Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

‘Romancing opiates’ - the nature of addiction

By Ben-Peter Terpstra - posted Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs, no? Wrong. Nor is the weepy “withdrawal process” a medically serious affair, according to Dr Theodore Dalrymple.

Yet, for decades, chardonnay socialists have pontificated about society’s “poor” drug addicts and their “painful” rehabilitation trials.

As if that weren’t enough, former heroin users are the new Holocaust survivors. Heroin is the Nazi. Society is the camp. And, of course, therapist SWAT teams are the helpful liberators.


To be sure, to use heroin is to invite many negative health consequences - but is treating opiate addiction as a disease helpful?

States Dr Dalrymple in Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy: “Sport is now one of the principal causes of injuries in the western world, but, however fatuous a sport may be, it is not a disease.”

He adds: “And to conceive of opiate addiction as a disease seems, after my experience with thousands of drug addicts, to me is to miss the fundamental point about it: that is a moral or spiritual condition that will never yield to medical treatment, so-called.”

Nanny state rules rule. To any suggestion that the opiate addict is not a blameless patient, the self-praising enabler will wax lyrical about understanding the “complexities”, period. Little wonder then that social welfare busybodies adopt mother-nurturing roles.

Typically, the enablers’ narrative is artful. Apparently, the junkie, like a toddler, just happens to stumble upon his illegal drug. The drug feels good. Then, one day, he comes back for more. In this context, the seeds of addiction are planted. The addict, they say, is at the mercy of heroin, and, of course, must resort to a life of crime. Nor can he work. Oh, but he has time to (a) make ingenious stories up; (b) plot crimes and (c) carry out really good home invasions.

But how serious is Joe Addict’s addiction? Dalrymple, for instance, talks about “addicts whose histrionics were obviously and demonstrably dishonest” and how he “observed the triviality of withdrawal symptoms from opiates”.


Indeed. Many heroin addicts are thespians. And, turning to medical records, we find little evidence to support the argument that heroin junkies have it tough (in comparison to cancer patients). Arguably, alcoholics have higher withdrawal hurdles.

“Over and over again,” writes Dalrymple “medical writers liken withdrawal, at worst, to a dose of the flu.” Over and over again, however, heroin addicts resort to theatrics in order to prove that they are first-class victims. Nurturers rush to their aide. There are town hall meetings. Writers offer their supposedly deep insights. And in time, the junkies’ audiences - self-praising social welfare types - prove their “compassion” by applauding the manipulative kabuki performances.

In this context, one might ask: are we wasting millions on attention-seeking addicts and their histrionic fits? Aren’t there more deserving causes? How long must we mother these infantile creatures?

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

First published in Family Security Matters on December 1, 2008.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

24 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Ben-Peter Terpstra has provided commentary for The Daily Caller (Washington D.C.), NewsReal Blog (Los Angeles), Quadrant (Sydney), and Menzies House (Adelaide).

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Ben-Peter Terpstra
Related Links
Don't do drug legalization by Ann Coulter
Libertarians on Drugs by Mac Johnson

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 24 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy