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Rakyat: Reeve @twt_malaysia
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Tonight's topic is Addiction.

I shall cover the definition, status quo, problem statement, research and facts, and propose a solution.

Hopefully we can learn more about the nature of addiction so we can better help our friends & family in need.
Of course we will focus on drug addiction as the object of this topic, but please keep in mind that I intend to start this topic to talk about addictions in general.

To define it loosely, addiction is to be so obsessed about something that you would do anything to get your dose.
Currently in most parts of the world, recreational medications are banned under the loose definition of "drugs". In certain, more conservative parts of the world you might even get very heavy punishments if you are caught with it. In Malaysia, it carries a death penalty.
There's a "more" popular option, which is rehab, but we have all heard the "7 steps and you're back" thing thrown around by our teachers.

If you ask a random person what makes people hooked to drugs, they would probably just say "because it's drugs lol". Right?
Now we all know addiction destroys. It turns you to someone else that is not you through:
1. Dependence
2. Desperation

First you will use it for recreation. Do it enough and it turns into dependence, needing it just to go through your day. And when you can't get it, desperation.
Before you start to feel anger and hatred towards addicts, before you wish the worst of punishments to them, please please keep in mind that anyone can become an addict. It might happen to your parents, your siblings, your own friends. Do you want to punish them too, or help?
When talking about studies of addiction we must observe the (in)famous Rat Experiment.

There are 3 levels of experiment, all bringing us to deeper and different conclusions.
The first one, they put each rat in a box and provided them with 2 water bottles.
First one is plain water.
Second one is water laced with heroin.

Heroin is used because it is the most potent drug. Most people can get addicted the first time they try it.
In the first experiment, 9 out of 10 rats always chose the drugged water.

This means addiction is real. Once you try it, you can definitely get hooked. But let's take a look at the second level.
The second level, they built a Rat Park. It was basically a paradise for rats. There were
1. Colourful balls and toys
2. Best rat food
3. Tunnels to run and play
4. Plenty of friends

In the Rat Park, most of them shunned the drugged water. They didn't like it. Weird right?
The drugged water was shunned, and even when it was taken, the rats consumed less than a quarter compared to the ones in the first experiment.

Almost like different environments breed different cultures and habits.
Let's take a break from talking just about rats.

Let's talk about heroin addiction during Vietnam War.
During Vietnam War, heroin abuse was so rampant that it was compared to "chewing gum". The problem was so rampant that Americans fear that by the end of the war they would be bringing back a literal army of heroin addicts.

Turns out 95% just stopped with no help whatsoever.
In hospitals we use even more potent heroin. For medical purposes we use pure heroin, unadultered by crooks in the streets who want to make extra money. We use it often, in fact some people are on it for months.

But once we step out of hospital we don't seek heroin right?
Seems like getting addicted is less about you and more about your environment right?
Let's go back to rats.

On level 3, they combined the first two levels. They separated the rats and the put them back together.
First they separated the rats and fed them with drugged water, and kept the rats like that for 57 days. If anything can get you addicted, you would be addicted within that period.

During this period Exp1 proves true, that 9 out of 10 fell to addiction.
After that they gathered the rat and then placed them in Rat Park.

Professor Bruce Alexander wanted to know, if you fall into addiction can you really recover? Or have the drugs taken over you?

His finding was, again, weird.
Turns out after twitches of withdrawal, the rats went back to normal lives.

They now hve a support system,a community that supports him. A positive environment that lets him thrive.

In isolation, d rats become the worst version of themselves. In a community, they became better.
Let's make a comparison between Malaysia and Portugal, a country who has decriminalized all drugs.

In Malaysia, the number of drug abusers rise. In Portugal, the number of drug abusers is dropping and the number of injection-based drug addiction dropped by 50%.
We all know the stance of out Ketua Polis and AADK on drugs.

Similarly, Portugal's top cop Joao Figueira was a major campaigner against decriminalization of drugs. But now he hopes that the whole world will follow Portugal's steps.
You see, when drugs stop being a crime it stops carrying the stigma that makes people avoid the topic whenever it comes up.

We stop putting stigmas on addicts, we stop insulting them. Instead, we see them as equals and start actually helping them.
Instead of putting all the money into catching drug criminals they used it for rehabilitation instead.

The steered the country towards supporting people to be better, instead of punishing drug addicts.
Instead of insulting and punishing their children, parents now sit down with their child and actually talk things out.

Neighbours actually try to help instead of silently judging from windows and calling the cops to arrest them.
In Malaysia, we create a Rat Hell for our addicts. We radicalize them to become deeper addicts.
You put them into jail. You let everyone look down on them. You put it on their permanent records, so they never get employed. So when they go out they have nobody to turn to, so they can only return to drug addict friends.
1) No skills or training to return and fit into society
2) No source of income
3) No friends or support system

They have no other route other than to go back to their old lifestyle right?

7 steps and you're back right?
Look, we can all blame it on the chemical hooks of drugs for the addiction.

But if you go to Gambling Anonymous, they are just as hooked to gambling but without the chemical hooks of consuming drugs.

Sex addicts don't need to consume marijuana to get addicted.

So how?
Firstly, we need to take away the stigma of using drugs. We need to stop seeing them as someone lower than us. We need to stop seeing them as dumbfucks for falling into drug addiction. We need to see them as people who need our help to get back on the right path.
Sit with them. Ask them what's wrong. Start with why they take it. Slowly ask more personal questions. How is their life going? Are they happy? Is anything disturbing their peace?
Don't mind them if you don't intend to help them, and certainly do not disturb them if they do you no harm.

In fact, don't bother anyone who does you no harm if you don't intend to help them.
If you're an addict, seek help. Start with your closest non-user friend. Confide in them. After you start getting comfortable seek help from other people too.

And remember, keep yourself approachable. If you become a problem there are only 2 options: Help you or get rid of you.
And if you're already an addict, the last thing you need is to be hated.
I shall now start sharing the drug threads that people have forwarded to me.

Here is from Cher and her journey of recovery from her addiction.
Side note: Marijuana by itself has no chemical hook like nicotine. But I'm sure we can all name a few marijuana addicts right?
Here is @SirFais 's take on Meth/Ice/Glass.

Stay away from drugs, kids.

If you need to know the basics of addiction:

Here is another @SirFais 's thread on helping and supporting a friend in need:

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