Advertisements

Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Heroin and the Specter of Uselessness

Here is a great article on the heroin epidemic in the US that results in many more overdoses than the crack epidemic of the 1980s.

The mental health field is so useless at dealing with addiction that directors of mental health programs send out lists of “correct” terminology to describe addiction:

We are not supposed to say “drug abuse”; use “substance use disorder” instead. To say that an addict’s urine sample is “clean” is to use “words that wound”; better to say he had a “negative drug test.” “Binge drinking” is out—“heavy alcohol use” is what you should say. Bizarrely, “attempted suicide” is deemed unacceptable; we need to call it an “unsuccessful suicide.”

Fuss about language is all they can do, it seems. 

Heroin, it turns out, kills 4 times more people each year than gun homicide. The attention it gets, however, is incomparable with the attention paid to gun violence. 

This wave of drug overdoses is a real tragedy, a real horror. The surplus people with whom the specter of uselessness has caught up are being eliminated through addiction. There are not nearly enough conversations about this. 

Advertisements

Single Post Navigation

24 thoughts on “Heroin and the Specter of Uselessness

  1. matt on said:

    one big issue with the overdoses is the drugs aren’t pure. mixing fentanyl and cartfentanil causes many (I have seen some analyses saying majority, although all drug research on illicit drugs seems sketchy) of the overdoes. Those two can be 50-200 times more potent than heroin, and dealers love to use them because they can increase their profit margins by using less of the expensive heroin.

    There is no easy answer, but I know the criminalization of drugs both increases overdoses and leads to gangs domestically to sell it, and cartels internationally.

    The libertarians are closer to the solution here of full legalization. In my opinion you can / should still have a few restrictions, but not many.

    Despite mentioning the opioid crisis here I don’t remember your take on the govt. policy / war on drugs. Curious of what you think.

    Like

    • “The libertarians are closer to the solution here of full legalization. In my opinion you can / should still have a few restrictions, but not many.”

      Sure, let’s drug everybody to the gills to make sure that they sit very very quietly and don’t prevent Trump and Co from selling the whole country piece by piece to the Russians.

      Like

      • Evelina Anville on said:

        I do think the deaths would decrease if we legalized (and regulated) many drugs. It would also decrease the gang wars and could make many inner cities safer. Legalization wouldn’t solve the addiction problem of course but it would make the epidemic a bit less destructive.

        Like

        • Oxy is legal. It’s legal heroin. And it created complete horror.

          I highly recommend the book Dreamland by Sam Quinones. It’s all about what happened when heroin was legalized in the form of Oxycodone.

          Like

          • Evelina Anville on said:

            Oh I know a bit about the oxy epidemic. Oxycodin wasn’t sufficiently regulated in my view. (Unscrupulous sales rep sold to even more unscrupulous doctors who prescribed it with abandon to teenagers with minor injuries. Disgusting.) But even with the tragedy of the oxy epidemic, it is still less deadly than heroin overall: fewer (if any) gang wars, less illegal trafficking etc. etc.

            I don’t think legalizing drugs will solve everything of course. But just as Prohibition didn’t decrease rates of alcoholism and gave birth to the Mafia, I think making drugs illegal has only served to worsen the tragedy.

            Like

            • ” But even with the tragedy of the oxy epidemic, it is still less deadly than heroin overall: fewer (if any) gang wars, less illegal trafficking etc. etc.”

              • The reason why there are fewer gang wars over black-tar heroin is that new marketing and sales techniques are used by cartels in selling it. They don’t need to fight for territory because they don’t sell these drugs at the corner. They deliver, like pizza.

              “I don’t think legalizing drugs will solve everything of course.”

              • In Russia, there is no war on drugs and you can buy hallucinogens, ecstasy-type pills, codeine, etc from machines placed in the streets so that any kid any age can buy them easily. This in no way improved the situation with gang violence, which is extreme. All it achieved is that the younger population is literally dying off. But the owners of companies that legally operate these drug dispensing machines are all on the Forbes billionaire list. I’m not sure what makes this model so attractive that people would like to emulate it here.

              Like

          • matt on said:

            And no one who has a prescription for oxy kills over it. 100% the gang violence would go down.

            Overdoses would also go down due to knowing what you are actually taking.

            Now usage would go up initially, and uncertain the long-term effect.

            In terms of addiction, its debatable, because any responsible plan would use billions of dollars a year to fund adequate treatment for those addicted. Upwards of 80% of those who use heroin or other opiods don’t become traditional addicts. For the other 20% (or whatever the exact number is), lets fund real treatment options where cirminal indictment is not an issue for them or the family that wants to support them.

            Sure some will mock the idea “lets make it legal, then use taxes on it to fund those who can’t handle it”. And to that many of us say, exactly.

            Less violence, less cyclical poverty due to gangs / high imprisonmnet, less money wasted on incarceration and imprisonment, more freedom.

            With the caveat of not knowing exactly how high usage will go, but as long as the consequences didn’t screw the rest of the community then i am not sure why you want to be so obstrusive into other’s choices. Feel good though that you are actually with most conservatives on this – social conservatives that is.

            Ironic that evelina and I seem to agree.. first for everything!

