Why Potentially Addictive Drugs Are Not a “Fix” for Anything

Depressed woman is at home in afternoon.

I would hazard to say that America has become the land of the quick fix; the nation where we jump for band-aid approaches and fast solutions to problems. Americans move fast and tend not to linger on things.

In a lot of ways, it is to our credit that Americans move with rapidity and that we appreciate quick solutions to problems. We’ve built what might be the most powerful country in the world in less than 250 years. And we built it out of a driving passion for getting things done and for reaching new heights—and doing so quickly.

But there’s a downfall to not fixing problems the right way. Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the American race to the top that we apply a wrong “solution” to a problem.

A classic example is the American blue-collar worker, the John Doe who takes opioid painkillers for back pain. He does this instead of using more time-consuming, yet safer, remedies. Before he knows it, he’s formed a dependency on his doctor-prescribed OxyContin. He’s never struggled with addiction before in his life. But now the band-aid “quick fix” that his doctor prescribed him is causing a bigger problem for him than his back pain ever did.

The United States is stuck amid the worst opioid addiction epidemic in our history thanks to millions of situations like the one above. It would seem that our reliance on quick fixes has become our Achilles Heel.

How the Opioid Epidemic Began

In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical manufacturers began to pressure doctors to prescribe opiate painkillers more. They promised doctors that these pills did not present an addiction risk and that they had few side effects. As doctors began to prescribe more opioid drugs, it immediately led to widespread diversion and misuse of the drugs, with addiction soon to follow. It became evident very quickly that the drugs could be addictive and did have dangerous side effects. But by then, it was too late.

Quoting the National Institute on Drug Abuse: “In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. That same year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers.”

“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.”

Fio Magliola, a contributor to the Narconon Arrowhead blog and a staff member at the Narconon Arrowhead treatment center, wrote on this subject stating: “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.”

And she’s spot-on. For some reason, we are encouraged to seek relief from physical and mental problems in the form of quick and easy chemical solutions. But the chemical solution often ends up being more problematic than the original problem we were trying to solve.

Addictive Drugs Offered as a Quick Fix to Get Off of Drugs?

Pill on a hand
In a seemingly endless march to the drumbeat of quick fixes, another treatment approach has gained some advocacy as a method for addressing the drug problem—namely, Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT. The concept is to prescribe a drug to an addict to help him not use the other drugs that he is or was addicted to.

The only problem is that this “solution” ends up trading one dependency for another. Before he knows it, the individual is simply hooked on a legal and accepted dependence instead of an illegal drug habit, which is just another example of a quick fix that backfired on us.

The Right Way to Get Off Drugs

Peg O’Connor, a professor of philosophy and an addiction blogger, wrote in the New York Times: “As far as treatment goes, there is no one-size-fits approach. Addiction has biological, chemical, social, psychological, and, some would say, spiritual dimensions. Any effective treatment needs to be holistic and recognize this. … As a society, we look for quick fixes. There is no easy or quick fix to addiction. It takes time to develop, and it takes even more time to learn how to live without the substances.”

For a lot of people, it was looking for a “quick fix” that got them hooked on drugs, to begin with. Getting off of drugs is not going to be accomplished with yet another quick fix.

People who struggle with drug addiction cannot just take yet another pill and hope to be better for it. These individuals need access to residential drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers. They need access to programs where they can address all of the many aspects of addiction, as Mrs. O’Connor laid out above.

The solution rests in residential drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers. Such programs offer the safest and most effective means by which those who struggle with addiction can avail themselves of the proper tools for overcoming addiction. An addiction is an accumulation of hard times and life struggles, underlying issues, personal grievances, life crises, lost relationships, struggles with oneself, fights with others, etc.

Narconon Students

No pill or patch can fix that. But a long-term program in a residential setting among experts who know how to address the above issues can provide a recovering addict with tools. And the recovering addict can use those tools to locate and resolve the problems that led to addiction in the first place. If you know someone who is struggling with drug addiction or alcohol misuse, do your best to get them help via a residential treatment center.

Don’t let them palm off their future and a lifetime of recovery because someone told them another pill could solve their problem for them. Make sure they get off drugs the right way with the help of a qualified treatment center.


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Reviewed by Claire Pinelli, ICAADC, CCS, LADC, MCAP, RAS

AUTHOR

Ren

After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.

NARCONON ARROWHEAD

DRUG EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION