Providing straightforward information pertaining to drugs, drug use & drug policy. The Grey Pages promotes drug-related literacy and advocates a system of viable and tolerant drug policies. This is my personal collection of commentaries, essays, tid-bits, and other such writings on everything ranging from drug use, drug policy and drug-myths, to drug-science, addiction, human behavior, and the workings of the human brain. I started this blog with a particular focus on opioids, and over the past year have found my interest gravitate toward the intriguing, ever-changing world of designer intoxicants (i.e. "research chemicals" or "designer drugs").

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Drugs Should Be Treated The Same As Food, Sex, and Pornography

The Reinforcing Nature of Drugs vs Drug Use

Primer: Drugs are inanimate, insentient entities (i.e. objects) incapable of acting independently. Drugs are not contagious viruses or bacilli. Drugs are are not boogeymen. Drugs are not "out to get" anyone - kids or adults. Keeping this in mind, government's lawful role is protecting individuals against malicious harm from criminals, or real 'boogeymen' - for instance from being assaulted, raped, murdered, or robbed - the government has NO lawful role in protecting individuals from anything else and, therefore, has no place protecting adults from their own consentual behavior, much less from inanimate entities such as chemicals or plant matter.

In terms of true addiction: Drugs in and of themselves are not capable of producing addiction, and addiction is not capable of compelling an individual to act against his own will. It is the sense of pleasure produced by a substance and the meaning that an individual imposes upon the substance, rather than the substance itself, that is "addictive" - The process of addiction incentivizes rather than forces the habitual user to continue repeating this experience, often at the expense of other pursuits depending on the relative  level of significance or meaning which the user attatches to these pursuits. The very same is to be said for any particular behavior, any activity, or the use of any device - i.e. In the case of problem gambling, it is the psychological reward derived from gambling, and the meaning it carries for the gambler, which the gambler is attatched to. Not the deck of cards. Physical dependence and personal preference aside, the mesolimbic reinforcement induced by most rewarding activities is the same. Whether it be produced by drug use or any other vice - the biological mechanism at this level is virtually interchangeable. The only factor which varies from person to person is the object of one's fixation - this is where the phenomenon of "personal meaning" comes into play.

To support the prohibition of casual drug use is no different than supporting laws against other mind altering activities - eating, sex, masturbation, television, excessive-shopping, gambling, pornography, video games, whoring for attention, collecting junk, over-excersize, fasting, bungee jumping, skydiving, serial-dating, prayer and meditation. Do we blame a television set for someone's addiction to TV? Do we blame nice breasts and vaginas for a married man's ongoing secret sexual affairs? I don't believe we blame old junk for a hoarder's obsession with collecting it; or blame clothing & jewelry for a woman's compulsive shopping.


  1. Great blogs. Your a very ingenious and brilliant person. Congrats for speaking the truth. From a chronic pain patient. I appreciate a voice to translate these complex ideas into common vernacular.

  2. Hello. I occasionally check out your site. I am a chronic pain patient with a messed up back and a great deal of siactic pain. I used to take percocets and after getting into pain management I was perscribed Dilaudid. When I asked for a Contin type medicine I was perscribed Jurnista, the Canadian equivalent of Exlago. To be honest it did a decent job but no pill works for 24 Hours and there were times when I needed breakthru pain help, 1 or 2 1 MG Dilly's helped.

    I asked my doctor to change me to a hydromorphone contin and take 6 MG or or 2x a day with some relief. The good thing about Hydro morphone is that it attacks pain without the high. I imagine that I would have to take the equivalent of 40 MG of the OC to compare with my Hydromorphone. That amount would make me 'loopy' and stoned. I have to drive a good deal to get to and from work and I need pain relief, not a high.

    If these hard to crush pills I took did not give me the meds I need I will be very dissapointed, they cost me over a buck a pill with a script.

  3. I'm a CPP of 28 standing (sometimes, anyway - standing, that is). I've mostly had under-treatment in this time, plus lots of the usual abuse. Two years ago though, while my wife was busy dying of COPD with only me to care for her (for two years, alone; social programs here had been defunded), the VA forced me to see a fake pain doc. He instantly remove more than half my meds - hell, long story short, he destroyed the regimen that allowed me to move and function almost normally for eight years.Jerked me around like crazy, too. Tried to make me drive 50 miles each way for a piss test ("to make sure you're taking your meds correctly"). I'd alreayd told I wouldn't. I HAD to take care of my wife, and after hearing what my dose threshold was, he immediately prescribed under it. After a while the house became toxic, my weight dropped from 210 to 143 (I'm 6'2" tall), and my wife and I decided on suicide. About a week before that was to happen, I sort of tripped over a new local doc who was willing to help. Barely enough, but I kept her in the house she grew up in until passed away in my arms, as she'd wanted.

    Fast forward two years to now: I'm still underweight, but dong better. I have a new doc who has just told me he's going back to school and getting out of pain management. I have a couple of years unless the DEA gets another burr under its saddle, but after that I have no idea where I'll go. I have no desire to have the rug yanked out from under me again, and no idea where to find a real PM specialist. I can't go back to the VA. The VISN20 has decreed that no VA under his watch can fill a script of morphine or equivalent for more than 160mg per day.

    I don't know if I'd survive another cutoff. Don't know that I'd want to. That means homeless again, all the pain back, and now I'm older (56). I wish this Godddamned country would pull its head out! So anyway, thanks for the great article!


  4. Thanks for the good words, Mark. And for taking the time to read. It's good to see there are good folks like you out there taking the initiative to educate themselves regarding information which is crucial for those who use these compounds - for whatever purpose it may be. The real danger in these drugs is only acute; the risk of overdose when used carelessly - One of my hopes is to shed an accurate and truthful light on that danger, which can then be simply avoided by prudent individuals.

    Ian - Thanks for reading. Unfortunately I'm in a bit of a rush; you have some excellent insight to share and your comments make that evident. I see that you moderate parts of the PRRN forum; very neat resource I will have to soon check out. Your comments are appreciated, and always welcome.