White House drug czar: Whitney Houston’s death is a “teachable moment”

posted at 12:45 pm on February 14, 2012 by Tina Korbe

It’s a favorite phrase of this administration — “teachable moment” — and drug czar Gil Kerlikowske couldn’t resist applying it to the recent death of the legendary Whitney Houston. The Hill reports:

Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said Houston’s passing puts a spotlight on the issue of prescription drug use. The superstar had opened up about in past interviews admitting to problems with substance abuse, however the Los Angeles County coroner however has still not ruled on the cause of her death. …

The nation’s top drug-policy enforcer told CBS that this type of drug use affects a “huge number” of people throughout the country and causes deaths in “very, very high numbers.”

“They’re coming right out of our medicine cabinets and yet these drugs are as addictive and dangerous as any other drug,” he added.

Kerlikowske said that Houston’s struggles with substance abuse highlight the fact that the issue spans all demographics and socioeconomic barriers. …

“We can use this a moment to help people understand and remember that there are literally billions of Americans suffering from this problem,” he said.

I get what Kerlikowske meant by his remarks, but, for some reason, the application of that phrase in this instance just felt off. Whitney Houston’s death does seem doubly tragic and unnecessarily premature because drugs probably played a part, but, mostly, in the immediate wake of her death, mourners want to remember her immense talent, not her personal demons. That doesn’t mean fans should remain in denial about her drug difficulties — just that they should be allowed to lament her loss without a lecture from the administration.

As long as Kerlikowske is going to talk about substance abuse, though, I’d prefer he didn’t imply (or come right out and say) drug addiction is a disease. Addicts might need help, but it’s not as though they “contracted” an addiction through no fault of their own. Is caffeine addiction a disease in need of a cure? Kerlikowske’s framing of the issue ensures a role for the government in solving it, whereas a framing of the issue that suggests addicts can be empowered to take personal responsibility minimizes the need for government involvement.

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NoDonkey on February 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Back to the Future?

22044 on February 14, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Is caffeine addiction a disease in need of a cure?

HEY!!!!!

Keep my coffee out of this!!

Tim_CA on February 14, 2012 at 1:20 PM

They and Tony Bennet have lost their minds…maybe from drugs.

Schadenfreude on February 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Tony Bennet/John McCain 2012!

KOOLAID2 on February 14, 2012 at 1:20 PM

rickyricardo on February 14, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Thanks for weighing in Ron Paul.

NoDonkey on February 14, 2012 at 1:20 PM

America is Whitney Houston, and Barack Obama is Bobby Brown.

PappyD61 on February 14, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Excellent analogy. One difference … Brown actually expressed grief over Whitney’s passing. Obama would be consumed with glee while celebrating America’s demise.

stukinIL4now on February 14, 2012 at 1:20 PM

So if this had been Rush Limbaugh…

rogerb on February 14, 2012 at 1:21 PM

If you want to parse out “physiological” instead of the biological fact – good luck with that.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

How about you tell me how a physiological response to a chemical ingestion isn’t, in fact, biological?

Good luck with that.

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 1:21 PM

coldwarrior on February 14, 2012 at 1:13 PM

This should be the quote I’m asking about…

22044 on February 14, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Anyone opposed to the legalization of drugs is an idiot.

This is a teachable moment: If drugs are illegal there is no justifiable reason as to why alcohol is legal.

rickyricardo on February 14, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Umm, yeah…except that the drugs she was taking are legal. You can get them with a prescription. Oops!

Trafalgar on February 14, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Yeah, like the druggie who’s actually making meth is going to not sign the dumbass form.

TXUS on February 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM

and risk self incriminating perjury!!!??? no way!

DanMan on February 14, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Anyone opposed to the legalization of drugs is an idiot.

This is a teachable moment: If drugs are illegal there is no justifiable reason as to why alcohol is legal.

rickyricardo on February 14, 2012 at 1:19 PM
Umm, yeah…except that the drugs she was taking are legal. You can get them with a prescription. Oops!

Trafalgar on February 14, 2012 at 1:22 PM

I think what he’s saying is that you can die on legal substances (prescription drugs/alcohol), so why not legalize substances that turn people into homocidal maniacs who don’t work (e.g. meth, PCP, heroin)?

It was a pretty thought through position.

NoDonkey on February 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

They want people to believe the government can solve everything. When you take away God, it’s much easier to convince people that their savior is the government. Once you go there, you are subject to the government…. not the government being subject to YOU! WHY can no one see this?

UnderstandingisPower on February 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

As long as Kerlikowske is going to talk about substance abuse, though, I’d prefer he didn’t imply (or come right out and say) drug addiction is a disease. Addicts might need help, but it’s not as though they “contracted” an addiction through no fault of their own. Is caffeine addiction a disease in need of a cure?

Well, I wasn’t aware that the definition of a disease involved “contracting” it with no fault of your own. Once drug or alcohol use has become an addiction, I would say it certainly is a disease. Have you ever known an addict? They are sick people, even though they may still be quite functional.

Do lifetime smokers who develop lung cancer not have a disease? Chronically overweight people who develop diabetes? People who get skin cancer after years of heavy sun exposure?

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Why all the bathtub jokes? I know I read yesterday where the family said the coroner told them she didn’t drown…as for teachable moment, if we can believe what’s been alluded to, then she took benzodiazepines and drank alcohol. The lesson would be, don’t mix two chemicals that on their own can suppress your central nervous system, because actual breathing is necessary. This is just an excuse to make drugs harder to come by for the lower-middle class folks who don’t have the means, or the cadre of physicians around the country to get scrips from. This affects someone’s little grandmother dying of cancer who can’t get enough pain relief, because they’ve gone over the legal limit set by our government. You also cannot parent grownups who prefer the freedom to live their own way. Also, enough with the blame Bobby Brown business. Whitney was a hard partying gal long before she met BB, she just had Clive Davis and co. covering her tracks so the public would think the church gal was as pure as the driven snow. Congrats, you bought the narrative. Now wanna hear about angelic Taylor Swift?

di butler on February 14, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Unless treatment is sought or the addict or alcoholic is imprisoned or institutionalized, cut off from supply for one reason or another, outcome is invariably terminal.

troyriser_gopftw on February 14, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Nonsense.

Paul-Cincy on February 14, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Not much on counter-argument, are you, sport? Why is what I wrote nonsense? Support the claim. I’m genuinely curious.

troyriser_gopftw on February 14, 2012 at 1:17 PM

I figured you’d simply look at what you wrote and think, oh, yeah, that’s just stupid. I messed up.

OK. You set up a conditional: If the addict/alcoholic isn’t involuntarily cut off from his drugs/alcohol, then he will die.

I say, if you don’t see what’s wrong with that, then I don’t know who I’m dealing with, and find it hard to know what to say to you to reach you.

There are examples of addicts/alcoholics who are NOT involuntarily cut off from their supply, and instead of invariably dying from their addiction, stop on their own, and recover.

I tried to answer your question. I don’t know what else I can say to you. I’ll just assume you have this idea in your head of “addiction is terminal without treatment”, and it’s so appealing to you that you ignore the reality of counterexamples. Nothing I can do about that, sport.

Unless you consider just quitting drug/alcohol on your own a kind of “treatment”. In which case our disagreement is semantic, not real.

Paul-Cincy on February 14, 2012 at 1:26 PM

If you want to parse out “physiological” instead of the biological fact – good luck with that.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

How about you tell me how a physiological response to a chemical ingestion isn’t, in fact, biological?

Good luck with that.

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Are you really trying to argue some faux “conservative cred” groupthink on a medical topic???

Go read the Mayo Clinic link I posted.

Seriously – for so-called “conservatives” who rightly believe in the right to life for the unborn – how the F do you qualify your opinon, in the face of medical facts by simply claiming “its not a disease, yuck, yuck.”

Go visit a Pediatric ICU, get educated on basic medical literature – then come back here and wax poetically about a medical issue that is being used as an “anti-Dem” bludgeon.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 1:27 PM

We can use this a moment to help people understand and remember that there are literally billions of Americans suffering from this problem,” he said.
Did he really say “billions”?

What drugs is he on?

NoDonkey on February 14, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Something spilled on the Oval Office desk?!…with little coffee stirring sticks available. Sugar? Non-dairy Creamer?

KOOLAID2 on February 14, 2012 at 1:27 PM

“They’re coming right out of our medicine cabinets and yet these drugs are as addictive and dangerous as any other drug,” he added.

Somebody send a memo and an agent or several to David Brock’s office.

Good Lt on February 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Apparently she bathed with olive oil in her tub. I think she passed out and slipped under water due to the slickness of the tub. Obama MUST ban olive oil in order to save us all.

ctmom on February 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Yeah, like the druggie who’s actually making meth is going to not sign the dumbass form.
 
TXUS on February 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM

 
and risk self incriminating perjury!!!??? no way!
 
DanMan on February 14, 2012 at 1:24 PM

 
Moot point. He never went in after he saw the “No Concealed Handguns” sticker on the door.

rogerb on February 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Do lifetime smokers who develop lung cancer not have a disease?

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

So smoking is a disease?

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM

We can use this a moment to help people understand and remember that there are literally billions of Americans suffering from this problem,” he said.
Did he really say “billions”?

What drugs is he on?

NoDonkey on February 14, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Something spilled on the Oval Office desk?!…with little coffee stirring sticks available. Sugar? Non-dairy Creamer?

KOOLAID2 on February 14, 2012 at 1:27 PM

The White House is addicted to stupid pills I think.

No prescription required.

NoDonkey on February 14, 2012 at 1:29 PM

America is Whitney Houston, and Barack Obama is Bobby Brown.

PappyD61 on February 14, 2012 at 1:04 PM
Excellent analogy. One difference … Brown actually expressed grief over Whitney’s passing. Obama would be consumed with glee while celebrating America’s demise.

stukinIL4now on February 14, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Can there be a combined thread winner?

