Thursday, April 4, 2013

Curing Methamphetamine addiction

Seth Auberon, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; Kathleen Miles (Huff Po)

LOS ANGELES - The Food and Drug Administration [FDA] has fast-tracked human tests of what may be the first cure for methamphetamine addiction. The drug also may be the first non-opiate drug treatment for heroin and opiate addiction.
Metallica: meth dealer forms band (AFP)
In a recent trial, UCLA researchers administered the drug Ibudilast, or MN-166, to 11 non-treatment-seeking meth addicts. The trial, the first of three phases of Ibudilast human testing required for FDA approval, was meant to test the safety of the drug taken in combination with meth. Researchers said the treatment appears to have passed the safety test and eased the addiction.

"Very preliminary results would indicate that Ibudilast may dampen craving and improve cognitive functioning," said Dr. Aimee Swanson, co-investigator on the trial and research director at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine.

Pound of methamphetamine (wiki)
Researchers have been trying to develop medication to treat meth addiction for more than 20 years.
There were about 439,000 meth abusers [not counting all the consumers at raves who take it in the form of Ecstasy] in the U.S. in 2011, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's national survey. Meth addiction cost the country an estimated $23.4 billion in 2005 alone, according to a RAND Corp. study.

The only options right now for meth addicts seeking recovery are counseling, an in-patient rehab center or Narcotics or Crystal Meth Anonymous. These treatments don't work for many people, Swanson said. The FDA fast tracks treatments for serious or life-threatening conditions that demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs. The designation may lead to expedited regulatory review. More

Tibetan thangka (religious tapestry) depiction of the miserable realms of interminable torment (naraka-loka) and depraved craving (preta-loka)
Hungry Ghosts in Los Angeles
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts
Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society seems to be based on addiction recovery as much as meditation. The Buddha's Dharma (teaching, doctrine, realization) goes "against the stream." The "stream" is the flood (ogha) of samsara, the endless cycling through the realms of miserable existence -- heavens (devas), hells (narakas), the realm of hungry ghosts (of addicts), animal worlds, plane of impatient titans, and this human world. Yes, the heavens for all their splendor are ultimately miserable (dukkha, unsatisfactory or disappointment). The human world can go either way, and within it are expressions or manifestations of all of the other planes. The ghosts are here. We can become "hungry ghosts" as we slip into dependence, avoidance patterns using substances to help us stay willfully-ignorant of all we wish to avoid, and depraved examples of gross neediness. "Drugs are not addictive," as substance abuse specialist Dr. Gabor Mate explains in In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
Japanese depiction of a hungry ghost (preta)
Drugs in combination with a history of childhood trauma from physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse -- leaving us susceptible to the draw of pleasant substances/activities -- that's addiction. If drugs themselves were "addictive" all who used them would remain hopelessly addicted. We can break free not only of chemical substances, synthetic or natural, but of habits and behavioral crutches as well. But how will we if we fail to recognize our predicament? People are addicts, but as people we are addicted to things that in and of themselves do not have a universal ability to addict people. Two might go astray, ignoring the Five Precepts, and drink alcohol. Why does one become an alcoholic and the other not? Dr. Mate explains why, and he is not the only one. Even Dr. Drew Pinsky agrees that it may be possible to drink in rehab. Some people can. The danger is that the first to apply to such "rehab" programs are those who can't. The addict is adept at fooling him/herself as well or better than fooling others.

No comments: