Maybe? Maybe not. –
Sept. 14, 2020 – If addiction is a disease, then we should treat addicts the same way we treat diabetics. The goal in treating diabetics is not to cure diabetes but to limit its harm: Treatment helps prevent heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, arterial blockages, etc. Similarly, addiction treatment is not aimed at “curing” addiction but at controlling damage: Treatment decreases mortality, criminal activity and transmission of hepatitis. Treated addicts often return to productive lives. Medicines used in opioid addiction have proven effective at controlling the damage from addiction. Understandably, many people bristle at the idea of treating opioid addiction with opioid medications, such as buprenorphine or methadone. It feels like we are merely feeding the addiction. The easiest explanation for this strategy is to compare it to the apparent paradox of fighting fire with fire. Forest fires are contained by deliberately burning a narrow strip of land ahead of the advancing fire, depleting the fuel needed to spread. Using buprenorphine or methadone is like fighting fire with fire!