KOOLAID2 on February 14, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Still waiting for you to explain to me how a physiological response isn’t in fact biological.

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 1:31 PM

“Teaching” implies that someone with greater knowledge and experience is enlighting someone else who in need of some enlightenment… which presumably, only the “teacher” can provide.

What I find most offensive about this adminstration is the arrogance to assume they are smarter, more informed, and better traveled than anyone else. This administration is not in a position to be “teaching” anything: their track record shows that they are absolutely clueless about economics, business, history and world affairs.

VastRightWingConspirator on February 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Was Agent Brian Terry’s death a ‘teachable moment’…?

… Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on February 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Yea well, Ted Nugent would call it a “self-evident truth.”

HopeHeFails on February 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Whitney in her prime and gloriously pregnant:

I’m every woman
It’s all in me
Anything you want done, baby
I’ll do it naturally…

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on February 14, 2012 at 1:34 PM

If only she’d called the Rock & Roll Doctor first, a shame -

Druggy Hotline

roy_batty on February 14, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 1:27 PM
Still waiting for you to explain to me how a physiological response isn’t in fact biological.

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Keep waiting moron – more importantly – please provide your definition of a disease.

This should be good. And if you were paying attention – I took issue with your parsing of physiological – while supporting the notion “drug and alcohol addicitons arent diseases”

Just admit you are wrong, misspoke – and your intent was purely political – and nothing to do with the reality of medical literature – namely the Mayo Clinic that I provided on the disease of addiction.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 1:35 PM

As long as Kerlikowske is going to talk about substance abuse, though, I’d prefer he didn’t imply (or come right out and say) drug addiction is a disease. Addicts might need help, but it’s not as though they “contracted” an addiction through no fault of their own. Is caffeine addiction a disease in need of a cure? Kerlikowske’s framing of the issue ensures a role for the government in solving it, whereas a framing of the issue that suggests addicts can be empowered to take personal responsibility minimizes the need for government involvement.

And unlike any other disease an addict cannot be cured until an addict chooses to be cured.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 1:39 PM

I’m late to the party, but this is the dumbest thing ever. There is absolutely nothing you can do when someone commits suicide by drugs. If some agent or manager is brave enough to say, hey, I think you’ve got a problem, then they are fired and replaced with a yes-man. It’s exactly what happened with Michael Jackson. If they are rich and they want to commit suicide, there’s nothing you can do.

John the Libertarian on February 14, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Unless you consider just quitting drug/alcohol on your own a kind of “treatment”. In which case our disagreement is semantic, not real.

Paul-Cincy on February 14, 2012 at 1:26 PM

It’s true alcoholics and drug addicts can quit without treatment. There have been instances, described and documented by founding father of psychology, William James, as well as Bill Wilson, co-founder of AA, where alcoholics and drug addicts have undergone a dramatic and virtually istantaneous spiritual and physical transformation, after which they no longer craved alcohol or drugs. Such instances are incredibly rare.

Alcoholics and addicts who quit on their own statistically have a far smaller chance at recovery than those who seek treatment–and by ‘treatment’ I’m including 12-step programs and interpersonal counseling, as well as medical help and institutionalization. So sure, an addict or drunk can quit by force of sheer willpower (or prayer, as the case may be), but they don’t tend to stay quit.

And by ‘invariably terminal’ I didn’t mean to imply outright drug or alcohol overdose. As any recovering drunk or addict can tell you, there’s a thousand ways to die when you’re out there. For example, long-term alcohol abuse weakens arterial walls, which can give way and cause the alcoholic to bleed out in minutes. The hearts of heavily using cocaine addicts have a tendency to blow-out like an old tire. And then there are car crashes, of course, which take out thousands of innocent lives every year. And so on.

The numbers are cruel and unforgiving. Approximately 3-5% of those who actively seek recovery attain long-term sobriety. If an addict or alcoholic continues to use and drink, then they’ll end up in jails, institutions, or dead. That’s how it works; rather, that’s what happens when it doesn’t work.

troyriser_gopftw on February 14, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Do lifetime smokers who develop lung cancer not have a disease?

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

So smoking is a disease?

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM

In the case of smoking and drinking, cigarettes and alcohol are not the the disease, addiction is the disease. In the case of lung cancer acquired through smoking you have one disease causing another.

EnderWiggins on February 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

If you want to parse out “physiological” instead of the biological fact – good luck with that.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 1:35 PM

So ‘physiology’: the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system, Has nothing to do with medicine? Has nothing to do with addiction?

If anyone is parsing, its you.

I never claimed babies weren’t born addicted. Their addiction

is a physiological response to a chemical ingestion.

Is it not?

My point is that they aren’t born with a disease. Not all babies who are born addicted to drugs grown up staying addicted to drugs. Babies who are born of mothers who have passed on HIV or AIDS have HIV or AIDS for life.

Nothing political about it

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

And unlike any other disease an addict cannot be cured until an addict chooses to be cured.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Huh?

So the newborn chooses to seek a cure?

