Aww yes, the million dollar question.
Many many studies and opinions around this question of course.
One of the most long standing resources with the same name is from Joe Herzanek of The changing lives foundation.
Here’s some other Interesting facts that help us to understand why they don’t want to quit.
I didn’t write this but I actually have my son on audio saying this exact same premise.
It’s one of many audio recordings I have of him, that I put in my upcoming book 1000 Last Goodbyes.
“If you can think of the happiest days of your life, i.e. wedding day, birth of your firstborn, landing your dream job, etc. your dopamine level rises to about 200 units.
Methamphetamine’s powerful effects come from its impact on the brain’s reward, or pleasure, center. Meth does not directly release dopamine. It attaches itself to dopamine receptor sites and fools neurons into releasing large quantities of dopamine. This accounts for the intense rush a user experiences from meth.
“In addition, meth prevents dopamine from being recycled. Instead, dopamine is active in the body for much longer, explaining the extra long duration of the meth high. The drug does this by blocking (inhibiting) the dopamine transporter involved in its reabsorption (reuptake) into the original neuron that sent it. Transporters are places on neurons that reabsorb the dopamine after it has completed its job. As a result, more dopamine becomes available to the brain. This extra dopamine, in turn, activates an even greater number of dopamine receptors. This increased release of dopamine is primarily responsible for the intensity and duration of meth-amphetamine’s effects.
“In lab animal experiments conducted by UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse Program, sex caused dopamine levels to increase to 200 units and cocaine caused levels to rise to 350 units. With meth-amphetamine, dopamine levels jumped to about 1,250 units. Overall, this study showed that meth causes about 12 times as much feelings of pleasure as sex, food, and other activities, including the use of other illegal stimulant drugs. All illegal drugs of abuse release dopamine, but that methamphetamine “produces the mother of all dopamine releases.” So, when an addict stops using nothing seems right, life seems dull and gray. Meth is a beast but I do know addicts who fought hard and got free of it”.
I wrote about Dopamine in This post last year and The tempest explains it well in this article.
Until they are ready to get help, we also have to be open to new thoughts of saving their life, such a harm reduction.Believe me, I never thought I would be saying those words until the last 6 months when I was met with the immensely stubborn, deeply hijacked version of my brilliant, driven entrepreneur son.
This is a great video on Harm reduction with Dee Dee Stout who wrote a book Coming to Harm Reduction Kicking and Screaming- which I can relate! She also writes a blog for Families for Sensible Drug Policies an organization with tons of resources.
Harm reduction is an entire blog in itself so I’ll save that for later but the important thing is it BUYS TIME until they can decide to seek recovery. My bottom line that helped me see harm reduction as a necessity is when I witnessed my son in full withdrawals thrashing around in the back seat of my car. He was begging me to take him to get drugs just to stop him from this torture. I said (yelled) to him “Good hell! Is this not enough to get you to stop? How can you be this sick & not want to ever experience it again?”. He told me, “Mom, this is nothing- try lying in a drug house so sick you can’t move or walk and begging people there to help you- either with drugs or take you to the hospital while they laugh saying -no way dude, we’re not getting arrested”……
I realized in that moment that if he had a needle covered in swamp water or ‘anything’ it would NOT HAVE STOPPED him from plunging it into his arm for relief.
An addict is NOT going to suddenly stop using because they don’t have clean needles. Clean needles WILL however prevent further pain & suffering by avoiding the added disease of hepatitis and Aids.
We have to keep pointing them to recovery! A whole new life is right there waiting for them”.
Making demands of certain recovery methods or outright denying them clean needles or narcan or food, in most cases; will not make them change their mind that very second, that very day. Harm reduction and life-saving measures give people time to recover.
I have a large collection of recovery quotes (over 200) on my Facebook profile under photos- We Do Recover album . I love to share.