NOTE: By a slight electronic routing error, today’s post, for Thursday, Aug. 16, was coded as an “Aug. 13” story. We have reposted in this way. We apologize for any confusion.




PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, AUG. 16, 2012) — Today, THE PLANET presents three local items for your digestion. The Pepto Abyssmal is on the house.

First, though, let me say that we had an extensive interview yesterday on the Spectrum situation with Mayor Dan Bianchi. On Friday, we shall give you our exclusive report. What he reveals will add new knowledge to what has been a volatile situation, including how the Boring Broadsheet got a crucial part of the story wrong. You won’t want to miss that. Also, we shall hear from Our Right Honorable Good Friend Melissa Mazzeo on the hawkers-vendors situation, duked out last night at city hall. A call to John Krol has not been returned. Mazzeo and Krol were on opposite sides of the heated debate. There are more surprises as well. Be sure to get your PLANET tomorrow.

Now, the three items:


The answer is “yes” and No — the “yes” requires quotation marks for a nonliteral use while the No does not need them, with a capital “n”.

There are many diseases that people contract, and we suppose, strictly speaking, no malady or affliction springs from nowhere and nothing. We all cause whatever happens to our body.

Strictness aside, however, we can agree that what we generally think of as “disease” — cancer, Parkinson’s, flu, and the like — happens despite people’s best intentions. “Disease” as it has been understood for centuries up to but not including the age of present-day political correctness refers to the maladjustment of the body in a defensive response to a detrimental condition that one does not contract nor keep by virtue of conscious choice. You don’t choose to get a cold in the same way that you choose to risk AIDS by deliberately practicing unsafe sex or sharing a hypodermic needle.

Health is a Conscious Choice of Improving the Odds in Your Favor

No one wants to get such a condition, and those of us who respect our bodies and bring to life an intelligent approach to diet, exercise, and situation will not — for example — smoke cigarettes, eat too much fried food, and avoid downtown Pittsfield after dark. We will not engage in dangerous activity, shoot a used needle into our veins, or drive 100 mph without wearing a seatbelt.

We will make the best possible choices so we can increase not only the odds against contracting disease but also the state of our health. There are no guarantees, of course, as in the case of a person who smokes every day into their 90s who remains in good health. We will, though, look both ways before crossing the street, limit the amount of fat and fast food in our diet, and do curls with dumbells (no jokes please) each day.

Health, perhaps the great gift of all on this earth, is a crap shoot, but that doesn’t mean you don’t play the game — or do everything you can to tilt the odds in your favor instead of the house’s.

When you do all that but you contract an illness, that is disease.

When the Choice is Bad, the Chances are You Will Pay the Consequences by Inducing Poor Health — But That is not ‘a Disease’

But what about someone who knowingly and of free will ingests a potentially harmful or even fatal substance — the chain smoker, the heroin addict, the alcoholic?  Do they have a “disease?” Does a person who swallows a cup of Drano have a disease after he or she collapses and lands in the hospital for a month?

After a certain amount of bodily abuse, of course, the answer is “yes.” They have what mimicks a “disease.” Left unabated — that is, if these people continue to decide to smoke, shoot up, and drink — their bodies will manifest those choices, and not for the better. They will come down with conditions that look, behave, and feel like “disease.” However, there’s still the decision that a person makes. How can one be considered diseased when they have decided for themselves that they wish to be sick? That is the moral aspect of personal choice that our politically correct age chooses not to acknowledge.

We all know from the recent community forum on the methadone clinicSpectrum Health Services will build in Pittsfield — in the Yon Buildingon Summer Street, as THE PLANET predicted many days before it happened — that the city has a drug problem.

According to Hilary Jacobs of the state public health department, Pittsfield has “a critical need” for a methadone clinic. Think about that. Jacobs is saying that the city has a heroin problem that has grown to plague proportion, so large that the state finds itself law-bound to order Pittsfield to install a methadone clinic. Guess that just about does it for any talk of a “renaissance,” eh? Jacobs said “more than 100″ Pittsfield residents now travel 50 miles each way to get their methadone fix. That’s the visible number. How many more addicts are quietly shooting up each day that we don’t know about?

The Myth of ‘Disease’ via ‘Victimization’

Jennifer Michaels, medical director of the Brien Center, employs current safe-speak when speaking of addicts: “Addiction is an equal opportunity disease. People who have this disease have a bad disease but for the most part aren’t bad people.”