And if I am diagnosed with cancer – and choose no treatment, it will be cured???

I am really baffled by that statement NotCoach.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

As sick as it sounds, I am actually waiting for some 2-bit sleazebucket marketing outlet to start selling Whitney Houston Bubble Bath on the web any day now!

Watch! I bet it will happen!

pilamaye on February 14, 2012 at 1:48 PM

As some have already said, with hopeless addicts, there are no “teachable moments.”

To quote the sometimes-great Neil Young, I’ve seen the needle and the damage done. It’s not pretty, but to a real junkie, it’s not a deterrent.

Good Solid B-Plus on February 14, 2012 at 1:51 PM

I am really baffled by that statement NotCoach.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Not surprising…

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 1:52 PM

addiction is the disease

EnderWiggins on February 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

I have never bought this. It’s not something that can be caught. It’s a mental state. It’s a crutch. It’s self-medicating something that hurts inside. It’s not a disease.

John the Libertarian on February 14, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Whitney Houston was a singer, that’s it, she didn’t cure cancer, feed the hungry, build shelters for abused women…she sang songs, that’s it…she was an addict, with lots of money.
My neighbor, with two children, is a better citizen, is of more value to the country, than 10 Whitney Houston’s could ever hope to have achieved…what did my neighbor do? Raise two great kids, and he doesn’t to drugs, and has a steady job…that’s all it takes to eclipse the life of someone like Whitney, just be average.

right2bright on February 14, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Huh?

So the newborn chooses to seek a cure?

And if I am diagnosed with cancer – and choose no treatment, it will be cured???

I am really baffled by that statement NotCoach.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

An addict remains an addict until the addict decides he/she no longer wants to be an addict. No amount of intervention will change the psychology of an addict unwilling to commit to being rid of their own addiction. There is no conventional means of ending an addiction. An addict must want to stop being addict.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Such instances are incredibly rare.

troyriser_gopftw on February 14, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Asserting is fun. G.W. Bush quit cold turkey soon after his 40th birthday. Generally, people who quit on their own aren’t known to the therapeutic community.

Alcoholics and addicts who quit on their own statistically have a far smaller chance at recovery than those who seek treatment

I’m afraid you’re just asserting stuff again. Sigh.

Paul-Cincy on February 14, 2012 at 1:56 PM

I am really baffled by that statement NotCoach.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

The word discernment is a word that is foreign to you, right?

right2bright on February 14, 2012 at 1:56 PM

I’m late to the party, but this is the dumbest thing ever. There is absolutely nothing you can do when someone commits suicide by drugs. If some agent or manager is brave enough to say, hey, I think you’ve got a problem, then they are fired and replaced with a yes-man. It’s exactly what happened with Michael Jackson. If they are rich and they want to commit suicide, there’s nothing you can do.

John the Libertarian on February 14, 2012 at 1:42 PM

As much as I loved her voice and her hot looks, she was no victim whatsoever. She had a choice as do we all as to which paths in life we’ll take. And, even after she chose a bad one, it was not without off ramps, plenty of them. Now, whether her actual death was a suicide is yet to be determined, but she was on that trajectory without a doubt. I wish I could feel sorry for her, but no way.

TXUS on February 14, 2012 at 1:57 PM

My point is that they aren’t born with a disease. Not all babies who are born addicted to drugs grown up staying addicted to drugs. Babies who are born of mothers who have passed on HIV or AIDS have HIV or AIDS for life.

Nothing political about it

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

In the case of a newborn – born with fetal alcohol poisoning – isnt there medical treatment to halt the progression of that disease – if at all possible? Isn’t that the whole point of PICU?

And who said all diseases are terminal – or life lasting. Diseases can be cured, mitigated, kept “in check”, etc.

But to think a child, born with FAS – “chose” that disease and or isn’t permanently damaged biologically, physiologically, phsychologically- is a flat out lie.

Had Tina never added that gem of nonsense – I wouldn’t really care about a Czar – the opinons of drug addiction and celebrities etc.

What she posted is against medical fact and should be retracted.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Now wanna hear about angelic Taylor Swift?

di butler on February 14, 2012 at 1:26 PM

You got my ear, do tell.

D-fusit on February 14, 2012 at 2:01 PM

addiction is the disease

EnderWiggins on February 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

I have never bought this. It’s not something that can be caught. It’s a mental state. It’s a crutch. It’s self-medicating something that hurts inside. It’s not a disease.

John the Libertarian on February 14, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Diseases that can be “caught” are communicable diseases. Cancer is not a communicable disease, yet who argues that it is not a disease? Ditto for diabetes. Addiction is a disease — it is a physical condition, and it is progressive.

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:01 PM

As sick as it sounds, I am actually waiting for some 2-bit sleazebucket marketing outlet to start selling Whitney Houston Bubble Bath on the web any day now!

Watch! I bet it will happen!

pilamaye on February 14, 2012 at 1:48 PM

What’s worse, someone trying to make money off her death or perpetuate the nanny state off it as this Kerlikowske is effectively doing. And, he’s already doing his marketing before the woman is even buried. I guess he beat the other sickos to the punch, so to speak.

