I would like to throw a wrench into this disease definition machine. I am one of the few you will hear that cringes when addiction is explained as a “disease”. This term or definition is erroneous, simplistic, and undignified in my Aristotelian formed opinion. On one hand, the definition is needed so that people can receive insurance benefits for treatment, so in that it is pragmatic. However, if we continue to define how people suffer in current evolutionary terms, we will never truly arrive at the fully understood solution. Addiction is not a simple disease, and we cannot approach it with a medical cure or vaccine. The idea that everything has a medical solution, and that being a chemical or genetic cause, is archaic and harmful to the advance of human health initiatives. Not only is this term negating the cause and affect of addictive substance reaction, the term is allowing for more of these substances to enter into profit margins and sales campaigns.
People who are experiencing addiction did not catch a virus, do not have faulted DNA, and do not have abnormally growing cells; they have been poisoned. They were formed and progressed normally through childhood. When they experienced a substance that affected their system more profoundly than in the other 80% of the population, they experienced a euphoria that others may not comprehend. Without the poisonous substance, they would not be in bondage to a feeling that others do not experience.
The definition of ‘diseased’ adds to the stigma of imperfection and in need of medical intervention pervasive in modern society. The medical system is to blame for placing these substances on the market, yet they blame the victims for being diseased. People with substance addictions are in bondage to medicine, chemicals, or whatever else enters their systems, and they were unaware of the risks because pharmaceutical companies hide or disregard the euphoric feeling a large portion of our population experiences. Once this feeling is experienced, the individual cannot find anything in life so pleasing. Some individuals are wired with different endorphin receptors, it is that simple. By calling this phenomenon a disease, we are allowing society to label a reaction to poison as the fault of the individual who ingested it due to a diseased system. This “epidemic” (another disease reference used to describe the death rate from opioid overdose) is not so simplistic as saying someone’s system is not operating correctly. This is a rewiring of their whole system. Addiction is a form of bondage, and the companies who produce and market this poison should not be allowed to blame the consumer for putting heroin, a known and banned substance, in our general population.
Consider this: Heroin and opium were banned because of the damage they do to a population (i.e. China). Pharmaceutical companies are selling more heroin and opium under the pseudonym “opioid pain relievers” without any blame. How do they do this? They blame the consumer for being diseased and keep many in bondage by providing more chemicals to ease the long recovery period, around 2 years on more opioids.
Consider this: Someone who deals heroin on the street can receive years in jail, yet any doctor can prescribe the same doses without a court order. Someone who accepts heroin on the street will be entered into the penal system with a searchable record, yet this same record will make finding employment or housing almost impossible. Most medical professionals have employment and comfortable housing.
This is not a diseased individual but a diseased system: American sells heroin with the properly signed documentation, becomes disgusted when individuals experience total loss of facilities to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, penalizes individuals for trying to avoid the pain of withdrawal, gives more heroin for pain avoidance to individuals with bouts of pain, and then defines anyone who cannot stand face to face with heroin/opiates/opioids/Vicodin/Oxytocin/oxycodone/etc. and win as diseased.