(ed:..having spent a couple of decades addicted to/using heroin – and having been free of that addiction for even longer – i feel i have a relevant/valid 5 cents worth of opinion to offer.
my first observation would be to applaud what the government in norway is doing – in/by providing maintenance for addicts..but would also note that the netherlands have been doing something similar for a long time.and it has proven to be a success.
heroin addicts in the netherlands are supplied with heroin – so they can live otherwise normal lives – which of course means they have no need to deal to support their own habit – nor to commit other crimes for that same overwhelmingly compelling reason.
in countries without sane drug policies if an addict is not a person of independent means – the choices are stark – you steal or you deal – or you sell your body..
(and yes -prostitution is legal here in nz – but do people really want their daughter/son/friend forced into prostitution because that is the only option to maintain their blackmarket habit..?..really..?..this is a manifestation of sane drug-policies..?..)
and of course the netherlands/norwegian approach also means that addicts are not suffering the dangers/vagaries of using blackmarket products ..
(n.b. most overdoses are accidents – addicts feeding their desire for a big-hit/strong high misjudging how much they will need – this compounded by those blackmarket vagaries/differing strength of different batches of heroin..so those who have lost friends/loved ones to overdose should know this..overdose would rarely if ever be a deliberate suicide..the addict is just trying for the high – not to end their lives…heroin takes care of any/the pain they may be suffering which has caused them to turn there in the first place..)
and of course sane drug policies also means that addicts can live normal lives while they work through their addiction..
and because an addict with security of supply is a perfectly functioning human being – can work/maintain family life etc..none of the upheaval/dangers of a life lived around the blackmarket/crime..
(n.b. there most definitely is a life-cycle of addiction – there are very few old addicts – and that is not because they have overdosed – it is very often that if they started young most addicts tire of the constant turmoil of the life they are forced to live..and in their late thirties most of them stop..
in my case i stopped at about that age – and then went to university/raised a child etc. etc.
and i did it the hard way – to kick my final habit i went and locked myself in a room for the required number of days/nites – with naught but lots of cannabis/hashish to help ease my path/pain (more on that later..)
which brings us to new zealand in 2018: and here – unlike norway and the netherlands we are doing everything wrong..
from dragging the chain on cannabis law reform – (med-pot to be only available to people with a medical death-sentence..(!)..are you kidding me..?..)
here in new zealand what we have done with our opiate-addicts for decades is to offer them a life-sentence of a state-sanctioned addiction to a drug that is more addictive/harder to kick than heroin – namely methadone..(!)
i know..!..i know..!..what utter madness..eh..?
a cure that is far worse than what it purports to heal..
and the thing is with methadone is that it is so much harder to kick than heroin – no locking yrslf in a room with a big bag of weed/hashish option – as i took..and just riding it out..
‘cos aside from being devilishly hard to kick – trying to kick methadone by going cold turkey can kill you..(!)
(heroin-withdrawals are a living hell/death – but they don’t actually end the life of the average addict – you do come out the other side..methadone.?..not so much..)
and because it is so addictive/hard to kick – every town in new zealand in 2018 has lots of methadone-addicts – many of them way past that heroin drop-off age..still going to the chemist to get their methadone..decades after they last used heroin..and facing that stricture for the rest of their lives.
(my prescription to free those methadone addicts from that life-sentence would be to offer to switch them to maintenance-morphine – and then to wean them off that..
once again – a commonsense-approach to a largely solvable problem..and a problem that will currently only end with the deaths of that generation of addicts..and that is pretty messed-up..)
previously i noted how i used cannabis/hashish to help me kick heroin..to ease me through withdrawals – and more importantly to help keep me off/away from heroin..)
i can also testify that i used cannabis to help me kick addictions to tobacco/alcohol/barbiturates/cocaine/crack-cocaine…plus of course the heroin..
and as a result of those experiences i would argue most strongly that cannabis should be offered as an option to anyone addicted to anything.
it would not be for everyone – but for many it would be a most valuable tool..
and that is my five cents worth..and my plea for some sane drug-policies in new zealand..)
The government announced that the Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Affairs was asked to propose a program that would improve the quality of life for those struggling with substance abuse.