TXUS on February 14, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Tina, I am sorry, but you really do need to educate yourself on this topic. Addiction is a disease, and there is good evidence that people can have a pre-disposition to becoming addicted.

http://www.acnp.org/g4/GN401000174/CH170.html

You may be correct that the timing was off for the statement of a “teachable moment.” But please; do not intimate that addiction is somehow a “moral failing”. Those of us with dear family members and friends – or, who suffer themselves – do not need to be insulted.

pbundy on February 14, 2012 at 2:04 PM

slow motion suicide by prolonged self medication . self numbing necessitated by some deep seated psychological issue.

pictures of houston the night before, sprayed all over the internet- a near 50 year old woman having a bar brawl with another woman-disheveled ,disoriented , bleeding and sweating profusely and no one thought anything was seriously wrong? acting distracted and hyper-febrile- in front of her peers at a rehearsal, reeking of alcohol, and no one thought anything was wrong?

and the daughter- that poor girl-already with a drug problem, already has attempted suicide. that bobby brown, macking on her his own daughter in public. and no one acts like something is freaking wrong? this mess has been going on for decades- and a child was involved- and it was, what, all good?

here are these incredibly wealthy people- like musicians or popular actors- one would think their studios and record companies would have a vested interest in providing generously for their psychological welfare. yet none of the kurt cobains, michael jacksons or whitney houstons ever seem to get the psychological aid and support which can help overcome an addiction problem. they are indulged. our society has such a vast store of shame over problems involving mental health-it doesn’t help.

i’ve been in those chi chi and not so chi chi rehabs. i watched a very famous musician, on checking out, demand back the heroin that was confiscated from him/her when they were checked in. it’s a revolving door , spas. inside you can still use all the while because the real issues never are worked on .it’s the denial of responsibility. i’m an addict- it’s the disease, instead of why am I doing this to myself?

and any man who worked for cokey clinton needs to shut his hole about drug abuse.

mittens on February 14, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Diseases that can be “caught” are communicable diseases. Cancer is not a communicable disease, yet who argues that it is not a disease? Ditto for diabetes. Addiction is a disease — it is a physical condition, and it is progressive.

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Thank God you and a few others here get it.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 2:05 PM

An addict remains an addict until the addict decides he/she no longer wants to be an addict. No amount of intervention will change the psychology of an addict unwilling to commit to being rid of their own addiction. There is no conventional means of ending an addiction. An addict must want to stop being addict.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 1:55 PM

An addict is always and forever an addict. They are either active or non-active. An alcoholic can not go back to being an unconcerned, sometime social drinker. A cocaine addict cannot just nonchalantly do a line once in a while and then forget about it.

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:08 PM

I’m afraid you’re just asserting stuff again. Sigh.

Paul-Cincy on February 14, 2012 at 1:56 PM

*sigh* I’m not asserting stuff *sigh*. Are you about to swoon, or what?

I have no axe to grind here. I’m merely explaining how the disease paradigm came about, why it is employed in the first place, and why no one in the recovery community uses it as an argument absolving drug addicts and alcoholics of personal responsibility. I wanted to confine it within a blog post, not write a dissertation.

Good for George W. Bush, although I tend to think he was in the heavy drinker category, not a chronic alcoholic, and if memory serves I don’t think he has ever professed to be an alcoholic, so I don’t think the George W. Bush example of an alcoholic quitting by willpower holds up here since George W. Bush is (probably) not an alcoholic.

But hey, believe what you like. I don’t claim to be an expert or authority on everything, but it’s fair to say–on this subject anyway–I do have an informed opinion.

troyriser_gopftw on February 14, 2012 at 2:08 PM

You may be correct that the timing was off for the statement of a “teachable moment.” But please; do not intimate that addiction is somehow a “moral failing”. Those of us with dear family members and friends – or, who suffer themselves – do not need to be insulted.

pbundy on February 14, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Speak for yourself. I have an addict brother and father. Both made bad choices and continue to make bad choices. Susceptibility to becoming addicted to any particular thing is irrelevant. Please explain to us why an addict does not stop being an addict until he/she chooses to no longer be an addict.

While quitting cold turkey may be too difficult for most people, even the best programs for ending addiction are unsuccessful on those not willing to commit to ending their addiction.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:10 PM

They and Tony Bennet have lost their minds…maybe from drugs.

Schadenfreude on February 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Tony Bennett was a has been before he was a has been. He is a recycled has been.

Wade on February 14, 2012 at 2:11 PM

In the case of a newborn – born with fetal alcohol poisoning – isnt there medical treatment to halt the progression of that disease – if at all possible? Isn’t that the whole point of PICU?

Yes, but again, you’re the one parsing. ‘Poisoning’ isn’t ‘disease’. There are treatments for newborns reacting – PHYSIOLOGICALLY – to the ingestion of whatever the chemical substance was, alcohol/drugs.

