December 7, 2021

"I had told myself that I’d never try heroin because it sounded too perfect. It’s like 'warm, buttery love,' a friend told me."

"When I did yield to temptation... [i]t was relief from my dread and anxiety, and a soothing sense that I was safe, nurtured and unconditionally loved.... Opioids mimic the neurotransmitters that are responsible for making social connection comforting — tying parent to child, lover to beloved. The brain also makes its own 'endogenous' opioids.... Today... what is now known as the 'brain opioid theory of social attachment' is widely accepted.... [O]pioid systems have evolved in part to fuel the good feelings people get from spending time with friends and family, he explained. There are many factors that contribute to addiction, and isolation is often one of them.... A 2021 study found that over 60 percent of young American adults report that they are either frequently lonely or lonely nearly all the time.... Understanding the social nature of opioids and addiction should help policymakers better care for those who suffer from it.... Some need new friends...." 


What's with the "tough times" in the headline? Isn't the author's point that human beings need relationships with other people? How did love get translated to money so blithely?

I had to go back to the article to try to find things I elided that could support the economic theory of drug addiction. Here's the best sentence for that: "Conversely, neighborhoods riven by poverty tend to have less social connectedness — and more overdoses." 

51 comments:

Dave Begley said...

That's fucking great. Now the fucking New York Times is promoting and normalizing heroin.

The NYT is the Enemy of the People.

What the fuck is wrong with those people?

Achilles said...


I had to go back to the article to try to find things I elided that could support the economic theory of drug addiction. Here's the best sentence for that: "Conversely, neighborhoods riven by poverty tend to have less social connectedness — and more overdoses."

So there is IQ and agreeableness which are the two top cognitive predictors of success.

A fundamental skill that is more prevalent in people with high IQ and low agreeableness is the ability to defer gratification. This also leaks into pain tolerance and compartmentalization skills.

People with these skills tend to make more money as well as tend to be more resistant to addiction.

People with more money have more access to drugs like this. Not less.

It is correlation with low cognitive markers and lacking skill sets.

Journalists are stupid and try to turn it into causation.

Achilles said...

Understanding the social nature of opioids and addiction should help policymakers better care for those who suffer from it.... Some need new friends...."

This would be true if our policy makers gave a shit.

They mouth the words but the core of both parties in DC is owned by the giant corporations.

Democrats actively push policies that drive up the numbers of addicted people.

Republicans actively stigmatize those that fall to addiction.

It has been a pincer movement of two groups actively creating an underclass and doing it on purpose. Soon the vast majority of humans will be addicted to virtual reality and direct dopamine/derivative injection unless everyone pulls their head out of their ass.

Jay Vogt said...

"How did love get translated to money so blithely?"
Ask the Sackler family. They'll tell you.

Gerda Sprinchorn said...

Hmmm.

1. A lot of young people are lonely.
2. Some people need new friends.
3. Poor areas have more addiction.
4. Poor areas have less social connectedness.
5. Opioids make people feel good. (Stop the presses!)
6. Economically, things are a bit tough for some people right now.

How to make this into a story? Not just any story, but a weighty NYT story.

Hmmm. Nothing comes to mind.

I know! Just put it in the NYT logic-chopper and make broad, sweeping, unconvincing statements about causal connections. Pick whatever causal connections make you feel weighty and thoughtful and concerned and perceptive and generally New York Timey. Totally ignore the immense complexity of every issue you blithely raise.

There you go. That's it.

Gerda Sprinchorn said...

Overdose deaths have skyrocketed to more than 90,000 a year, and this is the kind of article we get in the NYT?

90,000 dead a year.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

cart. horse

narciso said...

we forget the lesson of the opium wars, the chinese certainly haven't, yes they were a leverage tool to acquire chinese tea, but it certainly weakened the manchu dynasty,

Tom T. said...

I have to admit that I have trouble understanding opioid addiction. I just had minor knee surgery and took Percocet for a couple of days afterward. It decreased the pain and made me feel drowsy, but there was no high. After a couple of days, I stopped, with no lingering effects. Do other people react differently, and experience euphoria or craving? Is it a physiological difference?

MikeR said...

Megan McArdle has long pointed out that people tend to underestimate drugs. Anyone who uses opioids likes them so much that they are willing to throw away the rest of their life to get them. They must be awesome, and we need to take that into account.

wild chicken said...

