OK here we go

Focus on the actual issue

Some thoughts

First, I agree that laws can't help people. Well, at least to the degree that is often supposed. I'd argue that it is both natural and entirely human to test the limits and to push those limits as far as possible.

Every explorer, every racing driver, every cutting-edge scientist, and yes, every addict, is a product of this facet of human nature. If there was no inclination to push to the limits, then you'd have absolutely no inclination to break any rules, question any assumptions, or do anything other than what society dictated was acceptable.

This is the first problem. You can't eliminate the underlying reason for the limited effectiveness for laws. At least, not without eliminating society in the process. Although society is founded on laws and relies on those laws for existance, it also relies on the fact that people will break those laws. Society can be treated as a living organism. As such, it needs to grow. It needs to adapt. Without people pushing the limits, there would be no adaptation. Many, if not all, of the extinct cultures that litter history were draconian, authoritarian and absolutist. By suppressing the urge to challange, they eventually suppressed themselves out of existance.

However, it's not quite as simple as that. There's another important factor in drug abuse - it's often accompanied by an inability to cope with something. When our coping mechanisms fail, we have a natural tendancy to turn to something external to cling onto. To make things worse, we develop an "addictive personality" - we can actually make something addictive, even if it normally has no addictive property. We can also make addictive substances a thousand times more potent.

In Rush's case, the stressor would seem to be some combination of the spine operation (which failed), poor medical advice, a reluctance to undergo surgery twice, and extreme pain.

The medicine he was given was addictive, which wasn't the wisest choice in the world, but Rush then very likely clung onto it, making it many times more addictive than it should have been. In consequence, his silence and his attempts to buy the drug through other people's prescriptions is very understandable. It was inevitable, given the combination of substance and stressor.

Why talk now? I'm inclined to believe the opinion of the talk-show host "Lionol", who is an ex-prosecutor. He argued that it's likely to be part of a strategy to get leniency. Certainly, I see no real evidence that Rush is particularly remorseful. A 30-day detox is utterly inadequate to resolve the problem. He's been through the process twice already, and both times it has failed. If you keep doing the same things, you'll keep getting the same results.

So what would I suggest? If he's serious about recovery, then he needs some combination of detox AND a recovery organization of some kind, for a minimum of 90 days. Personally, I'm inclined to throw in some form of daily councelling/therapy for that time, as well, as this is a complex situation.

After that time, I'd say 3-4 sessions a week with a recovery organization, and 2-3 sessions a week with a skilled councellor/therapist, for at least a year.

My suggestion won't "cure" the addiction - addictions often change the brain's chemistry permanently. What it would do is give him alternatives to deal with the pain, and to cope with his craving for an external cure. It's possible it might give him the courage to get the surgery corrected, thus eliminating the pain.

Before anyone says that that would be impossible after such a long time, it really isn't. It's just a little harder, requires a better surgeon, demands more imagination, and will likely involve a considerable amount of money.

Even a non-surgeon can see possibilities - remove the bone(s) that are causing a problem and replace them with synthetic alternatives. Or, if the spine functions just fine, then just cut the nerves that are in that area. You can't feel pain if there's nothing to feel the pain with.

Options exist, but no addict in the world is going to face them after a mere 30 days detox. Most are painful, many are frightening, and some are both the above plus horrifyingly expensive.

Addicts have a brain chemistry issue, but that doesn't make them stupid, evil, or anything normally attributed to addicts. It means that they haven't been willing enough to go through their addiction into a saner state of mind. And that's not because they like the addiction, it's because their screwed-up brain chemistry makes it mentally impossible to face the alternatives.

As I said at the start, this is an incurable problem. Or, if you do cure it, you'll eliminate the cured. Anyone who grows, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, or in any other way, is using the same mechanism as any alchoholic or drug addict. There is no difference in the mechanism.

If you talk to those who live, or have lived, in any extreme, to push the limits further, you can hear the same brain chemistry. It's in their voice. They live to grow, they grow to live. And without that spirit of adventure, there would be no life at all, for anyone.

We have all got some addictive element, then. The very act of being alive requires it. We've all got that same mechanism, and we've all got the choice on how to utilize it.

Rush will always have a severe addiction problem. The brain changes are, as I've said, irreversible. But he does have the choice on what to do with the mechanism. He can go back to drugs (which have already destroyed much of his hearing, and will continue to rapidly degenerate his brain), or he can explore the other uses for this mental function.

Addiction is a tool. It's a particuarly dangerous tool, and 99% of those who use it will end up severely burned by it. Of those, most die from the addiction and the remainder work hard to exorcise it from their life. The 1% who figure it out often become cultural heros and significant figures in history.

Rush has three choices, then. Die from his disease, work hard for the rest of his life to counter it, or figure a way to use his addiction positively. The danger of the third option is that one mistake will result in worse consequences than anything the addiction as it stands could possibly do.