Drug Replacement vs. Drug Rehabilitation
There seems to be little disagreement concerning the problems created by addiction to opioid drugs. In the past, the most commonly abused opioid has been heroin. Today it is equally (if not more) common to hear of addiction to prescription painkillers. From the standpoint of the addict and, most importantly, from the standpoint of the difficulties one encounters in "kicking the habit" it doesn't really matter much if the drug of choice is heroin or codeine. The mechanism - and the pain - are similar.
After World War II an opioid "substitute" compound called "Methadone" came on the scene. The stated purpose of prescribing Methdone is to use it as a "substitute drug" to get the addict off his heroin. The idea was to then have him come down off the methadone, which was supposed to be an easier "kick" than straight opioid withdrawal. However, what actually occurred is that Methadone clinics began to be established, some private, some publicly funded, and these clinics began to treat opioid addicts with long term (and in some cases, permanent) dispensing of Methdaone.
The intention may have been good. But the practicality is that, by doing this, we are simply getting the addict freed of one addiction only to see him become addicted to another substance (Methadone). We of the Narconon program believe, based on our experience, that this partial solution to addiction is no solution at all.
The Narconon program begins (as it must) with the step of getting the addict off his drug or drugs. Once that has been accomplished, the entirety of the program is aimed at keeping him off any further abuse of drugs. It is our philosophy that the substitution of one addiction with another is not rehabilitation in any sense of the word.
On the Narconon program the student is guided to locating and handling the very problems which led him to his addiction the first place. It is only through this journey of searching, discovering and solving that he can have any certainty at all that his dependence on the ingestion of toxic chemicals is actually over and that he can face the future with a steely-eyed view of where he is going and how he is going to get there.
We do not call any attempt to help addicts handle their addiction "bad". It truly is not a matter of bad versus good. What it IS a matter of is effectiveness and outcome. For what purpose do addicts come to Narconon? What should they expect to be different when they have finished to program?
We cannot, in all good conscience, tell a prospective student or his family that he should come to our program and spend the next four to five months of his life simply to walk away with an addiction, even if it different from the addiction with which he came to the program, even if it is a "socially acceptable" addiction. It is still an addiction.
At Narconon we work toward and achieve drug rehabilitation, not drug replacement.