Hereís a letter from a methadone maintenance doctor to the NY Times. Below is my response.
To the Editor:
At first glance, most readers might find it difficult to relate to your article
regarding the 1.5 million heroin addicts in Pakistan (front page, April 19),
other than with a detached sense of horror.
However, America is not so very different. According to a recent
statement by Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, director of the Office of National
Drug Control Policy, there are approximately one million American
citizens who are addicted to heroin. Over 80 percent of them have
absolutely no access to treatment.
Treatment, particularly methadone maintenance, works, and is relatively
inexpensive. Treatment of this kind provides incalculable benefits to
heroin users and the general community.
As your article states, Pakistan is believed to have so many heroin
addicts because of "geography, geopolitics, corruption and poverty."
What is our excuse?
ROBERT G. NEWMAN, M.D.
New York, April 20, 2000
The writer is president of Continuum Health Partners.
Dear letters: Re: A World of Heroin, NY Times letters, 4/25/00. The above letter was written by one of the
largest methadone pushers in the country. In fact, there is a massive methadone maintenance (MM)
business across the country that purports to help heroin addicts by switching them to methadone in the
name of treatment and recovery. Donít get me wrong, Iím not against MM. Iím for it in the right
context, the Hypoism context, not in the invalid context Dr. Newman suggests. The methadone doctors
like Newman see methadone as a first step, heroin to methadone, problem fixed, rather than as the last
one. He calls it treatment. He calls it recovery. This is not only wrong, itís malpractice in my opinion.
Once on methadone, always on methadone (for the most part). MM may be better than using heroin on
the street, but it is far from recovery. In fact, it precludes recovery. Recovery implies freedom, safety,
concurrent help with all other problems addicts experience in life, not just getting off heroin. MM
supplies none of this. The worst part of the MM scheme is that the addicts never get a good shot at real
recovery because they get switched to methadone before recovery is even attempted. These addicts
never have a chance to experience all the benefits of drug free recovery. This is because the MM
doctors donít know what that is. They donít, for the most part, know anything about the disease that
causes addiction in the first place nor are they recovering heroin addicts themselves. They know what
the book says and what they see, but that information is fallaceous and wrong. Am I wrong? Are
addictions under control like other medical conditions that are based on valid premises? Absolutely not.
MM doctors also have financial conflicts of interest. Recovery is free and unprofitable to them. Their
personal perception of heroin addiction compared to MM is quite warped. Thus, they have no problem
switching heroin addicts to methadone. Even the hapless addicts applaud methadone, but only because
they never experienced real recovery either. I have, and I know the difference. Real recovery may be
difficult to get into, but once into it, it is a quantum leap from MM.
Why is real recovery so difficult? 1) No one in the current paradigm knows what it is or consistently how
to achieve it. 2) The current paradigm of addiction has no physiological basis for recovery, only "control,
treatment and change," because it doesnít know what causes addiction, nor how to intervene on this
unknown cause. Substitute addiction is not it. Recovery is just the opposite - surrender and acceptance -
and is based on a completely different addiction formulation. (Whatís worse is that these doctors arenít
interested in learning about this formulation.) The current paradigm has no conception of this process and
thus, canít offer it. In fact, what treatment advocates call treatment is superstitious nonsense. This is why
treatment is so ineffective. This is why MM makes so much sense to them. Their entire concept of
addiction and treatment is bogus and faulty. Their solutions must likewise be bogus. Sadly, this is the
case and will continue to be as long as doctors like Newman administer heroin treatment, a money
making business for the doctors and the drug companies.
Under the current addiction paradigm, MM and other gastly treatments and "solutions" reminiscent of
"the final solution," will continue it's "control of addicts at all costs" approach. The first step must be,
instead, the development of the correct addiction paradigm. The humane and loving solutions to
addiction problems of all kinds will only come from there.
Dear letters: The Murderous Era of George C. Wallace, NY Times, 4/26/00,
invokes a principle concerning the deadly effects discrimination has on
the lives and deaths of those discriminated against. The statement, "He
was also a chief law enforcement officer whose public comments incited
violence and whose years in office produced a string of political murders
-- many of them unsolved and unprosecuted," currently applies in a parallel
fashion to the politics of the war on drugs and addicts and the politicians
who support it to stay in power. It is based on the same principle of group
ostracism and genocide enlivened with blood thirsty and irrational dogma
supported by pseudoscience and superstition. We are currently living in
a time when most common folk are murderous addict-racists and believe they
are justified just like the past lynchers of the racist south. The most
astounding fact is that the addictionology and recovering addict communities,
like the past and present bigoted academics and uncle Toms of the south,
support this genocide with their silence and passivity. The national acquiescence
to this addictophobic slaughter will someday, I hope, be replaced, as it
has with blacks, with pleas for global forgiveness when the biological
realities of addiction are realized by those duped by the addict-racist's
propaganda. We don't seem to learn from the past. When an entire group
of people who exhibits a feared and hated characteristic such as addiction
are decimated (even in the name of helping them such as Dr. Newman's letter
yesterday), that's paternalism, that's jim crow, that's racism.
