The Beat and the Debate Goes On
While we at High Sobriety would love to think we are geniuses who invented the wheel, the truth is, there is nothing new about harm reduction. It’s a social work intervention as old as social work itself. What might be new is the attempt to use improvement in the recovery space which has been largely believed to be a one note piano. While we knew this would resonate negatively for some, we also knew some people would “get it”.
So far, here’s the patterns that have emerged in the “get it” camp.
- Cannabis users. File this one under “D” for “Duh”. While it’s always nice to have support and agreement, we always knew this would be preaching to the choir. The cannabis culture is emerging and in a great way, from taxes funneled away from clandestine drug trade into the greater good to the dispelling of myth and working on social justice, we’re with cannabis folks 100%. Perhaps the great irony here is High Sobriety founder, Joe Schrank, isn’t a cannabis consumer but you don’t have to wear a bra to sell one. The cannabis culture seems to be looking for ways to help and replacement treatment does just that.
- Seasoned Clinicians. It seems like after folks have been around a while and they have seen a few things, they have a wider berth for their patients. At some point, we want to help, not fight. While some people with their therapy chops have recoiled as if it kryptonite, most have at the minimum, listened with curiosity
- Family members who have lost someone to an addiction. We have heard “we wished we had tried a harm reduction option” from many grieving families.
- Social Workers. With a deep training in “the client has the right to self-determine”, harm reduction not only makes logical sense, social work as a profession believes in an ethical responsibility to inform the clients of all options.
- Medical professionals. Doctors seem to like people having a substance for whatever the reason that has zero risk of self-harm. The rates of overdose are huge and not improving with pharmaceuticals. Cannabis has no risk of overdose so it makes sense that doctors would like it as an option
Who is opposed?
- Folks who feel that drug use is “crime”. Governors who want to appear tough on crime and are aligned with district attorneys who want conviction rates are motivated to keep cannabis a crime.
- Beer, Wine, and distilled spirits folks. For decades, alcohol has enjoyed a monopoly on legal intoxication. While the body bags needed thanks to alcohol number 88k, the myth that it is somehow a better option than cannabis is just wrong. Alcohol has a low tax, recession proof industry, one they aren’t looking to share with safer cannabis.
- Private prisons. When putting a human in a cage comes with a profit motif, one needs customers. Keeping cannabis criminal means prisons has customers and customers who are compliant. Without the criminalization of cannabis, prisons might have more murders and rapists, a pesky population with which to deal.
- AA evangelicals. It has been interesting, while many AA people teeter on health issues with tobacco, many of the same folk’s judge cannabis use. AA literature is clear “the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking”, so why than the harsh tone many cannabis users feel when trying to give up drugs with a lethal dose? For now, medicinal cannabis users don’t seem to feel all that comfortable with the AA mutual help program
- People like Kevin Sabot who place fear above facts. Sabet touts himself as “advising the presidency” as if it’s not possible for a President to get bad advice. It’s very hard to figure out what Sabots mission is. He seems bright and educated but reading data on cannabis replacement eludes him. Maybe he is just on a contrarian mission for attention. Maybe he is on the take from alcohol or prison lobbies. Whatever his reason, he cites unfounded red herrings and pontificates. Fear tactics will always trump facts in Sabot world.
High Sobriety has never been about “being right” or “destroying AA’. The truth is, we are all right. Recovery is right when its right for you. Change is never easy for humans, we always resist and even when we can create change, sustaining it is quite another hurdle. The beauty of harm reduction is, taking the next step is always possible. Stay Safe
Author: Joe Schrank, Editor in Chief