The Not So Quick Fix
Our society functions with the idea that a drug will solve all our problems. Are you in pain? Here’s a pill. Do you have a headache? Here is another pill. Are you sad? Pill! Drug problem? Here's a pill to solve your drug problem. Our world revolves around the concept that drugs are the solution to all of mankind’s problems. Unfortunately, the truth is much more insidious than that.
For the last 150 years, we have been trying to battle addiction with another drug, only to result in that drug becoming the next problem. Take for example morphine. Morphine was extracted from the opium plant and administered to wounded during the American Civil War. Unfortunately, many got addicted to this powerful drug. Years following the war, morphine abuse reached an all-time high affecting many and becoming a serious problem, not only in the US but in other countries as well.
In 1874, scientists started trying to find a less addictive form of morphine and came up with heroin. Heroin started becoming the solution to the abuse of morphine, as well as a powerful ingredient in other medicine. Soon it became clear that heroin had twice the strength of morphine, and in the decades to come, it became the biggest problem of all. Years after misuse and abuse, the United States made heroin illegal in 1924 and it has been illegal ever since.
Methadone was first made in 1937 by two scientists, Max Bockmühl and Gustav Ehrhart, who were trying to find a drug that wasn’t as addictive as heroin. After WWII, the US obtained the rights to the drug from war requisitions and later coined the name “methadone.” After 1947, the US introduced methadone as the less addictive painkiller, but it was eventually used to treat heroin addiction. And so the story continues to today…
The real problem is that we are trying to cover up addiction with another drug with the promise that it won't be as addictive as the drug we are trying to handle. The truth of the matter is that drugs cannot be the solution to drug addiction. What should be done instead of covering up the problem, is to solve the underlying issues that cause the individual to turn to drugs in the first place. Anything else becomes a band-aid covering an infection that will never stop spreading until we attack the infection itself.
- The National Alliance of Methadone Advocates. (2002). “Basic Pharmacology of Methadone: How Methadone Works, Part 2.” Retrieved December 2, 2002.