For some, terrible addictions start with doctor’s prescription

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

JON VREELAND, Channels Staff

It’s called “chasing the dragon,” for some college students it is the deadliest pastime since Russian Roulette. This is the uncanny ritual of the non-needle using junky who only uses heroin by inhaling a trail of smoke sliding down a tray of aluminum foil, followed closely by a hollowed out Bic pen held between the user’s lips.

This addiction doesn’t start with alcohol or marijuana, the usual “gateway” drugs college students are used to. This kind of abuse starts and ends under the care of your local drug-dealing doctor, who preys on the meek, and the easily addicted, just to put some extra money in his or her greedy, filthy pockets.

Fortunately, City College has a Substance Abuse and Awareness Program that offers confidential personal counseling; appointments can be made in the Student Health and Wellness Office on campus. Also, an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is held at 2:30 p.m. every Wednesday in the Campus Center Club Room.

But for those whose habits are too deep, too risky to put their already feeble, malnutrition body through the jolt of not having their faithful “medicine,” it’s back to their drug-dealing doctor.

Four years ago, Dr. Julio “the Candyman” Diaz of Santa Barbara, was sentenced to 200 years in prison for writing prescriptions to anyone who asked: Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Norco, and Fentanyl; all narcotics called opiates or opioids that are each related to the “heroin family.”

Since Diaz’s arrest, the streets, schools and the jails of Santa Barbara have been flooded with heroin; cheaper drugs that are stronger and just as deadly as the synthetic opiates doctors prescribe.

The “Diaz-Made” junkies who got their initial fix from the Candyman himself had no other choice. When they couldn’t get their fix from their degenerate doctor anymore, heroin was their only option.

But what happens when the heroin runs out? When your personalized unlicensed street doctor, a slimy drug dealer like Diaz, is gone, and the user is in too bad of shape to go out and get medical attention or attend a AA meeting?

Well, it’s back to the doctor, where the user’s brains have been trained by licensed professionals to solve everything and anything with another drug.
Students at City College, or anyone for that matter, who struggle with heroin addiction can always score some kind of relevant pill to hold them over.

There will always be doctors like the Candyman; licensed physicians who don’t mind a lobby full of sweaty college students who are thinking about dropping out of college so they can chase the dragon, and inadvertently fall into a cavity of their own hell.

The scary thing is, a doctor can turn a simple injury into a full-blown addiction where someone’s child becomes a homeless junkie, crawling on their knees, willing to do anything for a fix.

When your dealer eventually goes to prison, gets sober, or dies, it is back to the pharmacy for a cruel enslavement to methadone, a synthetic opiate used mainly in the treatment of addiction to opiates, and the hardest of all drugs to quit according to the fix.

Sadly, in our society, relying on pills does not send up a red flag. Everyone and their mother is taking something, whether it be for their depression, anxiety, ADHD or even addiction. We rely on drugs as the most important way to relieve our pain.

Rather than turn to medication, we have a duty to ourselves to try every other way to change our mindset so we don’t fall into the same dark pattern that kills too many people every day. Meditation, yoga, or any form of exercise releases just as much or more endorphins than any pill. Ultimately, there is nothing like a natural high, one that doesn’t leave you lying in a pile of your own vomit, wishing you never popped that first pill, and took a yoga class instead.