A continued debate in the field of addiction treatment is how to view substance dependent people. In 2007 the debate escalated to the Congressional floor when then Senator, Joseph Biden, proposed legislation to change the name of the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the National Institute on Diseases of Addiction and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to the National Institute on Alcohol disorders and Health.
The legislation did not pass, but it sent a strong message to the substance abuse field that treatment centers should adopt a disease model. However, the success rates of centers that have done so do not necessarily demonstrate betterment in the ability of treatment centers to help addicts. Also, the risks that arise when prescribed drugs used for treatment end up on the street are a serious problem. “Street methadone,” methadone obtained outside of treatment, is recognized as posing far more risk of overdose than the opium-based drugs it was developed to treat.
Seventy five years ago, addiction was rarely if ever viewed as a disease. For example, the British Journal of Inebriety (Alcoholism and Drug Addiction) July 1933 published an article by one E. W. Adams, O.B.E., M.D. regarding addiction. Dr. Adams stated that alcoholics and drug addicts “seek means to make reality less real.” He elaborated: “The average drug addict does not accept the universe. He is on the run from reality. He is a person who, could he have been asked beforehand whether he was willing to be a candidate for life with all its responsibilities and duties, would have replied in the phrase of Calvin Coolidge: “I do not choose to run.”
Despite any ongoing debate, the Narconon® program has consistently stuck with a methodology that has proven highly successful. It helps addicts to sort out their lives so that they can live successfully without drugs and be happy. On the other hand, programs that define addiction as disease often have a poor success rate and relegate the multiple relapses to addiction as an expected part of the treatment process as episodes that indicate a need for an adjustment in the treatment program.
“In the field of drug treatment, we do not find that informing an addict that his condition is disease related benefits him anymore than dissuading him that his condition is not a disease is necessary,” Bobby Wiggins, Drug Education and Prevention Specialist, Narconon International. “The simplicity is that an addict needs to gain control of his own life, or the need for drugs will persist. The hard part remains starting the addict on this path, because the last aspect of reality that an addicted person can grasp is that life is livable without his drug of choice,” Wiggins says. Fortunately for the addict, addiction can be successfully resolved.
For more information about treating addiction without the use of drugs or to find out more about handling drug cravings, call 800-775-8750 or visit www.narconon.org.
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