(This is a reprint from my Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner at Examiner.com)
Jon Daily LCSW, CADC II, is the founder of Recovery Happens, a drug education, counseling and intervention center for the treatment of substance abuse with offices in Fair Oaks, Davis and Roseville. Last Thursday he spoke at a community lunch hosted by Sierra Vista Hospital in Sacramento, on the topic of Heroin to Marijuana: A Paradigm Shift We Need Now.
Daily offers compelling insight about the neuro development of the reward systems of the adolescent brain, the shame experiences of childhood, and the nature of addiction as an illness that can be successfully treated when we focus on the illness, which he posits is not about the drug. “Addiction is an illness resulting from affect dysregulation,” he said. “It is a pathological relationship to intoxication. So it does not matter which drug is involved.”
This examiner has found through fieldwork and applied research that the social network can easily become a single point of reference for life wherein youth are exposed to shame-inspiring experiences including bullying and sexual exploitation, and are dealing with an intensified and painful sense of “disconnect.” In this cyber-powered realm of apps and devices using drugs and alcohol can seem so normal.“Heroin addiction is not new,” Daily said. “What has changed is the social context has no boundaries. Today the average heroin addict is a white kid, 25 years old and younger, who is educated.” In this regard, the network culture creates a perfect storm wherein the modern drug addict looks like any child.
Daily challenged the counselors, therapists and physicians in the room to think differently about the connection between the choice of drug and addiction. “I want you to close your eyes and imagine your child. And then imagine that you got a call that that your child was caught using alcohol. Now imagine that you got a call that your child was using marijuana,” he said. Daily paused a few seconds to let those thoughts settle in. “And now imagine that you got a call that your child was using heroin. It feels different, doesn’t it?” he said. “Now you are ready to take action.”
Daily calls this different perception of harm a “drug bias”, which he explains is enabling the epidemic of heroin addiction among youth today. He opened his talk about the prescription practices of the medical profession that have contributed to the heroin epidemic simply for lack of understanding about the nature of addiction; that prescriptions for opiate painkillers can lead to a dependency that evolves into heroin use which is cheaper and easy to access via the internet. By the same token, the low perception of harm with youth using marijuana contributes to the heroin epidemic in as much as most people do not understand a) that addiction to heroin and marijuana are essentially the same disease, and b) the THC levels of marijuana (the chemical component that gives the intoxication) are much higher today than that of previous and the ways in which kids are using it in high concentrations, known as wax/dabs and oils consumed as edibles (cookies, candies, etc.), makes it more addictive and can also cause psychotic breaks.
The hope of this message about addiction and recovery, is that it is possible to detox and provide cognitive therapy wherein the afflicted individual can choose to realign their priorities according to the authentic relationships that bring about the genuine experience of actually being “connected” again to self and community, and be secure. This examiner understands this personal security would involve the choosing beliefs and values associated with Divine Love, family, friends, school and work.
Daily urges medical and healing professionals to advocate for education and intervention when the first known instance of use of alcohol and drugs by a minor child. “It is much easier and more cost-effective to do prevention and early intervention than to reverse the harm from long term addiction,” he said. “And yet our system is set up to reverse the harm too long after onset of addiction.”
To learn more about the current drug trends, drug testing, and adolescent addiction, go to:Recovery Happens.
About: We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your donations are greatly appreciated. (Donations are payable to Banana Moments Foundation).
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, and produces the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com.