[ibogaine] Re: A Rant from Brain Ailment Not a Moral Lapse

Rick Venglarcik RickV at hnncsb.org
Thu Oct 2 12:33:34 EDT 2003

I think the problem that most folks have with the concept of addiction as a disease is the desire to over-simplify the issue in regard to  trying to categorize and differentiate various drugs as "physically" addicting versus something that is "psychologically" addicting, however one wants to spin the terminology (compulsion, craving, impulse, learned behavior, etc.).

ALL drugs enter the body, exert their primary effects in relation to neurobiological functions of the brain, and alter said functions for a temporary period of time.  The research would seem to indicate that extended use of just about any sort of psychoactive chemical will result in some  sort of "permanent" modification of physiological structure.  So, in essence, most psychoactive drugs are "physically" addicting, but each displays its own particular "withdrawal" effects through different mechanisms...i.e., compulsion is rooted in some sort of either temporary or "permanent" alteration in brain function.  As such, one can say just about any sort of chemical use or pattern of behavior is physical, with many effects merely manifesting themselves through behavior, emotions, compulsions, etc.

So is addiction a disease?  Yes and No.  Can it be effectively overcome? Absolutely.  However, once brain structure and function has been altered, one will be left with some longer lasting, perhaps even permanent, alterations.  The individual will most likely remain "primed" to use substances, and all it takes to move back into that behavior would be the right environmental/psychological/behavioral cuing.  Thus, e.g., go to the dentist, get a legitimate scrip for percodan, and bingo...the pump gets primed, and the former "addict" might very well be off to the races.  And some times, the engine doesn't start with the first blast of primer, but eventually, the engine will typically respond after a few more applications.

I think this is the reason that so many people fail to overcome the issues they recognize as problems...BOX-THINK...a belief that human behavior can be neatly categorized and that we can come up with THE WAY or THE PROGRAM that we can apply to everyone.  We are all genetically different, so that sort of approach makes no logical sense.  Likewise, most people fail to recognize that all the various things methods that effectuate positive change essentailly do a lot of the same things at a neurophysiological level.  Thus, one might learn to play a piano and become a highly talented concert pianist.  It takes years to become this accomplished, and is a result of activity and changes going on in the brain.  The person could then stop playing completely for years without much difficulty...they get a real job, go to school, whatever.  Twenty-five years later, they would not be able to sit down and play at the same level. It would take some time to get back to the same level of ability...nonetheless, this length of time would be nowhere near the length of time as it would take someone who is starting from scratch.

I think we are generally on the same page re: legalization.  I tend more toward decriminalization.  Nonetheless, it would likely never happen.  Follow the money trail.  There is simply way too much profit for the powers-that-be in keeping certain drugs illegal.  Follow the $$$ far enough and you will understand how and why that is the case.

>>> deartheo at ziplip.com 10/02/03 11:12AM >>>
I think it blurs the reality of the situation when you start (as usually is done) grouping all drugs as the same, especially if you start saying that using a substance (all of them?) is a disease.  For opioid addiction, yes absolutely it is a physical condition that should (but most often is not) covered by insurance (methadone clinics are not covered by insurance for example).  But even crack-cocaine isn't PHYSICALLY addicting, nor are hallucinogens or marijuana; but ironically enough alcohol if used daily for some time IS physically addicting.  The fact is each individual drug deserves its own investigation because they are not the same.  Unfortunately, to find the truth out from experience is to bite off more then one can chew usually.  So the majority of people (especially parents) go with the flow of misinformation given by gov't sponsored indoctrination programs usually taught by a police officer with a gun, and who in there right mind would argue with someone with a gun.

I have found that I agree with what the Rational Recovery people say more then the 12 step addiction is a disease' way of thinking.  In other words, i don't want my future self to continue to be plagued by my past, it is a matter to some extent of self identity (i am not a former junkie but a person) and keeping consistent on not throwing my hands up in the air saying "fuck it" is essential.

Could you say the same if chocolate were outlawed?  I do believe their is a behavior of an 'addict', someone who can't own a espresso machine because they will drink 20 cups in an hour, but how often (if not opioids) does it really hurt physically if they stop whatever they choose that day (speed and cocaine and even marijuana users find themselves in 12 step programs)?  To me that is compulsion not real addiction, and compulsion can be easily learned and with time and sincerity can be unlearned.
  It appears to me that the way the systM is set up to use scare tactics to "keep the majority of people from trying it even once" are a direct contributor to peoples willingness to experiment with new substances after trying marijuana for the first time after being told marijuana is as bad as heroin and finding out through personal experience how safe it is wrongfully assume that the rest of the substances are as safe as marijuana, which with the possible exception of natural hallucinogens, they are not.  And the truth continues to be buried in so much misinformation and the truth from experience is stigmatized by misinformation supporters who are tying to pass bills like the Victory Act, linking even drug USE with international terrorism with penalties that are way more then any violent rapist would receive.  And don't get me started on how politicians and media group non-violent crime and violent crime as simply "crime", again blurring the reality of the situation.

So lets ask ourselves, why politicians aren't getting the legalization     message to end economic opportunities for terrorist that would otherwise not be there.  To be honest, their are very few US citizens who feel safe saying it.  Even people who have never done a drug in their life see the logic in legalization, but to be in gov't and speaking this is political blasphemy and political suicide, or so they think.  And we have to consider the drug cartels prohibition creates have plenty of money to line the pocketbooks of US politicians, US Gov't agencies, and US Banks for Fractal Reserve Banking, where the number one borrower, the US Gov't can borrow up to 10 times what the bank has.  Not to mention the convenience of having an illegal trade to help some of our poor "friend" nations or uprisings of enemy nations to help fund their efforts.  We can't even have a national debate about legalization because technically the RAVE ACT (passed as an attachment to a very legitimate National 'Amber Alert' Bill) gives authorities the legal authority to harass the organizer and shut the event down.  They have already enforced the RAVE ACT with a NORML chapter meeting.  I guess to test the waters.  But we seem not to act unless the news media tells us to react.

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