Right. We’re talking heroin addicts here. Granted, there might be the occasional doctor or CEO shooting up on horse, but for the most part the stereotyped heroin user fits the bill to describe heroin users in actuality: down-and-outers who have sidestepped reality for a brief, not-so-cheap euphoric thrill, humans being who have elected to wallow in the dregs. Some of these people, that is those who recognize the nature of choice and free will, use that same intellectual process fueled by moral force to decide to get out of their sad condition. They choose to get well, and they do.

Unfortunately, America has bought big time into Victimization, a cultural phenomenon that has been Writ Large so many times and for nearly a generation now that most people unquestioningly accept the statement: “Addiction is a disease.”

By calling addiction a “disease,” we create victims. In turn, “victims” get let off the moral hook. They don’t have to take responsibility for their actions. When you’re a victim, it’s not your fault. We don’t have drunk drivers. We have people who are “under the influence of alcohol.” The euphemistic phrasing takes them off the hook for a set of lousy choices.

A methadone dispensing station at a clinic. (

Of course the medical community — Spectrum, Berkshire Health Systems, and the like — is going to tell us addiction is a “disease.” They stand to gain the most in redefining what was once a perfectly descriptive (and ascriptive) word: “disease.”

Now anything you say you can’t stop doing is a “disease.” We have porn addicts, Frito addicts, hording addicts, Facebook addicts, video game addicts, and X addicts (X santding for whatever you want to put in there). All these people, to use current parlance, have a disease. Poor them. They don’t have to take action. They must be treated. That is the standard Medical model of illness that violates the first clause of the Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm.”

The medical community likes this nonsense because it generates profits, as we have seen in the case of Spectrum Health Systems, and in case you hadn’t noticed, the affiliated medical-pharmacology-insurance industrial complex cares first about the bottom line and only secondarily about the health of people.

A methadone clinic, for example, would never want heroin addiction to go away, because that’s their customer base.

While you can lick heroin simply by not taking the next hit, you can’t stop cancer by a mere choice. If that were the case, no one would have the disease. You can stop addition by choosing not to have another cigarette, another injection, another vodka and tonic. CAn the so-called addictive brain do that? The best science says “yes,” it can. The best science discounts the “addictive brain” that creates victims and herds them into the cottage industry of Recovery.

Here is some useful information from the website

Real Disease Versus the Disease Concept of Drug Addiction

In a true disease, some part of the body is in a state of abnormal physiological functioning, and this causes the undesirable symptoms.  In the case of cancer, it would be mutated cells which we point to as evidence of a physiological abnormality, in diabetes we can point to low insulin production or cells which fail to use insulin properly as the physiological abnormality which create the harmful symptoms.  If a person has either of these diseases, they cannot directly choose to stop their symptoms or directly choose to stop the abnormal physiological functioning which creates the symptoms.  They can only choose to stop the physiological abnormality indirectly, by the application of medical treatment, and in the case of diabetes, dietetic measures may also indirectly halt the symptoms as well (but such measures are not a cure so much as a lifestyle adjustment necessitated by permanent physiological malfunction).

from the NIDA’s “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior”

In addiction, there is no such physiological malfunction.  The best physical evidence put forward by the disease proponents falls totally flat on the measure of representing a physiological malfunction.  This evidence is the much touted brain scan[1].  The organization responsible for putting forth these brain scans, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Addiction (NIDA), defines addiction in this way:

Addiction is defined as a chronic relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.  It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain – they change it’s structure and how it works.  These brain changes can be long lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.

They are stating outright that the reason addiction is considered a disease is because of the brain changes evidenced by the brain scans they show us, and that these changes cause the behavior known as addiction, which they characterize as “compulsive drug seeking and use”.  There are two ways in which this case for the disease model falls apart:

  • the changes in the brain which they show us are not abnormal at all
  • there is no evidence that the behavior of addicts is compulsive (compulsive means involuntary)

This all applies equally to “alcoholism” as well.  If you’re looking for information on alcoholism, the same theories and logic discussed here are applicable; wherever you see the term addiction used on this site, it includes alcoholism.