And who said all diseases are terminal – or life lasting. Diseases can be cured, mitigated, kept “in check”, etc.

No one. Diseases can be cured. But there is a difference between a child born of a drug addled mother and a child who has had HIV/AIDS passed on from the mother. As I stated, the child of drugs can be treated and can be made well again. The child of the other can also be treated, but as of right now, not be made well again.

But to think a child, born with FAS – “chose” that disease and or isn’t permanently damaged biologically, physiologically, phsychologically- is a flat out lie.

Tina – nor anyone else – is making the claim a newborn child chose anything. The adult however, did. As far as permanent damage, in some cases yes. In others a child can be perfectly normal and healthy. The only ‘lie’ is from the absolute.

Had Tina never added that gem of nonsense – I wouldn’t really care about a Czar – the opinons of drug addiction and celebrities etc.

What she posted is against medical fact and should be retracted.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM

What it is against your own personal feelings, positions and political stance.

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 2:13 PM

An addict is always and forever an addict.

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:08 PM

I don’t care, and quite frankly you are purposefully missing the point.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:14 PM

While quitting cold turkey may be too difficult for most people, even the best programs for ending addiction are unsuccessful on those not willing to commit to ending their addiction.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:10 PM

True that. They’ve got to want it.

As an aside, I’m genuinely sorry for what you’ve gone through and what you’re going through. I tried to save my brother. Couldn’t.

troyriser_gopftw on February 14, 2012 at 2:16 PM

I think she passed out and slipped under water due to the slickness of the tub. Obama MUST ban olive oil in order to save us all.

ctmom on February 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Popeye wouldn’t like that.
:P

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on February 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM

troyriser_gopftw on February 14, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Thank you.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:18 PM

I don’t care, and quite frankly you are purposefully missing the point.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:14 PM

He’s not the only one.

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 2:21 PM

“We can use this a moment to help people understand and remember that there are literally billions of Americans suffering from this problem,” he said.

Apparently we really do need insurance coverage for contraceptives.

/

Nom de Boom on February 14, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Uh, Gil who?

n0doz on February 14, 2012 at 2:23 PM

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 2:13 PM

FAS isn’t permanently damaging?

Good to know.

You seem to have quite a Townhall track record of shooting your mouth off, then backtracking, while not admitting you are wrong.

This is one of those moments.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 2:23 PM

I don’t care, and quite frankly you are purposefully missing the point.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:14 PM

I think you mean “purposely,” “not purposefully,” but that’s beside the point.

I know quite well what your point is, and you’re wrong. One of the first steps in treatment is to try get an addict to understand and accept that they cannot “control” their substance use like other people and that they will never be able to. Their own history is usually the nest evidence for this if you can get them to see it

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Speak for yourself. I have an addict brother and father. Both made bad choices and continue to make bad choices. Susceptibility to becoming addicted to any particular thing is irrelevant. Please explain to us why an addict does not stop being an addict until he/she chooses to no longer be an addict.

While quitting cold turkey may be too difficult for most people, even the best programs for ending addiction are unsuccessful on those not willing to commit to ending their addiction.

Actually, physicians tell addicts to not quit “cold turkey.” Doing so can kill them.

Some people are able to quit, and others, despite multiple attempts to do so, fail. Is heart disease a misnomer, because people can make choices throughout their lives that reduce the odds of having harm come to their heart?

Research has shown that addiction is a brain disease. People used to issue blame to those who got cancer, too. Perhaps one day, more and more will be educated – and a bit more sympathetic towards sufferers.

pbundy on February 14, 2012 at 2:25 PM

And unlike any other disease an addict cannot be cured until an addict chooses to be cured.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Was not aware there was a cure for addiction. Please elaborate.

Wade on February 14, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Thank you Odie and troyriser for actually leaning on decades of research on addiction versus just blaming addicts for not being able to stop. I don’t believe people have a disease that makes them try drugs, but they sure do develop one along the way to active addiction. The chemistry in the brain changes, which is why recovering addicts binge when they relapse whereas when they first started they could keep thigns under control after using.

The disease thing is in now way used by recovering addicts to absolve themselves of responsibility. Every decent treatment program out there requires the addict to take responsibility and attempt to make amends for their actions.

The vast majority of addicts cannot just quit. It is easy to say, but it almost never happens even if the addict is desperate to stop. It usually takes being comitted against your will, incarceration, death, running out of the means to sustain your addiction, or reaching such a depressing low that the only choice is to seek help or die.

I was on the streets, hustling, addicted to crack, so I know. I hate what I did, wish I could take it back, and spend every waking moment trying to make things right again. It took a 30-day lockdown in an institution to get me started on the right path. That’s the unfortuante nature of the beast.

RW Wacko on February 14, 2012 at 2:28 PM

I know quite well what your point is, and you’re wrong. One of the first steps in treatment is to try get an addict to understand and accept that they cannot “control” their substance use like other people and that they will never be able to. Their own history is usually the nest evidence for this if you can get them to see it

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:24 PM

How does convincing an addict to admit they have a problem prove my point wrong? Leading a horse to water does not change what I said. It only identifies those horses willing to drink.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Speak for yourself. I have an addict brother and father. Both made bad choices and continue to make bad choices. Susceptibility to becoming addicted to any particular thing is irrelevant. Please explain to us why an addict does not stop being an addict until he/she chooses to no longer be an addict.