            Like

            • “And no one who has a prescription for oxy kills over it. 100% the gang violence would go down.”

              • Sure, the gangsters will get jobs at Walmart instead. That’s a given. After statements like that, I’ve got to ask what it is that you are on because it sounds very potent. :-)))

              Like

  2. adrianaurelien on said:

    Heroin gets a ton of attention where I am, but I’m in Ohio. We also recently had a horrible “heroin week” in Cincinnati where 174 people OD’d in 6 days, and that viral picture of two parents who OD’d in a car in front of their child. It’s both one of the top issues facing Ohio and one of the top issues Ohioans care about most. That’s why Senator Portman got some Hillary voters: he talks a good talk about heroin addiction and has worked on legislation to help with it (although his opposition to the ACA makes that all feel hollow.)

    Like

    • “We also recently had a horrible “heroin week” in Cincinnati where 174 people OD’d in 6 days, and that viral picture of two parents who OD’d in a car in front of their child.”

      • This is so horrible. :-((((( But hey, reader Matt must be happy because frrrrrreedom!!!

      Like

      • matt on said:

        a good majority od’d because they don’t know what they are taking.

        Also their are not adequate treatment facilities for them.

        Also they are excluded from main stream society because the illegality of the culture even further alienates them.

        Good job being ignorant… for you certainly are on this.

        Like

        • The problem is not being alienated by illegality or taking dangerous stuff… the problem is that reality is so unbearable for people that they drug themselves to death.

          Glib libertarian “solutions” are not about the problem at all (because since when does suffering of other people bother libertarians? Never as far as I can tell.

          Make reality less unbearable for more people and the drug problems will mostly go away… but that requires societal solutions not individual consumer solutions.

          Liked by 1 person

          • “the problem is that reality is so unbearable for people that they drug themselves to death.”

            • Exactly. That’s exactly it. And that’s what I want to discuss, not childish fantasies about how everybody needs more “frrrrrreeeeedom.”

            “Make reality less unbearable for more people and the drug problems will mostly go away… but that requires societal solutions not individual consumer solutions.”

            • Absolutely. Legal Oxy or semi-legal heroin – people who are trying to self-destruct and escape will find their poison. This can only be addressed from the side of the demand.

            As for the idea that gang violence exists because drugs are illegal and if drugs were legalized, gangsters would all seek jobs at McDonald’s and live productive lives, I have got to wonder how people can believe something like this. Gangsters are who they are not because drugs are illegal but because they are gangsters. They don’t want to work at Walmart. Or anywhere. They want to live the life of crime for a million of reasons stemming from how their entire life has been.

            Like

        • “Good job being ignorant… for you certainly are on this.”

          • Didn’t I warn you that one more tantrum on your part and I’ll ban you? I don’t tolerate unhinged hysterics on my blog.

          Go away and don’t come back for a month.

          Like

  3. DWeird on said:

    Clarissa, would you be okay with heroin addiction if it caused no deaths at all? My guess is no, because, as far as I can tell, you view the kind of life an addict has as deficient for reasons other than the fact that they’re likely to die earlier.

    But you have not really presented reasons as to why you think that – the discussion you opened was “how do we avoid heroin addict deaths?”

    Like

    • \ as far as I can tell, you view the kind of life an addict has as deficient for reasons other than the fact that they’re likely to die earlier. But you have not really presented reasons as to why you think that …

      I think cliff answered that with “the problem is that reality is so unbearable for people that they drug themselves to death.”

      In my own words: people want to be truly happy in the real world, and addictions provide a way to deal with feeling oneself a total miserable failure at life. People whose lives are satisfactory (not perfect but OK) do not search for any way to forget what their life is like in reality regardless of the cost.

      Of course, once one starts taking drugs, the chances of improving one’s life practically disappear, so it’s a vicious circle in several ways.

      Like

      • “People whose lives are satisfactory (not perfect but OK) do not search for any way to forget what their life is like in reality regardless of the cost.”

        • Even if one is not aware of it, the fact of addiction shows that the trauma is there.

        “Of course, once one starts taking drugs, the chances of improving one’s life practically disappear, so it’s a vicious circle in several ways.”

        • Exactly. It’s not like alcoholism where you at least have spells of mental clarity. It’s being in a state of altered conscience all the time. And if a heroin addict stays 100% clean for 2 years, then and only then he gets a tiny, minuscule chance of maybe at some point kicking the addiction. This is the most addictive stuff of all. It changes the brain structure and good luck changing it back.

        Like

    • There is no addiction that just happens or exists in a vacuum. Every addiction grows out of a trauma. And an addiction such as heroin grows out of extremely severe trauma. With heroin, people are trying to medicate a suppurating sore, a bleeding wound. As people age, the wound only gets bigger until it eats the person whole and destroys his or her children. And their children. And the children of the children. Until somebody breaks the tragic chain and treats the wound.

      Like

  4. All consenting adults should have the right to get any drug they want. Of course, selling those drugs minors should be prohibited. The War on drugs for consenting adults is way more dangerous than drug consumption. The War on drugs is a scam embezzling the welfare funds to enrich the organized crime, lawyers, judges, cops and prison employees.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: