We don't know anything!

It appears as though the Miami Dade County School Board is doing the same thing as what happened in Oklahoma earlier this year. The Dade County School Board "has filed a federal lawsuit against more than a dozen corporations that manufacture or distribute opioids, claiming that the nation’s fourth largest school district should be compensated for the money it has spent battling the “worst man-made epidemic in modern medical history.”

As we know we are in the midst of the country's worse drug epidemic ever. Absolutely nothing has helped to resolve or even slow down the negative effects, and especially the deaths, from drug overdoes. For the most part, there is a sense of helplessness and fear that exists in our society with respect to this epidemic. Everything that has been attempted to combat the epidemic has failed miserably. The efforts of those who say they understand the cause of addiction and especially our treatment industry has been completely ineffective.

Big Pharma is now considered by many to be the real cause of the drug epidemic. As a result of this idea, it is believed that by suing the pharmaceutical companies that the real cause of addiction can be attacked at its source and a resolution achieved in court. It is my opinion that not only will this type of strategy not work at achieving its objectives but will in fact reinforce the fundamental nature of the drug epidemic itself. This type of situation tends to happen when one system in our society attempts to compensate for the inept and incompetent nature of another.

It is my opinion that the legal remedy that is now being sought will do two very detrimental things with respect to the drug epidemic. First it will reinforce the already existing belief that addicts and alcoholics are merely poor victims and that they are not responsible for their condition. Second, by continuing to focus on something external to the addict and alcoholic we will not use our collective energy to focus on the addict and alcoholic himself. It is my belief that the root cause of addiction is internal to the addict and not something happening outside of him.

I will reiterate again, we need a Paradigm Shift with respect to drug and alcohol addiction. We simply do not have an adequate understanding of what drug and alcohol addiction is all about. Many pretend that they know but the truth is that they do not. When we are unable to move from a theoretical perspective of a disorder to effective treatment modalities for that condition the most likely suspect is our understanding of the problem. However, we do what many individuals who could be characterized as being insane do. We continue to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

Unfortunately our resistance to change, coupled with a great deal of arrogance, makes us complicit in our collective malady. Stated simply, many individuals are dying and will continue to die because of our ignorance. When are we going to wake up to the truth? When are we going to admit that we do not understand what addiction is all about? When are we going to admit that we need to shift our efforts to find resolution to this terrible social condition back to its source and not continue to look in the wrong place and ask the wrong questions? When are we going to admit that addiction has nothing to do with the drugs?

Dr. Harry Henshaw