Saturday, April 29, 2017

It's a self-correcting problem


I note that the use of illegal drugs has become more hazardous with the addition of elephant tranquilizer.

A substance used to tranquilize elephants that is 100 times more potent than the drug that killed Prince is presenting a new and difficult challenge in the nationwide opioid epidemic.

The exotic and toxic sedative named carfentanil has been linked in recent weeks to fatal overdoses in Illinois, Colorado, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

. . .

The difficult-to-detect substance is so powerful that an amount equivalent to a few grains of salt can be deadly. It requires more aggressive treatment than a typical opiate overdose to reverse. First responders are getting burned out answering back-to-back overdose calls rising because of carfentanil and other synthetic opioids, and they worry about falling ill after exposure while answering calls.

The drug is so new that some medical examiners don't have the tools to detect it in autopsies.

"It shows how callous these drug dealers are," Synan said. "It has no human use whatsoever, and they're putting it out on the street and wreaking havoc."

. . .

All of the zookeepers and vets in the United States combined need only about 18 grams of carfentanil a year, about the weight of 18 artificial sweetener packets, Patterson said. "If they don't need very much of it to use on an annual basis to tranquilize big, large animals, then we humans don't stand up at all," Patterson said.

There's more at the link.  Highly recommended reading if you're the parent of teens or other young people at risk.

The thing is, drug addiction can only be solved by the addicts themselves - or potential addicts.  I was addicted to nicotine, in the form of cigarettes, for many years.  I had to decide for myself to stop smoking.  It offered sufficient pleasure that only something better could have persuaded me to quit.  What did it for me was meeting my future wife.  She made it clear that she wouldn't marry me if I continued smoking.  I had to make a choice;  cancer sticks, or her.  I chose her, and I've been very happy with the results.

Those addicted to illicit narcotics have to come to the same place.  They have to decide that something - life itself, or a partner, or a job, or whatever - is better, and more important to them, than their addiction.  Persuasion, courses, propaganda . . . none of them will work without that elementary, life-changing decision on the part of the addict.  I fear that with the advent of carfentanil, many of them won't have time to make it before the consequences of their addiction catch up with them . . . but it's their choice, no-one else's.  Those knocking themselves out to save them from the consequences of their choice need to bear that in mind.  Death is just as much a correction to the problem of addiction as is deciding to stop.

Peter

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I realize that this probably makes me a Bad Person (TM), but why is society as a whole not allowing those who OD themselves into near-death to just die? I know that in some cases there are dependent children (who are then removed into state care), but given that so many opioid drug users seem determined to bliss out into the Hereafter, why work so hard to prevent that? Letting people die from their overdoses might be the warning others need to decide to try and get clean and stay clean.

But then I'm a Bad Person.

LittleRed1

thinkingman said...

We may have a replacement for expired drugs to be used in lethal injection executions!

Anonymous said...

I've seen guys who grew up in the ghetto use heroin for years. They cycle in and out of serious use, alternating periods of no use while they recover enough to carry on their lives and jobs. It was no big deal to them. Social evolution in action. Guys who didn't learn to deal with it died. The rest learned different behaviors.

trailbee said...

CA has legalized recreational marijuana as of 2018. I live in Calaveras County, the home of illegal marijuana for eons. Now that it is to be legal next year, many are jumping on the ag wagon, paying for permits and putting up their growing tents. Some already grow "medicinal" crops. My next door neighbor has grown marijuana for several years. The growing mix reeks, some other material smells like skunk. Those of us who object are sidelined because our county supervisors do not have the smarts or the will to just ban it. Marijuana is a gateway drug. Welcome to Hell.

Annie Mouse said...

We agree with you.If someone wants to suicide themselves, so be it. If someone OD's, I don't care. Too many of our tax dollars are spent here every year for addicts who overdose, and are given Narcan to reverse the overdose.
How much does this cost? Police, fire department, ambulance, all responding to scene to 'save' someone from their addiction costs money. Every year here taxes go up.
We pay for so many things for the community, for "The Children". I no longer care about saving the world. If someone overdoses themselves, let them.

Andrew said...

I kinda agree with LittleRed1 and Annie Mouse. My wife and I are big fans of the tv show "Nightwatch" which follows first responders originally in New Orleans and then Tampa. Seems like every episode had a major drug overdose where the semi-slabbed was totally unresponsive, basically dead. And the first responders administered narcan and poof, the dead rose, until the next time.

How many times does a druggie need to die to realize that eventually death is really real? How much cost to the person's family, the local society, and the government (and the taxpayers who support the government) does the zombie incur upon its shambling death spiral?

And people (mostly liberals or libertarians) say that 'drugs' are a victimless crime.

I'm to the point that I'd support a law giving drug users who get caught with drugs the opportunity to use all of the drugs right there and then, or face full prosecution and sentencing. Either way, the wastrel will be removed from society, permanently or at least a decent amount of time.

Sometimes you just can't save someone.

Old Radar Tech said...

They're looking for oblivion. Some find it sooner than others.

Stan_qaz said...

I can't wait until we got to the point we have Larry Niven's wireheads.

One quick simple operation, a cheap control unit and occasional fresh batteries and our illegal drug crimes problem will go away for the most part.



Toastrider said...

Speaking of crooks and schmucks, Peter, here's one for you:

https://nowloading.co/p/inmates-built-custom-pcs-in-the-ceiling-of-their-prison/4245974

I know you've probably had firsthand experience with prisoner ingenuity, but... that's DEFINITELY impressive.

Anonymous said...

I am neither an expert nor a doper (I prefer aged Sour Mash or Single Malt.) And I am well aware of the toll that drugs inflict.
But I am not convinced it is the Govt's business to dictate what one may eat, drink, smoke, read, write or think.

Regarding the War On Drugs:
Billions spent, but still plenty of dopers.
As there are two sides of the equation, supply and demand, I suggest the expensive focus on eradication/interdiction may not be effective. Recall Paraquat and Prohibition. Pot, coke and acid have been supplanted with numerous other mind and body-crushers: crack, crank, meth, bath salts, RustOleum etc.
As long as there is a demand, there will be a supply.

This is a war that cannot be won.

=BCE56=

Chuck Pergiel said...

If drugs were legal you would know what you were getting (if you bothered to read the label (if you could read)). But if drugs were legal, prices would drop, profits would be reduced, and we can't have that. Too many people (on both sides of the law) are making huge amounts of money off of drugs, and that's really the point. All this noise about people dying from overdoses is just that: noise.

Will said...

This nation didn't seem to have much of a drug problem, prior to laws criminalizing use and/or possession. The result? A police state, more or less. That police industry is what is keeping us from fixing the current problem. Put a focus on penalties for bad actions while under drug influence, where it belongs. Then tax it, but not to the level that you create a viable black market.

Humans have a long history (all of recorded history+ archeological) of using mind altering substances. What makes anyone think we can change that? It's even more stupid than the Progs thinking they can change human nature so that socialism/communism will work. Not ever going to happen.

Peter,
AFAIK, nicotine is still rated as the most addictive substance known to man. The fact that it makes permanent changes to brain chemistry may have something to do with it. Withdrawal symptoms can last upwards of a year.

Pwl47 said...

I agree with chuck Pergiel. Too many people making a living or in some cases a fortune from the fact that drugs are illegal. Legalization would treat it more like alcohol abuse if people got out of hand with it. Petty(and not so petty)crime would diminish and fewer of these idiots would over-dose if they could count on the stated potency of what they were taking. The War On Drugs was lost a long time ago and it is way past time to admit it.