World class institution falls flat on addiction message.
While it was never the sole intention, High Sobriety has created a maelstrom with the addiction and recovery community. It needs it. Rehab, a 35-billion-dollar industry, largely goes unscrutinzed by the press, the results are poor, there is no trend of change, the culture lags the science and here we are dropping bodies and funding a drug war. As much as people have talked about us, they have also talked to us, for that we are grateful, and hoping we have a say in the message of high sobriety for not only our individual clients but for the culture. Regardless of if you believe in or the potential of harm reduction, we need a national conversation about the addiction problem, our relationship with drugs, and how can we make improvements.
April 11 saw an op-ed in the Washington post from Dr. Keith Humphreys of Stanford. In his piece, Dr. Humphreys regales his reader with the history of snake oil cures for addiction, then indicts High Sobriety for being in the camp. He misses the point entirely and ignores the clear statements on the website that we make no such claim. To be clear, High Sobriety does not claim that cannabis use is a cure for addiction. What we are steadfast in stating is: “cannabis has no lethal dose”. This is where people chime in “yes it does”. There are theoretical lethal doses impossible to achieve (ingest 200lbs in 15 minutes, ok, you may have an issue). Cannabis is symptomatic care for detox. It doesn’t “treat” detox but it sure makes it easier and more tolerable. Replacement protocol is a viable option. I would encourage the Professor to read that data on how many people with medicinal cannabis drink alcohol as well as the rates of overdose in states with safe, legal available cannabis compared to states without. Team High Sobriety isn’t afraid of debate or dissent but Professor Humphreys not only misses the point, he ignores the facts.
More than a neurological treatment, High Sobriety is a social model of behavioral health. We say with supreme confidence that cannabis use is safer than any other drug out there. 330x more people die using Tylenol than cannabis. Utilizing it for detox and/or replacement protocols is a viable option for some people. Cannabis can be impairing and it is not without risk but the risk is diminished by 99.9% compared to alcohol, amphetamine, pharmacological narcotic, heroin, even Tylenol.
I have great respect for Stanford. I love the place as a leading university but in terms of addiction, they lag, are arcane and fall flat. A few years back I had an individual client, a brilliant young man and Stanford student. Post treatment, as patient advocate I explored the support available for a young man with newly found sobriety. Stanford had nothing. Literally, nothing. Not a campus AA meeting, not safe housing, not continued supervision. Effectively what Stanford said was “Were sorry your accident left you in a wheel chair but we have no ramps here, so you’re on your own”. This is an all too often attitude in the world; it shouldn’t be from a world class institution. Writing to Professor Humphreys has to date, yielded nothing, but we invite him to come to High Sobriety any time, we invite discourse, we open our doors to any outcome study he would wish to conduct. Team High Sobriety is here and were open to feedback
Author: Joe Schrank, Editor in Chief