 and 54.

Sandra Shreve
Sandra Shreve
2 years ago

They say identifying the problem is half-way to the solution. However, the only solutions that actually work are solutions no one wants to entertain: bomb the drug cartels and salt the earth underneath them, militarize the border, enact severe criminal penalties on those who sell drugs, institute serious rehab with involuntary commitment for those who use them, penalize China for every milligram of fentanyl that ends up on our shores, introduce serious drug-awareness program in every classroom, and so on. Too ruthless, they say. Too difficult. We can’t do it, they say.
I say: Why not?! This is a pandemic far deadlier than Covid or even the plague because there is no end in sight!
Do you want to solve the problem and save this country from itself, or do you just want to lament the fact that the problem exists?

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
2 years ago

There are two groups of people to blame for the opiate crisis – big pharma who developed the synthetic opioids and the doctors who didn’t have the balls to tell their patients that they couldn’t help their pain.
I hold the latter group more responsible because they have a code of ethics and a training that told them that opioids should not be prescribed for chronic pain unless in the terminally ill. This all went out of the windows in the late 80’s and early 90’ when physicians put their name to clinical trials that appeared to demonstrate the opposite. The situation is not quite so bad in the UK because we saw what was happening in the US and doctors are less financially dependent on individual patients. However, we still have far too many doctors who fear their patients or are convinced of their own infallibility and go on prescribing these drugs.

The medical profession needs to put its own house in order and regulators need to make it clear to their doctors what their true responsibilities are.

J Hop
J Hop
2 years ago

Doctors aren’t prescribing fentanol and meth. When I had my c-section it was practically impossible to get pain relief prescribed. “Take Tylenol” was the response to having been cut open. This may have been true in the past but not for the past decade or so and it’s not driving the current crisis.

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

Your doctors didn’t prescribe to to you. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of doctors who have been prescribing indiscriminately. Things are changing but my point remains that this epidemic was medically driven.

Karl Schuldes
Karl Schuldes
2 years ago

Aren’t you leaving one group out? The same group that everyone leaves out- the patients who get a buzz off the pain killers and get refills they don’t need. Most people don’t do that. Shouldn’t they get a bit of the blame?

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
2 years ago
Reply to  Karl Schuldes

Yes but they wouldn’t be on the drugs if they hadn’t been prescribed.

Ralph Hanke
Ralph Hanke
2 years ago

I think it may well depend on how you look at it.
At the species level, 100,000 is trivial.
At the individual level, one is too many.

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
2 years ago

While others may regret their deaths, how sure are we that those who die through these drugs regret the path they are taking?
As well as the people who see it all as a sort of adventure, surely there are many for whom it is a quite comprehensible and realistic response to the life circumstances they face.
We fail to respect their dignity and autonomy by attempting to restrict their supplies.

Matty D
Matty D
2 years ago

This article ignores the violence that is caused by the illegal drugs trade. This has a huge cost in, for example, Central America. Legalisation would stop this, as it did in 1933 and the end of prohibition.

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago

Fascinating article, even the drugs our biology have had the longest to adapt to regularly cause addition problems in people, alcohol and nicotine. As a species we only have about 100 years experience with caffeine, these new designer ones sound insane.

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

I’m sorry? Doesn’t tea contain caffeine? Haven’t people been drinking that for centuries, if not millennia? When did people first start drinking coffee?

J Hop
J Hop
2 years ago

Also chocolate!

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

True, but it’s a well known fact that women have a natural tolerance to every chemical in chocolate so can eat any quantity without adverse effects (waist-line excepted), in fact it is a positive good! I sincerely believe this and will listen to no contradictory arguments.

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
2 years ago

Fair play. I had a liquorice all-sorts problem. There was a family intervention, some serious soul searching and a good deal of embarrassment on my part.
I don’t really want to discuss it.
I lost it… totally lost it.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Karl Francis

I wish I could say that I just said No to liquorice all-sorts, but the little soft discs covered in tiny sugary balls were just too much for my weak will. I could often be seen in a corner, box tipped onto the floor, desperately searching for these items. No intervention came my way, so as I got older I moved on to the harder stuff Chocolate!!

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Not sure about those facts, but biology certainly come into play. Not everyone who takes pain killers become addicted, as not everyone who is a social drinker becomes an alcoholic.
Addictive personalities are unique individuals who, for some unknown and known reasons, become addicted very easily to the “high”. I remember fully the euphoria I experienced while taking a powerful narcotic pain killer after having 2 broken ribs. However, I was able to limit my intake to 2 doses, during the most excruciating part, and moved on from there. I can certainly understand how someone with a different chemistry or circumstances can become addicted to that feeling. Thankfully, I knew it was artificial at the time.

J S
J S
2 years ago

Optimism alone is pointless. It must be driven by externals. There are no externals to be optimistic about in our rapid societal decline. Europe take note, do not legalize and sentimentalize this insanity too.