No one has ever gotten off drugs who didn’t personally want to…no one.
In the mid-60s just about the only medical help available for a drug addict was a county hospital emergency room to keep an overdose from being fatal. Methadone clinics came into being but these tended to compound addiction rather than help it. (A dedicated junkie can time his/her methadone doses so heroin will still get her/him high.)
At the time the only people who cared enough about addicts to offer any kind of long-term support were people who’d walked in their shoes but had managed to break free. Synanon, Narconon and other addicts-helping-addicts based groups got started by ex-addicts to help addicts get off drugs for real. Doctors weren’t interested.
In the 70s other enterprising folks began coming up with deadly new drugs like crack cocaine and super cheap meth. In counter-point to this in 1971 the War on Drugs was born.
By the 1980s the world of drugs was all new and more shiny than ever. Benzodiazepines had largely replaced barbiturates. These and other pharmaceuticals began being advertised directly to the public. Underground raves largely fueled by Ecstasy were happening with the regularity of a floating crap game.
Drug addiction was deemed a disease and Medical-based Drug Rehab flourished. The Betty Ford Center opened in 1982 and in answer to a mainly middle class demand, other places where alcoholics had traditionally gone to dry out expanded their services to include medical detox for drug addicts. On the home front “skittles” parties were born: Kids raided their parents’ medicine cabinets, threw everything into one bowl and took “whatever.”
Today “legal” substances like “spice” and a quite deadly concoction called “bath salts” can be bought in most gas stations across the country. Raves, still fueled by ecstasy (or Molly) are no longer underground but have become mainstream. Medical marijuana is nearly passé because marijuana recently became legal in a few states despite the Federal ban.
The War on Drugs is a dismal failure. Libertarians have been promoting the legalization of drugs for decades insisting that this doesn’t mean endorsing drug use… So what’s the deal? Do we want to get rid of drugs or not? This is the real $64 question.
There are still ex-addicts around who can help.