While quitting cold turkey may be too difficult for most people, even the best programs for ending addiction are unsuccessful on those not willing to commit to ending their addiction.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:10 PM

I feel for you Coach – I really do, its tragic, tragic to all hell. We may not agree with the “label” and treatment – but clearly we are left to pick up the same pieces.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 2:30 PM

I was on the streets, hustling, addicted to crack, so I know. I hate what I did, wish I could take it back, and spend every waking moment trying to make things right again. It took a 30-day lockdown in an institution to get me started on the right path. That’s the unfortuante nature of the beast.

RW Wacko on February 14, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Glad to hear you made a recovery, but what kept you clean after detox?

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:31 PM

You seem to have quite a Townhall track record of shooting your mouth off, then backtracking, while not admitting you are wrong.

This is one of those moments.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Really? How so?

Wait, are you a Paultard?

FAS isn’t permanently damaging?

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 2:23 PM

I never said it wasn’t, did I? But you said “poisoning”, which was what I was responding too.

I do like that I’ve countered every point you made and you resort to personal attacks.

I gotta go, but since you’ve got to get personal, go p!$$ up a rope.

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 2:32 PM

So if you are a beezillianaire diva, politicians will jump to comclusions before the coroner’s report and use your death as a talking point.

borntoraisehogs on February 14, 2012 at 2:33 PM

So, if Breitbart has some videos of O snorting some Peruvian marching powder, will it be a teachable moment>

katy the mean old lady on February 14, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Teachable moment? Certainly:

To gifted young women: Deciding to marry an abusive moron as part of an effort to look more “authentic” to the idiots in your community is a bad idea and can contribute–along with other bad choices–to you being found dead in a bathtub at a far too young age after having dissipated your talents and health in the view of a horrified nation for the better part of a decade. Don’t do it.

Here endeth the teachable moment.

Regards,

M. Scott Eiland

M. Scott Eiland on February 14, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Glad to hear you made a recovery, but what kept you clean after detox?

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Thanks. I relapsed a few times but never gave up. Also, my family was a strong support system. I stay active in recovery, go to meetings, try to give back. All that helps. But a big part of it has been my finding Christ. As a former atheist, that would have sounded ridiculous to me a few years ago, but it’s true. My faith keeps me grounded and gives me strenth that is beyond what I naturally have inside myself.

RW Wacko on February 14, 2012 at 2:36 PM

I was on the streets, hustling, addicted to crack, so I know. I hate what I did, wish I could take it back, and spend every waking moment trying to make things right again. It took a 30-day lockdown in an institution to get me started on the right path. That’s the unfortuante nature of the beast.

RW Wacko on February 14, 2012 at 2:28 PM

You will be included in my prayers Hang in there! It can be done.

katy the mean old lady on February 14, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Actually, physicians tell addicts to not quit “cold turkey.” Doing so can kill them.

Some people are able to quit, and others, despite multiple attempts to do so, fail. Is heart disease a misnomer, because people can make choices throughout their lives that reduce the odds of having harm come to their heart?

Research has shown that addiction is a brain disease. People used to issue blame to those who got cancer, too. Perhaps one day, more and more will be educated – and a bit more sympathetic towards sufferers.

pbundy on February 14, 2012 at 2:25 PM

I don’t deny that most addicts need help quitting, but no addict stays clean without a self determination to do so. And quite frankly telling an addict, “It’s not your fault” only reinforces in their own minds their own helplessness at being unable to quit. An addict must be empowered with the knowledge that at the end of the day the only thing keeping them clean is themselves. Otherwise they will always be more susceptible to falling off the wagon.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:36 PM

I watched 60 Minutes last Sunday and the whole segment was regarding Whitney Houston. As one story pointed out, Whitney was on top of the world in the 90s and had won all the major awards. However, when she appeared at the BET awards, she was jeered. This led her into the arms of Bobby Brown. And the rest is history.
The “teachable moment” is how the black community views you when you “get off the plantation”. They look at you as “conforming to whitey”. (sorry about the slur.) They look at it as an abandonment of the black people. And this should be an example of how entrenched the blacks are to the welfare/government dependency system and should teach the successful blacks that they will be looked down upon by their peers regardless of your struggles.

djaymick on February 14, 2012 at 2:37 PM

How does convincing an addict to admit they have a problem prove my point wrong? Leading a horse to water does not change what I said. It only identifies those horses willing to drink.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Honey, if curing addictive substance abuse was as simple as deciding you didn’t want to do it anymore there would be no problem to speak of. I can guarantee you that every addict has said to him- or her self, “I will never drink/shoot up/smoke/snort a line ever again” a million times and a few hours later they are right back at it again. Because they are addicts. Every addict wants to stop. It isn’t that easy.