We can build one, two, or ten methadone clinics in Pittsfield. The number of heroin (and certainly methadone) addicts won’t go down. It will likely increase. Do we dare begin calling addiction what it is: Not compulsive behavior of innocent victims, as the unproven assertions of the politically correct use of “disease” would have us believe, but a decision one makes? It doesn’t get any simpler than that: Addiction is a choice a person makes. Only that, and nothing more.



GOV. DEVAL PATRICK: Caught in the act of feeling your pain.

The answer is no. Each budget cycle, Gov. Deval Patrick and the 85%-controlled Democratic legislature play a little game. The governor makes a few token cuts so that when he introduces his budget for the first time or when he gets out his veto pen (the one with invisible ink), he can make it look good for the unwashed masses, for whom he has little respect. With great fanfare, Patrick will tell Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski how he feels their pain. Then he heads west on the Pike to Richmond and his multi-million mansion.

When the house and senate, however, vote the budget into law, they restore those cuts. Unlike  the governor’s big deal, Our Profiles in Courage onBeacon Hill will not peep a word about their override, because they are counting on you not paying attention. For the most part, they are right in betting on constituent apathy, that that is the one sure bet in the game of politics.

A couple examples of many can be plucked out for mention.

(1) By veto, Patrick cut $10 million in pay hikes from human service workers earning less than $40,000 a year. Lawmakers wanted a $20 million hike, and they restored every dime the governor nixed.

(2) Here’s an even better one. Patrick vetoed  a line item calling for $18.513 million to be spent on something called “fire services.” The guv said, let’s make it $16.763 million (nod nod, wink wink), a “reduction” of $1.75 million. Yup. Lawmakers restored every dime. What is the purpose of the money? What vital service does it provide? Answer: Bureaucracy, administration, and overhead. In other words, make-work jobs for the “connected.”

Naturally, on both these items, our Right Honorable Good Friends Rep.Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Paul Mark, Smitty Pignatelli, Schoolmarm Gail Cariddi, and Sen. Ben Downing voted to add every dime to the taxpayers’ backs.

Oh, by the way, Downing did vote “no” on a proposal to reduce to state sales tax from 6.25% to 5.6% on Aug. 1, 2013, and to 5% on Aug. 1, 2014. Naturally.



In this day of cut-and-paste, it’s easy to lift material from any electronic source. Nonetheless, the rules of plagiarism apply. Use of anything other than your own ideas and your own words requires attribution. As the Professor knows, we have never been more at risk for cheating than in this electronic age.

“Yes, Modern Language Association? Yes, this is Andy Nuciforo. Say, i’m have a couple questions regarding citation format …”

Congressional candidateAndrea Nuciforo, who is running against incumbent Richard Nealand newcomer Bill Sheinfor the Democratic nomination on Sept. 6, faced long odds even under the most optimistic of scenarios. Outspent, outraised, and with a fraction of Neal’s inside-the-beltway clout or district-wide name recognition, Nuciforo’s only chance was to pitch a no-hitter in the campaign … or at least a three-hit shutout. He needed to come up big in nearly every choice. Instead, withLiftgate, he has committed campaign hari kari.

Instead of using the precious little time, money, and energy he has left giving Neal his best, Nuciforo had to go back into his position statements and get the eraser out. He had to spend his dwindling resources to weed out the stolen texts. It’s a major gaffe in the campaign, one that will be used by voters other than diehard supporters as evidence that Andy’s not ready for prime time.

BILL SHEIN: Blew the whistle on Nuciforo’s literary theft.

Ned Oliver‘s piece on Tuesday’s Boring Broadsheet quotes Nuciforo taking “full responsibility for the oversight.” At least he has done that much.  Oliver noted that Shein — a writer, incidentally, who did his profession proud in catching Nuciforo’s “lifting” act — first identified Andy’s transgression.

According to Oliver, Nuciforo on Thursday denounced Shein’s accusations as “desperate politics.” In the intervening several day, however, reality apparently caught up with Nuciforo. A simple comparison between Nuciforo’s statements and those of other politicians, notably John Edwards, Alan Khazei, and Stacey Lawson, showed words that were too close for comfort.

RICHIE NEAL: In The Ol’ Redhead’s proverbial ‘catbird’s seat’

On Friday, Oliver reports, Nuciforo spokesman Patrick Tool, in his own version of “The Amateur Hour,”  blamed a former Team Nuciforo staff member for the plagiarism, nothing that “a pretty big team … worked on the website.”

