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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Russell Brand's Documentary

Well, wouldn't you know it: once I posted that I was still looking for his documentary, I found it.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Brand is actually making some really good points.

From my perspective, the British medical establishment, the National Health Service (NHS), has an interesting take on addiction. They seem to take addiction in the current definition as a disease.  They also see it as incurable.  So, the entire approach is utterly rational... if you have an incurable disease.

It's pain management in a nutshell.

The NHS dispenses methadone as a form of pain management, not really treatment.  After all, why treat a disease that is incurable, especially from a medical perspective?  So, they don't even try, and most addicts are more than happy to go along with the 'pain management approach.'

Mr. brand really objects to this, for good reason.  It does not bring sobriety, nor does it alleviate the suffering of the addict.

Pain management never alleviates suffering, it just dulls it until death takes over.

For the medical community in Great Britain, death seems to be the only real option for the addict.  So, they dope addicts up until they die.  This is why the NHS director and Mr. Brand were talking past each other during the interview: Mr. Brand is fighting for the life of addicts who are suffering with an incurable disease (that is treatable through a non-medical process), and all the doctor really sees is an incurable disease that leads to death (from a medical perspective).  In a way, each of them is right.

What he didn't say which needs to be said is that the medical establishment really needs to get out of treatment altogether, stop handing out Methadone, and let the government funding tied up in the NHS go to treatment centers.

Fat chance.  Government agencies never voluntarily give up cash or power.  NHS has them both.  They will fight to the end to keep their budget intact.

Mr. Brand's demands for reform are an uphill battle in the UK, in large part not because of the NHS, but the recent British aversion to any form of belief in God (other than their compromises with 'religious sensitivities' of non-Christians).  The English are very much opposed to religion, and the 12 Steps seems to the less-attentive to be quite contrary to the present fad of espousing atheism.

The UK has another problem of over-centralization, which makes local initiatives all the more difficult.  However, treatment centers like the one he attended will continue to exist and work their miracles because, in the end, there will always be those who believe in the 12 Steps and will continue to carry the message no matter the cost.

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