The universal struggles to experience love, joy, happiness, belonging, social relevance, longevity, freedom or relief from pain, etc., and various escapes from some of life’s discomforting and sometimes harsh realities, have likely been with us since the beginning of humankind. Struggles also concerning the special challenges associated with self-perceived “uniqueness,” suffered at times by many, if not all, of us in some manner.
And among the many responses to such age-old struggles has come an ever-growing arsenal of natural and man-made “substances.” Some offering solutions and promise on one hand, while also harboring the many sufferings involved with addiction. For example, substances commonly called “drugs,” “alcohol,” “tobacco,” “marijuana,” “narcotics,” and seemingly less stigmatizing and less threatening terms, such as “prescription medications,” etc.
Substances used legally and illegally for a growing number or purposes, including but not limited to; recreation; relief of pain, ranging from the imagined to the most severe; stress relief or avoidance; treatment of diseases ranging from the common cold to the most painful and debilitating; capital punishment; performance enhancement; sedation; stimulation; and behavior control (such as, wrongfully and destructively preventing young children from behaving like “young children”).
“Addictive substances” that (regardless of technical definition) are all nonetheless very much “mood and behavior altering.” [Think not? Then step into the shoes of anyone now abusing or attempting to withdraw from any addictive substance—yes, even alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, etc. Or, into the shoes of the family or other lives that drug-abuse impacts.] Therefore, throughout this book, each and all such substances will simply and fittingly be referred to as “addictive-drugs.” Whose use and abuse by millions can, and increasingly does, involve a thin line between a positive outcome and one of dependency, addiction, and death.
The types of natural and man-made “addictive-drugs” are many and involve a long and complex history of world-wide scope. One entailing a depth of detail purposely not addressed herein. Nor is such detail required in order to grasp the truly devastating reality of America’s “present and rapidly spreading” addictive-drugs epidemic. One fueled in large measure by both our natural and unrealistic cravings; a profit-driven drug industry; drug cartels; ignorance; apathy, complacency, denial, greed, fear; technology; and even well-intentioned physicians. A “self-destruction from within” that “Trump’s Wall” and our nation’s borders, regardless of how strong, will not alone shield us from. An ever-spreading epidemic of tragedy from which no individual, family, group, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or other population demographic is immune!
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“There is no chemical solution to a spiritual problem.” —anonymous