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Opioid Addiction and the Myth of Powerlessness

Submission Date: January 28, 2020
Attributing Author: Sam Snodgrass, PhD

There is a belief that those of us with an opioid addiction, that we are powerless over our addiction. That is a myth. We are not powerless. But we appear powerless because the prohibition laws of this country rob us of our power.

I began shooting heroin and Dilaudid in 1976 and I used for 35 years. During the first 13 years I used occasionally, never enough to develop a problem. The last 22 years I was strung out, living an addiction. And the world we live in, those of us with an opioid addiction, is very different from the world of “normal” society. The norms by which we live are very different from the norms of that society. They must be. We live in a world where to get what we need we must buy and sell in a black-market while being hunted by people that want to put us in a cage for being who and what we are. The rules we live by are forced on us by prohibition, criminalization, and stigmatization. We are robbed of our autonomy. We are robbed of our power. We behave exactly as we are forced to behave, and we are then punished for doing so.

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