They couldn't hide the truth forever, and with the strength of legal loco weed going sky high it'll be harder to draw the line.

Everyone is on some kind of dope or other. Wish I could have gotten some of that sweet Adderall when I was in college.

Sally327 said...

Relationships are hard, heroin is easy. Eventually it stops being easy, I think, or so I'm told, but by then the relationships are long gone and all that's left is the needle and the damage done.

Roger Sweeny said...

neighborhoods riven by poverty

Ah, the convenient passive voice. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say, "People who find it difficult to work with other people tend to become poor. They also tend to have less social connectedness--and more drug overdoses."

Howard said...

Suffered through very painful bone on bone hip arthritis for ~8 years. Never once touched opioids. Didn't use any painkillers at all until the last year. Nothing really worked and for the last 6-months was on crutches and never slept more that 20-minutes at a time. I guess I have low agreeableness LOL. Got a simultaneous bilateral replacement and the ortho told me to use the Vicodin before all my PT sessions. I ended up taking one half twice a day for about a month. Fast forward 17 years had a nasty hernia with a difficult repair. Was taking 2 Percocet per day and noticed I started liking it too much in a very scary primal way as the effectiveness started to wain. Immediately went to one Perco at bedtime and fell asleep in the warm mild heroin embrace. Like Achilles points out, assholes like me have a natural resistance to pain. It's not morals, courage, balls or bravery. It's probably ADHD related natural dopamine suppression. Of course, this leads to over-training and ignoring the pain and discomfort warning system and the emergent properties thereunto pertaining.

While I'm not a total Sam Harris free will denier, I do believe that much of our behavior is programed by genetics and experience. Determinism. I do believe we have the capability of free will by setting up structures to force changes in experiences and thus behavior. Surrounding yourself with high functioning people is key.


Peterson, Pinker and Haidt discuss the need to remove moral judgements from social policy and rule making. It the moral judgement from the hundred millions in the peanut gallery that stigmatize addiction. The problem with morals is that they are locally considered absolutes while not all peoples morals are considered moral by everybody. Islamism, Marxism, and Free Market Capitalism all have foundational moral underpinnings quite in opposition to each other.

It's no different with the stigma of drug use, mental illness, sexuality, etc...

There's no great plot implemented globally like a Swiss watch. It's us, as Pogo says. The attraction to conspiracy ideation is that it provides simple answers to complex questions and removes personal responsibility from one's internal moral monologue. Guilt is the moral medicine people swallow but is actually a poison fueling mental illness depression, etc.

Essentially what these guys are saying is we need to "Moneyball" human nature and stop shame and blame because it fixes very little.

Sebastian said...

"the social nature of opioids and addiction"

Ah, yes, the "social" nature of chemicals that ruin your relationships and isolate you further.

gilbar said...

And, don't forget where today's Opioids come from!
It's all synthetic Fentanyl, and it ALL comes from our Chinese Masters
The people that own the media, are the Same people

Yancey Ward said...

You are reading to narrowly. Tough times can be lockdowns and social distancing, and I would argue that that is the most accurate reading of the phrase in 2021.

Sydney said...

I was thinking tough times probably meant the isolation caused by the pandemic.

Rollo said...

Want "warm, buttery love?"

Buy a toaster.

Temujin said...

It is a choice. All drug use is a choice, until it is not. Until you relinquish your ability to make a rational choice for your own well being. And by doing so you think you are relieving yourself of certain responsibilities to oversee your own life. Now you're under the 'guidance' of the drug. And the drug is merciless in it's rule. It's no longer your fault. You can't help it.

Except at the start, all drug use is a choice.

Scotty, beam me up... said...

With the announcement by NYC last week that it is establishing “safe” locations to shoot up with needles provided by the city along with doses of Narcan on hand for overdoses, I am expecting that eventually the city will provide the opioids for the addicts. Especially since many of the addicts who will use these locations probably are poor, maybe minorities from the inner city - the type that the regressive Dems who run the place want to feel safe, be inclusive and non-judgemental, and get equity from the local government at taxpayer expense (in its way, a form of redistributing wealth).

This Person said...

“ What's with the "tough times" in the headline? Isn't the author's point that human beings need relationships with other people? How did love get translated to money so blithely?”

Since when does “tough times” mean only money? In case you’ve forgotten, the Democrats are not letting a good crisis go to waste, and are inflicting our lives with all kinds of authoritarian overreach causing tough times in numerous facets of our lives, including saddling our social relationships with the uniquely Democratic combination of CRT and white supremacy.

