Opioid Subculture is Sustainable. Every 11 minutes someone is dying from an opioid overdose but none of that deters addicts from using. People have difficulty accepting that the Opioid addiction is a chronic relapsing disease. Those that are actively using opioids live within a sustainable subculture, which revolves around foraging for money to buy drugs, cigarettes and maybe some food. I can tell you with great certainty, that no opioid addict will enter into treatment until they are ready to do so. Many addicts have already tried multiple treatment modalities from Detox, Inpatient rehab, Intensive Outpatient, Methadone, Suboxone, Subutex and the Vivitrol Injection. Many have gotten sober and relapsed to go back to using opioids. Some who relapsed have returned to sobriety and others continued with the addiction.
The single biggest reason America is failing in its response to opioid epidemic:
Adapting To The Mainstream Life
Opioid Subculture is Sustainable. I like to refer to the social environment that we non-addicts live in as the mainstream life. In the mainstream, we go to our job, pay for our housing, bills and come home after work to take care of our children. To be successful in the mainstream lifestyle did not happen overnight and to stay stable within it requires us to practice diligence. Some of use may have a job, a trade or a profession with economic growth and advancement. We may have started at age 18 or later at 22 after attending college.
For most people who are getting clean and sober, they will experience varying degrees of difficulty navigating into the mainstream life. Its not impossible to enter into the mainstream and it is certainly doable, if they have some measure of support. I fervently believe a good support mentor is crucial to anyone coming away from addiction into recovery.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Opioid Subculture is Sustainable. One of my greatest criticisms of drug rehabilitation is how do they negotiate to getting the basic needs met in the mainstream life? Where are they going to live? How is the rent and the basics going to be paid? How will they find a job? What if they have felony records and active warrants? In thinking about Maslow’s Hierarchy, beginning with Physiological Needs – a person will need suitable shelter, water, food, sleep and clothing. Safety needs – personal security, employment, resources, health and property. Love and Belonging – friendship, family, sexual intimacy.
Why Opioid Addicts Resist Getting Clean
If the recovering addict doesn’t have the support from family and friends, to assist with the basics, then how do they successful achieve the Physiological Needs? If they go live in the shelter, will this provide that person with a suitable atmosphere to stay clean? It is easy to see why so many opioid addicts fail at recovery and resist getting clean, when they know what works for them. They know that for the past years, they have been successful at foraging for money to buy drugs, cigarettes, food, while living as an urban survivalist. Society as a whole is talking about the Opioid Epidemic because we feel a sense of morality to fix it. The overdose deaths is the reason why society wants to address the Opioid Epidemic. The deaths are the reason why its called an Opioid Epidemic. We can learn the most from the ones who are successful at overcoming opioid addiction and remaining in recovery.
I believe that many opioid addicts accept their plight in life. They lack the family and friends to provide emotional support. This is the reason why most addicts are resistant to go into treatment. They know that entering into mainstream life will be an uphill battle or a vertical climb. Its easier to just stay put surviving and foraging within a sustainable drug subculture. Perhaps for some, the drug subculture offers them a feeling of safety with a predictable lifestyle.