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:38 PM

katy the mean old lady on February 14, 2012 at 2:36 PM

That means a lot, Katy. Thanks. It’s a still a struggle sometimes but it does get easier.

RW Wacko on February 14, 2012 at 2:38 PM

But a big part of it has been my finding Christ. As a former atheist, that would have sounded ridiculous to me a few years ago, but it’s true. My faith keeps me grounded and gives me strenth that is beyond what I naturally have inside myself.

RW Wacko on February 14, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Oh, I guarantee you that that is not what NotCoach wanted to hear.

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Good thing President Ozbama has NEVER snorted cocaine, huh?…Oh, wait.

My collie says:

Never mind.

CyberCipher on February 14, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Oh, I guarantee you that that is not what NotCoach wanted to hear.

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Are you nuts? What he posted reinforced what I’ve posted. Inner strength through Christ to stay clean? That is not self determination to kick the habit?

“Obtuseos! Not just for breakfast anymore!”

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:43 PM

EVERYTHING the Obama administration does SHOULD be a “teachable moment” about the abuse of government power and the need for recognizing Constitutional restraints. Alas, too many DON’T want to be “taught”.

Bitter Clinger on February 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM

RW Wacko on February 14, 2012 at 2:28 PM

There are few issues and life experiences that span everyone – addiction is one of them.

I commend you for battling an almost impossible battle and keep up the good fight.

My father was a chronic alcohholic, who had 6 open heart surgeries, countless trips to the hospital, etc etc.

Even while he battled it – he remained a sponsor for others – and literally would tell them “do as I say, not as I do”…

When he died 2 years ago – 3 AA people showed up, that no one knew – being he kept their identity private. I spent a good hour listening to them tell me how important my father was to their lives, their families and their committment to beating the disease – for years.

I still think about those people and hope they are successful.

Keep fighting friend, keep fighting.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Interesting that the medical findings are not out and already this filthy administration is trying to find teachable moments to further their own agenda.

Happy Nomad on February 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Oh, I guarantee you that that is not what NotCoach wanted to hear.

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:39 PM

HAH! That’s alright. I know a couple atheists who tell me I use religion as a crutch b/c I am weak, and they got the weak part right that is for sure. Faith saved my life so it works for me.

RW Wacko on February 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM

catmman on February 14, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Scurry off now Robert you pathetic coward.

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 2:45 PM

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Honey, I see your a$$ cheeks flapping but nothing remotely resembling honest assessment of what I’ve posted so far. Reread all of my posts. Treatment is grand when a person finds the strength to accept treatment.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Thanks. I relapsed a few times but never gave up. Also, my family was a strong support system. I stay active in recovery, go to meetings, try to give back. All that helps. But a big part of it has been my finding Christ. As a former atheist, that would have sounded ridiculous to me a few years ago, but it’s true. My faith keeps me grounded and gives me strenth that is beyond what I naturally have inside myself.

RW Wacko on February 14, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Amen. May your recovery continue and your life continue its positive upswing.

Bitter Clinger on February 14, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Odie1941 on February 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Thank you for sharing that; I’m sorry you were touched so personally by addiction. Men like your father keep me going every single day; I surround myself with similarly good people who keep me alive.

RW Wacko on February 14, 2012 at 2:47 PM

What he posted reinforced what I’ve posted. Inner strength through Christ to stay clean? That is not self determination to kick the habit?

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Oh, all that blathering you did and what you meant to say all along was “inner strength through Christ?” It must have been an anagram that I just didn’t see.

BTW, inner strength through Christ and self-determination are pretty much at opposite ends of the pole. Might want to get your Bible out.

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Actually, physicians tell addicts to not quit “cold turkey.” Doing so can kill them.

pbundy on February 14, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Not true. Chronic, late-stage alcoholics can die from withdrawal while enduring delirium tremens, which is why chronic alcoholics should be dried out under close medical superivision, but no other drug; e.g., heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, et al kills the addict in withdrawal. Addicts can get very sick, sure, but they don’t die. They only want to.

troyriser_gopftw on February 14, 2012 at 2:49 PM

And this should be an example of how entrenched the blacks are to the welfare/government dependency system and should teach the successful blacks that they will be looked down upon by their peers regardless of your struggles.

djaymick on February 14, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Baloney.

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on February 14, 2012 at 2:51 PM

RW Wacko on February 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Thank you for sharing your story and testimony, too. It’s encouraging.

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:52 PM

BTW, inner strength through Christ and self-determination are pretty much at opposite ends of the pole. Might want to get your Bible out.

DaydreamBeliever on February 14, 2012 at 2:49 PM

No they aren’t. I’m done arguing with a fool.

NotCoach on February 14, 2012 at 2:52 PM

In other news: The price of crack has dropped since Houston’s death.

Norky on February 14, 2012 at 2:56 PM

And in an instant, my dreams of having at least one website escape where the death of another celebrity drug addict isnt mentioned are crushed.

Logboy on February 14, 2012 at 3:00 PM

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