Drug Experts Have Seen This Scenario Before 

Drug Experts Have Seen This Scenario Before 
Posted by FoM on January 25, 2000 at 11:44:10 PT
By Kevin Allen
Source: USA Today
Kevin Stevens' alleged drug-induced behavior Saturday night doesn't carry the same shock value to drug addiction experts as it does for the hockey world or its fans.Although they have no knowledge of Stevens or his case, drug experts have seen the scenario too often to consider it extraordinary. They will tell you that Stevens' $3.2 million salary, a wife and two kids plus a third on the way, a successful hockey career, a long list of friends and an engaging personality didn't make him immune from crack cocaine's lure.
''Most people see drug addicts as not worthy of esteem,'' said Dr. Michael M. Miller, secretary of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. ''But this is not only seen with public people, entertainment stars, sports heroes -- it's also seen with professional people, such as physicians and attorneys. It's very hard for people to imagine that a doctor could develop an addiction, but doctors do. That's because addiction affects all corners of society. It would be helpful if our culture would move away from the stigma and stereotypes.''The NHL and the Players Association make sure players are given yearly talks on the risks of substance abuse. But the lure of smoking crack cocaine -- a higher concentrated form of cocaine -- seems to overcome some who should know the risks.The Caron Foundation in Wernersville, Pa., has been treating drug addiction for 45 years, and senior executive officer Todd Whitmer says the public image of drug addiction is different from what's seen in the 200-bed facility.''The stereotype of the type of drugs people use (is inaccurate),'' he said. ''We see people at the high income addicted to heroin and crack cocaine.''A well-to-do addict might actually get a less-diluted form of the drug than is found on the street, Whitmer said.''The percentage of the drug is not controlled by the FDA,'' he said. ''You don't know what you are getting.''The Stevens scenario, involving a prostitute and a taxi ride into a higher-crime area, is not uncommon.''Is it common to mix to multiple high-risk behavior, such as seeking sex from a prostitute and seeking an illegal drug?'' said Miller, who runs NewStart, a drug and alcohol treatment center in Madison, Wis. ''That can happen and is usually a sign of a well-established addiction or a severe personality disorder where someone is so impulsive and their behavior choices are so poor that they engage in high-risk behavior.''It isn't uncommon, Miller said, for a drug user to ignore the apparent risk, such as the imminent arrival of police.''When addiction has developed, the appeal of the drug is what alters judgment,'' Miller said. ''They overvalue drug use and undervalue other behavior options. People will choose to stay by their drug supply and risk adverse consequences.''Miller said the cocaine users tend to use their entire supply all at once.''They don't leave the room if there is still cocaine on the table,'' he said.A drug-using athlete might be drawn to cocaine because it is intense and a fast-acting stimulant.''For people whose personality or lifestyle is to seek a high level of stimulation, stimulant drugs are appealing because they artificially produce that rush very quickly and predictably,'' Miller said.There are warning signs of people using crack, such as moodiness, unusual temper displays and discomfort. But people can function in their jobs without anyone realizing the depths of the problem for an extended period.''But loss of control is inevitable outcome when addiction has developed,'' Miller said.In dealing with drug addiction, Whitmer said the type of drug being used isn't as important as other factors, such as relationships and support groups. Said Whitmer: ''One of the critical issues is: What's their belief about the problem?'' USA Today Page 13C Published: January 25, 2000 Copyright 2000 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.  The Caron Foundation
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Comment #1 posted by J Christen-Mitchell on January 26, 2000 at 05:38:09 PT:
Damned Druggies
Seven druggies not held in low esteem that come to mind would have to be these guys. According to "Pot and Presidents"(Green Egg, 1975);" Surviving correspondence of the first several presidents of the US indicates that seven of them smoked cannabis. George Washington allegedly prefered to smoke "the leaves of hemp" rather than to drink alcohol. While campaigning with the Army of the Revolution, George Washington was heard to bemoan that he could not be home to harvest his hemp crop. James Madison was once heard to say that smoking hemp inspired him to found a new nation on democratic principles. James Monroe, the fifth U.S. president , was introduced to hashish while he was serving as ambassador to France, and he continued to enjoy the smoke until he was seventy-three years old. When Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, and Franklin Pierce served as military commanders, they each smoked hemp with their soldiers. In one letter to his family, Pierce complained that hemp was "about the only good thing" about the Mexican War. Thanks to The Great Book of Hemp by Rowan Robinson. 
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