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                                               Getting Personal 

Abstinence Is Not An Option

Self-Medicators Have No Choice... But They Could


by Richard Gicomeng

I did not create this website as an endorsement for drugs. Considering that the 2005 United Nations World Drug Report put the retail value of the illicit drug trade at $322 billion to $400 billion with the licit drug market valued just under $1 trillion, the drug industry doesn't need a promotion.   Drugs sell themselves.  I devised this website because there are an estimated 19.6 million people in the U.S. who use illicit drugs.  Those who use drugs routinely are often self-medicating a legitimate medical disorder that has either been undiagnosed or diagnosed but left untreated.  In the 21st century,  only a small fraction of illicit drug users are consuming drugs for "recreational" purposes.  Hence, the war on drugs (WOD) is really a war on a health care system in the U.S. that was ranked at number 38 by the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000.  Since people are dependent upon that health care system, the WOD, according to George Soros, is really a war on people.  

Those who use drugs -- illicit or prescription --  for "recreational" purposes, generally do so occasionally.  Therefore, the sales from illicit drugs for recreational purposes is speculatively so small that the illicit drug industry probably could not sustain itself without self-medicators.  While the tactics of the WOD have reached "recreational" drug users, it has not decreased the use of illicit drugs, but has increased abuse by not providing proper education.   If there is a gateway to drug abuse, it comes from classes like Substance Abuse Education  which is like taking Drowning Lessons instead of Swimming Lessons or like Motor Vehicle Accident Education rather than Motor Vehicle Safety Education.     

In the 21st century, the U.S. Government now targets those with legitimate chronic medical disorders that require continuous treatment with a controlled substance.  Without treatment, many of them are unable to be gainfully employed, thus, they  have become disabled. Others have become dependant on  the illicit drug market for a solution.   Since states started adopting the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), writing a prescription for a Schedule II-IV drug is like signing an agreement to a lengthy prison term. Today, a simple visit with a healthcare provider can result in the end of a career that may not have even started.  

In 2004, I first presented my  argument to Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA).  Senator Feinstein did not respond to me until 2008, when she agreed with me, planning to take my message before the Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs.  You have to understand what it means when a health care issue is brought before a Committee that deals with crime.  It turns health care into a crime.  I realize there are many people who feel that health care in the U.S. is already a crime.  Regardless of what anyone believes, there are many good people working in health care.  Unfortunately, they are not always the ones who get the glory.  They are usually among those who are victimized by government standards. 

There's one thing I want you to remember, even if you forget about this website and strongly disagree with it, you have to know that the drug war is not about protecting youth in America or anywhere else..  You must remember that because the WOD costs tax payers $70 billion dollars a year when the budget for education is just a small fraction of that.  If it was true that the WOD was about saving youth,  gasoline and household products would have been added to the list of controlled substances 40 years ago.  Guess what.  They are still not on the list of controlled substances.

The problem with the war on drugs is just starting to become pervasive. To understand it more clearly, we turn to history.  At the beginning of the Paleolithic Age -- also known as the Old Stone Age -- 2.5 million years ago, our ancestors began shaping tools out of stone.  Primitive as they were, they knew about fire because fire resulted during an electrical storm when lightening touched ground, burning out acres of area.  Humanity had the knowledge to cut flint rock into arrows and should have been able to recognize the value of fire.  However, it would take about 500,000 years until humanity was able to control fire, and another 500,000 years before there is any evidence that humanity used fire as a way to transform one substance into something more useful.   The probable reason why it took our ancestors that long to harness fire was due to fear.  It was the same fear that stopped the application of electricity during ancient Greece, and the same fear that grounded Leonardo DiVinci's attempts to design an airplane.  Humans hid beneath the shelter of religion, fearing to face what was hard to believe, and believing instead, something that was easier to comprehend.

Queen Isabella of Argon was perhaps the catalyst of change when she funded the westward voyage of Christopher Columbus that would supposedly place him in the East.  The New World had a strong influence on Europe.  It brought an end to feudalism.  By the 18th century, science was no longer regarded as sorcery, and as a result, electricity emerged and new discoveries in chemistry came about, forming the foundation of the Industrial Revolution.  

On May 1, 1851, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert opened the Great Exposition in a 990,000 sq ft structure made of glass and iron known as the Crystal Palace, in which over 14,000 exhibitors demonstrated their inventions.   This event officially set the stage for dawn of the Electro-Chemical Age and the Anthropocene Epoch.  For the next 100 years, inventions abounded.  Then during the early 1960s, it was becoming evident that along with the glory of inventions, there came a backlash of negative fallout as corporations produced enough pollution to have an impact on the environment.   But rather than destroying corporations, or banning cars, humanity fixed the problems, educated people how to drive and operate machinery from mechanical farm tools to sophisticated computers.   On the other hand, no such protocol developed in pharmacology.  There was no education; there was war. 

Abstinence is not an option for those who suffer from lifelong chronic medical disorders.  It places our health care system directly in the line of fire.  Without equality in health care, can there really be equality elsewhere for those with disorders? Are we saying, all people are equal except those with medical disorders who cannot receive health care because to treat the illness the patient requires a controlled substance that a provider finds it easier to sign a patient onto Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits than to write a prescription for a controlled substance?  There are people with cataplexy in our society who cannot get the medication, sodium oxybate (Xyrem) that is the only drug which can treat cataplexy.  With cataplexy, a person is prone to falling down when they experience a certain emotion, such as laughter or excitement.  It is dangerous and debilitating.  But because sodium oxybate is gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB)  not everyone can get treated for the disorder.  Thus the next Albert Einstein may never get a chance in the U.S. if there is no provider willing to prescribe the right medication.  That says a great deal about our society.

There are many ways to overcome the problem, but only one way will work.  If we give every K12 student the knowledge and the discipline to use drugs safely, the responsibility will no longer fall on the shoulders of our health care providers.  The trust will be in the individual.  Regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or whatever discriminating criteria a provider may choose, the responsibility will be in the hands of the educated patient.  When everyone who seeks health care is able to obtain it, that will be the beginning of the end of the drug problem.  The only way to achieve that is to give the people the education they need to address routine illness themselves.   This is the goal of the Drug Use Education Process Initiative.


2011 January 14

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2009 January 09

2008 January 17