In this lame statement made to the Springfield Republican, Tool made it much worse for his boss. Any reasonable person will ask: “You mean to say Nuciforo had so many people writing his own position statements that he didn’t realize what was happening? If a guy can’t manage that, how will he fare in Congress?”

Tool continued to dig the hole deeper for Nuciforo, not responding to the BB’s request for further comment on Monday of this week. He then told the Boston Globe, according to Oliver’s story, that the changes Nuciforo made to the website “were minor. It was basically just a citation issue.” Sure, kid — that’s why the site looks like a piece of Swiss cheese after the rats on the moon got through with it.

It’s never the original sin, is it? It’s always the coverup that gets people in trouble. THE PLANET endorsed Nuciforo early on in this campaign. In light of this development, we withdraw that support and are giving it to Shein, who, unlike Nuciforo, has his credibility intact. Shein is an outsider, a non-politician, and a man of  intelligence.

His website describes him as “A writer and progressive activist who knows, as we all do, that we can’t keep doing things the same way.” [Shein’s italics]We urge you to explore his website at






August 13, 2012 8 Comments


  1. Levitan

    August 16, 2012 at 7:20 am # Edit

    Dan, it’s a shame to see you take the common and low road on the difficult and tragic condition of chemical addiction by attempting to use arguments of life-style to distinguish it from disease.

    All I can say is that the State and Federal Governments for a very long time now have taken the higher road.

    By the way, you can say that all pharmaceutical industries would suffer should we eliminate cancer, flu, and other diseases from the population at large. Yours is a false distinction.

    My biggest issue, though, is that you risk leading the gullible portion of readership down this road of knee-jerk response and bigotry only to add harm to the afflicted.

    • New to PV

      August 16, 2012 at 7:39 am # Edit


      Your defense of the “tragic condition of chemical addition” as disease rather than the natural and expected results from conscious choice and deliberate action makes you, not Mr. Valenti, the gullible one.

      • New to PV

        August 16, 2012 at 7:49 am # Edit


        Another quick note – most pedophiles and wife beaters claim that they cannot control their actions and are also “afflicted by disease”. Are you going to go on the record defending those people, classifying them as victims and vilifying their “knee-jerks” critics as well?

        • Levitan

          August 16, 2012 at 8:04 am # Edit

          Ridiculous comparisons do not an argument make.

          Pedophiles abuse others for their own satisfaction.

          Heroin addicts (not sex-abusers, not gambling addicts, or other non-heroin addicts) have a brain conditioned to the continuous exposure to opoids. Methadone is designed to treat that conditioning.

          • Levitan

            August 16, 2012 at 8:18 am # Edit

            Footnote to response:

            All people, aliens, citizens, addicted people, cancer patients, etc… are legally responsible for their actions. No one advocates giving heroin addicts a get-out-of-jail Free Card for crimes committed associated with their affliction.

          • danvalenti

            August 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm # Edit

            New to PV makes a valid distinction. This discussion is of “addiction,” not “addiction to [name the specific substance or action]. “Addiction” to porn, to wife beating, to tanning, to heroin: The process is the same. Please review the brain studies we have cited.

    • New to PV

      August 16, 2012 at 7:39 am # Edit


      Your defense of the “tragic condition of chemical addition” as disease rather than the natural and expected results from conscious choice and deliberate action makes you, not Mr. Valenti, the gullible one.

    • danvalenti

      August 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm # Edit

      My response is neither knee-jerk nor an attempt to appeal to the LDC. Mine is the high road (no pun intended) because I am giving full credit to the will, whose full standing as a determinant force the science of the brain well bears out. There also are no false distinctions. You may make that claim of course, but it’s toothless since you do not specify. The afflicted, that’s good. That’s the “victimization” by another word.


  1. danvalenti
    August 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    OK, you may now continue to leave comments posted for “Aug. 16.” Again, thanks for putting up with any convenience. Electronics are handy and digital is dandy, but we never had these issues with typewriters!

  2. Jonathan Melle
    August 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    I am happy to see Dan Valenti is no longer endorsing Nuciforo for U.S. Congress. Bill Shein is a better candidate because he is a real reformer of the corrupt federal government. Now, I hope to read that Dan Valenti will change his support from Willard Mitt Romney to Barack Obama.