If Gore's tough on crime drug proposal makes sense, A Get-Tough Gore
Focuses on Drug Tests, NY Times, 5/3/00, then why not expand these tests
to all people, not just prisoners and parolees? It seems like twice a
week drug tests for everyone and automatic jail time for a failed test
would be a good way to prevent drug use, addiction and all sorts of
crime. This proposed policy would also be fair, nondiscriminatory, and
even handed. Moreover, a minimum sentence of five years and mandatory
in-jail drug treatment would ensure low recidivism. I would also add
alcohol, SSRI's, and nicotine to the list of tested drugs. This addition
would put an end to drunk driving, depression, lung cancer and chronic
lung disease. While we're at it, we can add sugar, red meat and ice
cream to prevent heart disease and diabetes, two diseases that cause
society much harm due to personal irresponsibility. Add pornography,
prostitution, TV and video games to likewise prevent rape and violence.
But please, keep guns legal. You never know when you might need to
defend yourself from governmental removal of individual rights.
The teacher, Jane Doe, mentioned in Release of Addicted Teacher's
Records Sought, NY Times, 5/4/00 has been addicted for 15 years and
hasn't had a problem with her job. Lack of job impairment is the rule in
addicts rather than the exception. Because some "therapists" decide
she's dangerous to her students because they don't like her attitude
about her treatment, she's about to have her trust and confidentiality
broken? This is not responsible behavior by the Gracie Square detox
personnel, but revenge disguised as "public safety" for not following
their treatment program. If the court allows this breech of
confidentiality, it will be another nail in the coffins of many current
addicts who are already afraid to go for treatment for this reason and
will set back addiction treatment a hundred years. Shame on those
therapists and Gracie Square Hospital for even thinking about turning
her over for discriminatory treatment by the Board of Education. This is
another example of the addiction witch hunt based on the outdated but
current moral paradigm of addiction.
Study Says Physicians Often Miss Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse, NY Times 5/11/00,
defines the issue,† but misses the problems and their cause. One problem
is the patient's embarrassment and shame for being an addict leading to
denial of the addiction. Another problem is the doctor's fear when faced
with confronting the addict (may lead to loss of the patient) in the face
of their impotence to help him/her. The origin of these problems is stigmatization
of the addict and ineffective available treatment for the addiction caused
by the incorrect addiction paradigm. Even if 100% of doctors could correctly
diagnose addiction in their patients these two problems would still essentially
rule out their ability to successfully intervene. The key to addiction
recovery is the addict's self-diagnosis, a rare phenomenon in today's atmosphere
of self-stigmatization derived from the moralistic connotations of the
prevailing addiction paradigm. The problems of stigmatization and fear
are caused by the same incorrect addiction paradigm that says it wants
to help addicts. Quite a paradox. When the paradigm is wrong, everything
that follows therefrom is wrong, and, thus, ineffective. The Hypoism paradigm
of addiction is scientifically and medically valid, morally neutral, just
like all other major medical disease paradigms, destigmatizes addictions,
and provides a realistic basis for recovery - four critical issues that
don't exist today. Until the correct paradigm is acknowledged and accepted,
all problems with addictions will continue.
The editorial, New York's Harmful Drug Laws, NY Times, 5/12/00, was nice
to read but will change little if anything because it only deals with
policy, not ideas. Only ideas (right or wrong) change policies. People
are hysterical, fearful and hateful of addictions and addicts based on
the current conscious, immoral, choice, demonization of drugs and
addicts (wrong) ideas promulagated by the current invalid and incorrect
paradigm of drug use and addiction. Only the correct (right) paradigm
(idea) about drugs and addictions will change attitudes and beliefs that
currently mandate rediculously harsh and inappropriate drug laws. When
the idea is wrong, as it is today, everything that follows from it will
be wrong and damaging. Moreover, right policy based on the wrong reason
(idea) will yet perpetuate the overall mess. Take a look around you.
Isn't this clearly the case? Wrong policy is always symtomatic of wrong
ideas and beliefs as it is with woman, black, homosexual, and fat people
beliefs and public behavior.