Experienced Point of View –
May 14, 2018 – Prescribing methadone does nothing to address addiction. To replace one highly addictive substance with another (heroin addicts often end up taking both in tandem) does not decrease dependency. And the criminalisation of drug use has not proven a successful deterrent. I know from experience that the need for the relief offered by drugs far outweighs the fear of the legal or health consequences. I was fully aware of the threat of prison, the potential for overdose and the dangers of sharing needles, but none proved even the slightest deterrent. It was only through addiction therapy, and seeing the links between trauma, mental health and addiction, that I could unravel the reasons for my behaviour, and begin to change them.
As a society, if we are to treat the epidemic of addiction in this country, we need to do the same. It requires a shift in mindset, and a radical change in approach – a move from maintenance and punishment to therapy, understanding and compassion. We need to treat the causes of addiction and not only the symptoms, and only then will we see a reduction in addiction and overdoses. As Jimmy once said to me, “Everyone thinks we’re bad people, but most of us are people who’ve had bad things happen to us.”
James Golding is an artist who is one half of The Connor Brothers.