Robert Cook said...

"That's fucking great. Now the fucking New York Times is promoting and normalizing heroin.

"The NYT is the Enemy of the People.

"What the fuck is wrong with those people."


How is the NYTimes "promoting and normalizing" heroin?

Robert Cook said...

"Democrats actively push policies that drive up the numbers of addicted people."

What polices might those be?

Scott Patton said...

Archilles at 8:54 "Democrats actively push policies that drive up the numbers of addicted people." Yep.
Joe Rogan had Michael Shellenberger on on Oct 14th and at one point Joe exclaimed, "They're farming addicts!".
Vincent from Pulp Fiction does what amounts to a heroin commercial (unless needles freak you out). He gets the face just right while driving that big old convertible.

gilbar said...

Tom T. said...
I have to admit that I have trouble understanding opioid addiction. I just had minor knee surgery and took Percocet for a couple of days afterward.

Percocet? scoff!
Oxycodone? scoff!
couple of days? scoff!

come around to my house, Tom we'll try some H (well, Fentanyl, but it's the same), for 2 weeks...
I'll Bet You, YOUR SOUL; that you'll do ANYTHING i want, to make it 3 weeks (then 4, then...)

Percocet? heh heh did you At Least grind them up, and snort them??
I swear; i sometimes think Some of you have never even pushed drugs :)

gilbar said...

gilbar's legal statement: to the best of All of your knowledge...
gilbar has Not dealt any Schedule 1 narcotics, within the statute of limitations
THAT is his story... And he is sticking with it

Wilbur said...

I've been prescribed opioids a few times for various injuries/ailments and usually did not take even one. Like alcohol, it brings a euphoria quickly followed by a headache. Ugh.

My favorite drug in my past was amphetamines or, as we called it, "speed". About once a month I would wake up early on a Saturday morning, take half a dose, and breeze through that coming week's materials in a few hours: Contracts, Torts, Civil Pro, etc. It helped to be a self-taught speed reader.

The focus and resolution provided by my little friend was astonishing and empowering to me, so much that these Saturday morning sessions were the only circumstance in which I would use it. I was afraid to use it more precisely because I liked it so much.

retail lawyer said...

a soothing sense that I was safe, nurtured and unconditionally loved.... and constipated.

Dave Begley said...

Robert Cook.

The NYT published the op-ed that Althouse cited and quoted.

And thanks for quoting me in full.

tim in vermont said...

"What polices might those be?"

Both parties did it, shipping huge numbers of decent jobs that people who weren't really intellectually fit for knowledge economy jobs could have performed, and which other countries like China gladly scooped up.

Both parties pushed unfettered immigration, the Democrats to have a larger pool of poor people to shore up their strategy of buying votes with handouts, and the gadfly Republicans, whose cynicism ran more to keeping down the price of labor, Of course the Democrats are slobbering all over themselves to please big tech by undermining the wages of US STEM graduates by handing out work visas to indentured servants... err, I mean tech workers from other countries who will be deported if they quit working for their 'sponsor."

But Democrats do seem to be at the front of the line to destigmatize heroin use, not to mention keeping the southern border unprotected, by which the supply of ChiCom manufactured fentanyl flowers unfettered into this country. ChiCom fentanyl is responsible for the majority of deaths in the Opiod crisis, their opium war on us, but Democrats focus the 'blame' on pain relieving drugs that people in long term pain really need for quality of life.

There is blame to go around, but to suggest that the Democrats are not a big part of what has happened to so much of America is clueless.

PM said...

"...like warm, buttery love." Whoever told you that is no friend.

effinayright said...

Robert Cook said...
"Democrats actively push policies that drive up the numbers of addicted people."

What polices might those be?
****************

Oh, I dunno....how about making depressed people stay at home under covid lockdowns, and needlessly frightening them into thinking they're gonna die if they are maskless?

n.n said...

"Conversely, neighborhoods riven by poverty tend to have less social connectedness — and more overdoses."

Assertions with facts not in evidence. The problem is diversity, inequity, and exclusion fostered in modern models. They need to reconsider their priorities. Most issues can be resolved within a generation.

rcocean said...

"That's fucking great. Now the fucking New York Times is promoting and normalizing heroin."

Geez dude, where have you been? MJ has been legalized. And the Entertainment industry has been normalizing cocaine and meth use for decades. Every Cable TV show has commericals for hard liquor. Now, you're shocked they're pushing Heroin?

Complete decriminalization of dangerous narcotics along with stamping out of cigarette smoking (firgure out that inconsistency) has been the goal of the fashionable liberal/left for years.

Now, they're just being more obvious about it, because the Center-right has shown they have no guts and no desire to fight back on anything. Massive riots, murders, organized looting, people massacering Children and oldsters at a Christmas parade, etc. etc. etc. Hell, Church leaders including the Pope don't even get upset when people burn down their churches.

rcocean said...

Once you allowed legal MJ, then why should Heroin or Coccaine be banned? Its like saying Beer and wine are OK, but Scotch and Vodka are beyond the pale.

Roger Sweeny said...

@ Tom T.- I was prescribed percodan after a dental procedure and I thought, "Oooooh, this is so niiiiiice." So nice that I better stop taking it as soon as the pain subsides. It wasn't a high. Just a very, very nice feeling. I can see why people would throw away their lives to feel that way all the time.

And, yes, different people can have very different reactions to drugs.

Gerda Sprinchorn said...

Howard said:

Suffered through very painful bone on bone hip arthritis for ~8 years. Never once touched opioids. Didn't use any painkillers at all until the last year. Nothing really worked and for the last 6-months was on crutches and never slept more that 20-minutes at a time.

OK. You win. Your problems are bigger than mine.

Earnest Prole said...

That's fucking great. Now the fucking New York Times is promoting and normalizing heroin.

They -- and you -- are a little late to the party. You can find hundreds of thousands of Poor White Deplorables strung out in public places across this formerly great country, and I guarantee you it wasn't the New York Times that persuaded them to get high.

Earnest Prole said...

The single morphine injection I received following back surgery years ago produced a bliss so instant and profound that I have since refused all other opioid painkillers offered by doctors treating my various ailments: I immediately comprehended how this drug persuades people to exchange their lives for it.

rcocean said...

Sackler family.

gadfly said...

"Opioid systems have evolved in part to fuel the good feelings people get from spending time with friends and family . . ."

Which came first? Did prehistoric man enjoy good feeling from socializing with friends before cannabis seeds were first traced back to archaeological digs in 8100 BC in Asia and opium use showed up in Europe in 5700 BC. Or did hunger pangs bring on the inadvertent chewing of a high-powered plant leaf that happened to be growing nearby. Sparse population and poor communications likely would have slowed the news of chemical opioid highs in the wayback.

Tom T. said...

Thanks guys.

Howard said...

Surprised no one brought up the stoned ape theory of evolution. I heard it on Joe Rogan, so it must be true.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

1:20 Tim in Vermont
worth a read, everyone.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Desperation for Chi Com fentanyl, leads to off the charts property theft. Like where I live.

Chris Lopes said...

The warm buttery love feeling is Death copping a feel. Such romantic bull shit can only come from someone who has never had to deal with the real world consequences of this garbage. They've never had to bury a brother or consoul a niece. They've never had to watch as a mother outlives her son. They're just clueless elitist assholes.

madAsHell said...

The Canucks quite selling codeine in the Vancouver drug stores.

Just as well......tachyphylaxis.......you ain't gonna beat it.....it's gonna beat you!!

Fernandinande said...

Here I lie in my hospital bed
Tell me, Sister Morphine, when are you coming round again?


I was just in the hospital for a week and they were pretty generous with the intravenous morphine, until I complained that it made we feel unpleasantly woozy, so they switched to dilaudid, which at first had no psychological effects then started making me feel nauseated, and just deemed to get worse, and I was in no condition for barfing (stomach surgery). Fortunately the pain suddenly ended.

Ry Cooder plays some nice slide guitar on that song.

mikee said...

Overdoses in areas riven by poverty are much more likely a product quality issue than a social support network problem. The mixing of fentanyl into diluted heroin requires a careful measurement, complete mixing, and packaging in defined weights to avoid an overdose. Sometimes the dealers are lazy, or in a hurry, or don't give a damn about their product. Now tell me how having more friends will prevent an overdose when you don't know what exactly you're injecting, or smoking, or ingesting?

Fernandinande said...

spending time with friends and family

Those rats in those old, bogus "push the lever for cocaine until you die" experiments lost interest in cocaine when they were no longer artificially isolated from their compatriots.

Note: does not apply to humans.