    • Dave
      August 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

      Why is it Willard Mitt Romney and not Barack Hussein Obama?
      Just a question.

      • danvalenti
        August 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

        It is both, depending on which side you listen to, the rabid right or the looney left.

        • Levitan
          August 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

          Good one, Dan.

  3. Scott
    August 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    I agree addiction is a choice but at the same time some things start out as a choice and only become a problem when you can’t stop but yes ultimately it is a choice. Everything in life is a choice maybe if modern life wasn’t so convenient it would be different but it’s so easy to say well whatever and justify behavior because you know you can get help when you want it that’s why every addict has to hit bottom before they really get it. I personally believe that most things can be cured through nutrition. But as you said even against all odds you could still get sick. If someone I cared about was stuck on stupid wrapped up in drugs I would support them and tell them the same thing get away from all that crap. There’s a pill for everything these days can’t sleep, feel nervous whatever in the sixties you all took drugs to escape reality now everyone’s taking them to come back to “reality” whatever that is. Technology and drugs are reshaping human emotion and interaction and the more it takes over the more grim it’s gonna get.

    • outfox
      August 18, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

      Emotions and interactions are shaped and reshaped by all variety of stimuli, though, I think: the weather, if traffic is bad, etc. and maybe technological advance is not as grim as we neo-Luddites are anticipating it to be. I love that last sentence in Scott’s post; it’s provocative in all the right ways (for me).

  4. FPR
    August 16, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    Great article Dan – Former Pittsfield Resident here.

    From my understanding, Massachusetts has a very high rate of heroin addiction. I have read that heroin on the streets is selling for as little as $10.00 per high in the Boston area.

    Our own US Military is actually protecting the poppy seed crops in Afghanistan (but you could write a whole article swirling around just that.)

    So its pretty easy to see why the addiction is so wide spread.

    Methadone is synthetic heroin. A methadone clinic is badly needed in Pittsfield? I understand the reasoning behind it is to give the addict his “fix” so he can live a “normal and productive life”.

    I suppose its better than the days of strapping the addict to a hospital bed in a detox unit and let them withdraw in agony screaming for a few days — Cold Turkey they used to call it.

    I do have some questions though:

    Is the “patient” weaned off of the drug in time or are they given constant dosages with no end game?

    Are they tested to see if they are also still doing heroin also?

    Are there people entered into the program who don’t really need to be there but rather as you say in the article provide a customer base to keep the clinic open?

    Does the dosage actually get them high and impair functions such as driving a car?

    Is all this at the expense of taxpayers? If so are the addicts or “patients” delegated to perform some type of community services in exchange for the dosages?

    Was this location for the clinic chosen to be central – as in walking distance to where most of the addicts/patients live?

    Do the patients have to sign papers to release the clinic and the City and State of any health problems resulting from the long term use of methadone?

    Sorry to be so methadone information challenged.

    Please Advise


    • danvalenti
      August 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

      Outstanding questions. You are asking them on behalf of all of us. We hope readers will respond with answers, based on the facts.

    • Scott
      August 17, 2012 at 4:14 am #

      The people for the clinic will tell you what you want to hear but the truth is as Dan put it today in his blog. Addiction is not a disabling disease that is out of the control of the individual it is a choice. A poor choice that in return makes a person dependent and as a result their health suffers. The people either pay for it out of pocket or with insurance. With most addicts needing help being poor I would assume mass health or BMC health net would cover the cost. Those addicts with money and good jobs would cover the cost themselves or through their insurance which they pay premiums for. I like cold turkey it’s the only way to beat anything the mind is powerful. The body can heal through proper nutrition. It’s a lot harder then then taking methadone and the woe is me attitude but I would think it is much more rewarding spiritually and health wise in the end.

  5. acheshirecat
    August 16, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    In some of the radio news reports that I heard regarding Spectrum locating in Pittsfield, heroin addiction is refered to as a disability. Not a disease.

    • danvalenti
      August 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

      Yes, that’s the current lingo, which we are challenging in our post today.

  6. dusty
    August 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    I just caught up with the last Ordinance and Rules committee meeting. To me it looked like Clairmont and Lothrop conspired to embarrass the city solicitor and Mrs Mazzeo. Clairmont came across as a whining second grader (more than once) and Lothrop showed that he likes to play in the sandbox as well with his arm stretching and yawning while she spoke. It is apparent that both these guys are immature and are out to get their colleague one way or another. Unfortunately for them they came across (on TV) as petty and definitely not what the city needs to heal.

