Compassion for addicts…

I have been toying with the idea of eventually putting together a documentary showing what heroin addiction is really like. I have the ability to go places, and see people who would otherwise remain invisible. Although I have cut ties with most of the people I used to use with, I still keep a few loyal friends close by. Addicts are not bad because they are addicts, but this sometimes gets lost in the whole war on drugs mentality. If ever a war has failed it is this one. Drugs have become more available, purer and cheaper than ever before. Arguing this war should continue is pure madness. We have wasted so much time demonising addicts whether it be heroin, crack or alcohol. We need to switch drugs from a criminal issue to a healthcare issue.

When I look at America I feel the lack of a public health service, as well as the strict regulations on those who prescribe drugs like methadone or Suboxone. I’m not 100% sure on this, but I seem to remember seeing that some methadone clinics are partially funded, meaning addicts don’t have to pay the full cost of the prescription. I could be wrong here so please correct me if so. Over here in the UK if you’re not in work you are entitled to free healthcare, ranging from prescriptions to major surgery. It is all free and paid for with taxes and national insurance. We have plenty of problems in the UK, and current governments want to privatise the NHS but at the moment we still have it and need to fight to keep it publc. Every country should have free healthcare funded via taxes instead of turning healthcare into a for profit business.

Recently generic buprenorphine prices skyrocketed in the UK, meaning drug services up and down the countries saw costs soar. In some cases increases of 700% was seen. This has meant many are being switched onto methadone which is far cheaper. Even though our politics and views on drugs are far more compassionate and liberal compared to United States, we do still have plenty who believe the lies spread by mainstream media. Most media outlets run scare stories about drugs rather than informing their viewers/readers. Many think heroin addicts are lazy weak people, when in fact funding and keeping any opiate habit going is a full time job. You don’t have time to sit around watching TV and sleeping in. It is this area where I feel methadone and similar alternatives get the most value. My methadone script allows me to cut ties with drug users and dealers. I don’t have to get up and commit crime to get enough money to score, rinse then repeat day in day out 365 days a year. The stress, anxiety and withdrawals are kept at bay and in my case I can write this blog, run websites and do normal things, many take for granted.

I think views are changing around drugs and with the whole medical cannabis over in the US we are seeing the war on drugs breaking down. People are learning drugs aren’t automatically bad or dangerous. Education and treatment will hopefully become the focus sooner rather than later. US jails are packed with non violent offenders, many of which are there for drugs related charges. I think the US government is seeing this approach is simply not sustainable. It also has knock on effects in the community including broken homes which in turn creates more damaged people.

One thought on “Compassion for addicts…

  1. I have always thanked God I wasn’t American, if you are a drug user there you might as well be in a third world country, you’re lucky if you get access to treatment and you can end up doing very long prison sentences for small things. Basically if you’re poor and American you’re stuffed but if you’re a drug addict it’s worse. It’s great to read another British persons story as most addicts who write online are American. Good writing! X

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