It has been a sad time for us in South Africa with the death of Nelson Mandela. Even though this was some months back his presence is very much evident. It is very difficult to explain to those without an intimate knowledge of our history just how much this man has come to symbolise. He is the figurehead that represents the struggle of many other great men, a nation and the political structures he represented. If it was not for the efforts of Mandela and these individuals, the treatment centre I run would not be legal. This is a thought that is truly bizarre, and a sad indictment on those that allowed the apartheid system to flourish under the old regime. We miss Tata Madiba.
Stress and Addiction
Gabapentin and Addiction
Mindfulness and Addiction
Over the last few months there has been more and more mounting research supporting the long-term use of Buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid addiction (see previous newsletters). The New York Times (ok, so maybe the Times in the UK is THE big Times!) featured an article about buprenorphine that received a lot of attention in various addiction forums. The headline "Addiction Treatment With a Dark Side" sets the tone for the article. Although the article is well researched, it distorts many of the "facts".
Carl Hart's book, High Price, and the associated publicity, has brought back into the public eye issues of poverty and how they relate to addiction. Not only the very real plight of financial poverty, but the multiple expressions of financial poverty that lead to a poverty of life experience. This brought me back to the work of Bruce Alexander and his work on environmental influences on self-administration in animal studies. I am eagerly awaiting reading Alexander's book Globalization of Addiction.
For those of you not familiar with the Rat Park experiments, I would like to suggest that you take a look at Stuart McMillen's excellent cartoon, which accurately and succinctly describes them.
Quote and Personality of the Month: Mike Ashton
"If it is the case that there is no such thing as 'addiction' as a unitary medical or psychological condition, or even a set of such conditions ('addictions'), then it also makes no sense to construct unitary, standardised responses. This is like developing standard medical responses to the behaviour we recognise as limping. Any number of conditions and combinations of circumstances can lead to this behaviour including being kicked by the doctor, hobbled by prison chains, a cancer, a poorly fitting shoe, or an uneven floor, it may or may not bother the limper in any number of different ways for shorter or longer periods, and what they want done about it, if anything, will similarly vary. We may need a doctor to fix it but we may as easily need a carpenter, a good shoe fitter or a lawyer. The unitary nature of the behaviour does not mean there is a similarly unitary cause or a standard set of responses."Logical Fallacies
In the course of following many of the on-line debates that take place I am becoming very aware of the lack of critical thinking that is happening in the world of addiction. Many so-called facts are, in fact, based on poor evidence and are presented as fact or first principles upon which fallacious arguments are built. For this reason I decided to include this helpful link to help us try and become more critical in our thinking and recognise these logical fallacies.