    Catch this meeting on rerun if you can.

    • smh
      August 17, 2012 at 5:17 am #

      Appears the fact Mr. Lothrop won reelection by something like six or seven votes hasn’t taught him any humility.

    • danvalenti
      August 17, 2012 at 6:45 am #

      I shall try to catch this broadcast. I have heard much about it.

  7. Ron Kitterman
    August 17, 2012 at 1:35 am #

    We still didn’t get a response from TFB why she voted against Melissa’s Law, or did she instinctively know that the Gov was going to veto it anyway ? Mabe she will be beaten by the blanks to inspire someone to run against her next time.

    • Kevin
      August 17, 2012 at 4:36 am #

      I would like her to respond as well, that was a BS move on her part and I have not forgotten.

    • danvalenti
      August 17, 2012 at 6:44 am #

      Hope you’re not holding your breath for TFB’s answer. When the phone doesn’t ring, you’ll know it’s her.

  8. Kevin
    August 17, 2012 at 4:59 am #

    Dan I am a little disappointed that you did not address a major factor in opiate addiction and that is the medical/pharmaceutical industry’s role? If a person breaks bones in their body and the doctors fills them full of opiates and addiction occurs, is that self-inflicted? It’s happening daily here in Berkshire County.

    Dan did you know that in this state and many others you can “work” several doctors for opiate drug proscription’s maybe having 4,5,10 different scripts going at one time and their is no system to tell that a script for an opiate was filled an hr ago at Rite Aide, yesterday at CVS and a day from now at Patricks all from different doctors? If anyone was serious about addressing this opiate issue a statewide/ national database that tells pharmacists about people working doctors would be put in place but that will not happen because their is too much money involved.

    • danvalenti
      August 17, 2012 at 6:43 am #

      No question, that is an aspect of the problem. Even in a 2,000-word article, one cannot cover all the facets of this Hydra-headed problem. It’s time for the U.S. to legalize drugs.

      • Kevin
        August 17, 2012 at 7:00 am #

        I agree on the legalize drugs point but guess what that means? More Cliinic’s like Spectrum. I guess I rather have that then this ongoing lie the Goverment keeps perpetuating!

        • danvalenti
          August 17, 2012 at 10:32 am #

          With legalized drugs, use will likely go down. Once the money is taken off the black market, the numbers of dealers will shrink. Far fewer people will be exposed to drugs in the enticing way of the streets, and we should need fewer clinics, not more. Of course, no one knows. We do know, however, that the “War on Drugs” has been a colossal failure. I would like to try legalization. It can’t make the problem any worse. It can only make it better.

          • MaryKate
            August 17, 2012 at 10:47 am #

            Portugal legalized drugs in 2001. Therapy was offered instead of jail time. Portugal had one of the highest hard-drug use population of all Europe.

          • danvalenti
            August 17, 2012 at 10:52 am #

            The Portugal model, as bad as it was, actually improved the rampant drug problem there. Still, it was a model poorly executed and not to be copied as a Best Practice.

  9. Elizabeth
    August 17, 2012 at 5:47 am #

    I agree with Scott that the mind is a powerful thing. Cold turkey, as excruciating as it may be, at least has an end in sight. The idea of having to go to a clinic everyday just to get through the day, seems awful and depressing. Ugh! And I agree with Dan that addiction is not a decease but a choice. But the million dollar question is…why would a person choose drugs and alcohol to escape their reality? I’m not judging anyone on this. Life can be brutal for some people. If they only had a crystal ball.
    Also, Dan, you mention in the article that the medical community is ok with this because it generates profit. Maybe so, but my son in law is a doc at a tough hospital in the Boston area. He tells me that it is a nightmare there because so much time and money is wasted on drug addict/homeless people who constantly wander in and out of the hospital, via ER, and end up taking up beds that are sorely needed for the “really” sick patients. Plus he said its also a nightmare trying to get these druggies out of the hospital. They use the hospital as another place to eat, sleep, and get free drugs. It’s not good.

    • FPR
      August 17, 2012 at 6:05 am #

      Interesting and true. I had surgery about 5 years ago and the doctor prescribed Vicodin for the pain. He kept refilling the prescription at my will.

      I probably in all honesty took way too many of them.

      After 3 months or so he said it was my fault that I became addicted to them. He wanted to put me in a “program” to get me detoxed. I said no thank you and went “Cold Turkey” on my own.

      Cold Turkey, I agree is the best way. Its the quickest and permanent. If your goal is to get the “patient” off the addiction, then cold turkey is the best way. If your goal is to keep the clinic open as a cash cow then a never ending parade of addicts streaming through is the best way.

      I don’t think they will label heroin addiction as a “disease” formally.
      They once did so with alcoholics and it created a loophole so that alcoholics could collect disability. I think that’s why they changed it back. Correct me if I’m wrong on that.

      • danvalenti
        August 17, 2012 at 6:41 am #

        You speak from experience, and I have spoken with many others who have quit addictions of various sorts by Cold Turkey. Elizabeth makes a great point regarding Cold Turkey: It had an end in sight, in other words, a goal. That can provide powerful motivation for those who are enduring the effects of withdrawal. As for disability, heroin addicts are considered disabled people under the loophole-filled Swiss Cheese document known as the Americans with Disabilities Act. Yes, they qualify for all the benefits the truly disabled get.

        • FPR
          August 17, 2012 at 7:01 am #

          Seems so unreal. Hard to believe the reality of it all.

          So, in other words, all you have to do is get addicted heroin. Get a doctor to admit you to the methadone clinic and in essence you get a free synthetic heroin supply for the rest of you life at taxpayer’s expense.

          Then to top it all off, you can get on disability which in essence is having the working public pay your bills for the rest of your natural life.

          And get a free Handicapped placard so that you get the best parking spaces wherever you go.

          Sounds like a sweet deal to me. Why work?

          Anyone have a problem with all this?

    • danvalenti
      August 17, 2012 at 6:41 am #

      Great post, Elizabeth. Thank you for sharing your son’s experience.

    • Scott
      August 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      It’s true here too I went to the ER (bad inner ear infection. ) Sat and there was a guy trying to bum a smoke off me looked like he just od’d but anyways, that’s the point no one want’s to feel anymore. Nervous about a job interview there’s a pill for that, can’t sleep there’s a pill for that, trouble going to the bathroom well you get the point.

      True story a md prescribed my wife Valium for trouble sleeping she never took it and it sat in our medicine cabinet. We had a few “friends” over and unbeknownst to us one was a pill addict. He took the Valium with alcohol he was pretty messed up and we couldn’t figure out why until we noticed the pills were gone. When confronted he apologized and said he had a problem. The fact that he would go through our stuff and steal from us is besides the point had he died in our house next to his wife and kids who’s responsible? I’ll never have narcotics in my house again if I do they will be locked in my safe.

  10. Elizabeth
    August 17, 2012 at 6:46 am #

    Do they even get a handicap placard? If so, that’s outrageous!

    • Kevin
      August 17, 2012 at 6:55 am #

      You used to be able to collect SSI for alcoholism and at the time you were able to get a placard, but I think they have stopped that?

  11. Darren Lee
    August 17, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Many decisons we make lead to illness – diet = diabetes, obesity, heart disease / smoking = lung cancer / laziness = hear disease etc. To say addiction is a choice is crazy. If you’ve watched someone drink themselves to death – the final days when the liver finally goes and and heart gives out due to lack of nutrition – it is agonizing and ugly for those left behind. Once addicted its a fait accompli and help is needed. Whether the afflicted chose that path or not isn’t really relevant – it’s a painful horrendous way to go and anyone who thinks its a choice either is hearltess or never had much experience with an addicted loved one. There is line between drunks and alcoholics – drunks are a drain on society and dangerous and lazy – alcoholics need help.

    • Scott
      August 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

      It’s still a choice everything we put into our bodies is our choice save for toxic chemicals left by corporations like GE. It starts out as a choice but then get’s to the point where it is uncontrollable. It doesn’t mean one doesn’t have compassion for those who suffer due to their own poor choices. I’m with the legalization but it will never happen. I think if it did a lot of people would have even worse health problems. Think about how many health problems now are related to alcohol consumption.

    • rick leab
      August 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      Thank you Darren for bringing compassion into this discussion. It is the human factor increasingly absent, especially when those complaining loudest are the “taxpayers”, those who believe their financial “suffering” is more valid than an addicts life.

      • Scott
        August 18, 2012 at 2:48 am #

        Nope you’re wrong I want a better quality of life for addicts it’s the corporations who profit off their misery. I’m advocating health and nutrition they’re advocating a life of dependence on another substance and potential irreversible damage. That’s like saying people who are pro gun don’t care about mass shooting victims. It’s ignorant.

  12. Outfox
    August 17, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    Whatever definition of addiction one subscribes to, I think that we can all agree that the way the so called war on drugs is now being managed is as a way to create more pork. There is too much money in illegal drugs for this war to ever be won.

    Was anyone paying attention to the agreement between the US and Afghanistan a few weeks ago? You don’t think that’s going to bring more heroin into this country?

    Traffickers are now finding it is easier to smuggle heroin than cocaine, as the packaging is smaller and the profit larger, much like how they switched from marijuana to cocaine in the eighties.

    • danvalenti
      August 17, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      So true. The disastrous “War on Drugs” has exponentially exacerbated the drug problem in America. So why is it in place? It makes too much rogue money for the CIA and other elements of The National Security State of America.

      • Scott
        August 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

        The CIA was responsible for introducing LSD to the population. Ted Kaczynski was a subject in the MKULTRA program run by the CIA while he was in college at Harvard. Not much is known about what they did but it was bad enough that it involved LSD and had to do with mind control. It’s all available online as a search check it out.

        • Outfox
          August 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

          We would be remiss if we did not also include Ollie North in any discussion about the role our government has played in America’s drug lust.

          • danvalenti
            August 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

            Yes, and Reagan, and how they demonized Noriega etc.

          • Scott
            August 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

            I always though CONTRA was just a video game on the first Nintendo game system.

      • Outfox
        August 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

        And let’s not overlook our old friend Ollie North…

        • Scott
          August 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

          I thought our gov’t liked giving weapons to other countries to see what happens look at all the weapons that have gone into Mexico to arm drug cartels.

  13. Kevin
    August 17, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    This is a very enlightening artical on the history of the war on drugs, if you read the Carter admin. was close to taking at least Marijuana off Sched. 1 Good Read

    • danvalenti
      August 17, 2012 at 11:34 am #

      Appreciate it, KEV.

    • Scott
      August 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      Crazy. They were using Monsanto again in these jungles to spray chemicals to kill poppy plants too but they’re spraying poor farmers just trying to grow their own food. And we wonder why people hate us. If someone is dumb enough to do drugs to the point they die or have crucial health problems so be it.

  14. Matt
    August 18, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    I agree with almost everything but from my perspective as a nurse, alcohol and heroin withdrawals differ in that you can die from alcohol withdrawals if you have delirium tremens (the DT’s). I have spent many nights detoxing patients from alcohol. Patients who get delirium tremens can have seizures and ultimately die if their withdrawals are not medically managed.

    I think most people are getting addicted to drugs because of the medical care they receive. They wrench their back and sustain some acute injury or illness and their doctor prescribes an opiate, the patient never stops taking it because they now have “chronic” pain rather then “addiction”. When they finally have shopped their last doctor they end up turning to the streets for heroin or illegally purchased prescription narcotics. Physicians do not address addiction with patients. They are continually admitted to hospitals for IV pain meds. Try and start an IV on a patient who injects themselves with dirty needles daily. Apparently from what I hear from my patient’s it is easy to buy narcotics online too.

    I am really surprised methadone clinics are still around with newer medications like suboxone and subutex. There are databases that we can access at the hospital that will say where narcotics are filled in response to another poster. I don’t know if people use them often, but I see printouts in patient’s charts now and again.

    • danvalenti
      August 18, 2012 at 9:09 am #

      Excellent points, Matt, and we apprecaite your professional perspective. Methadone clinics are still around because “health care” has become a business. It is no longer about fitness and wellness. These clinics rack up huge profits (especially great when you’re a non-profit).

    • rick leab
      August 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      thanks Matt

    • Scott
      August 19, 2012 at 4:11 am #

      Yes supervised medical treatment is needed for heavy heroin and alcohol withdraw. Detox is good too because it get’s one living sober for 30 days that’s how my sisters father kicked the booze I think he did 90 days in another program after as well.