Everything You've Wanted to Know About Drug Addiction
Tibor A. Palatinus is a trained Narconon Drug Prevention Specialist, Drug Interventionist and Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor. Today, he consults drug users and parents and friends of drug users on how to save an addict's life by getting those in need to the Narconon Drug Rehabilitation program. Since 2001 he has been the Executive Director of Narconon Vancouver Society, in Vancouver, BC.
Drug Detox and Rehab Consultant: Tibor A. Palatinus has talked to about 10,000 people looking for help with an addiction problem. He and his consultants have sent almost 500 people to specific rehab programs. This has been a unique learning experience. Successful rehab results require personal responsibility and family support. Fitting programs to people is another key to success in rehab.
Drug Prevention Specialist: Tibor A. Palatinus trained at Narconon International as a Drug Prevention Specialist in 2002. He has delivered prevention education in over 6 US states and several Canadian provinces. He combines this knowledge and experience with 3 years training as a Toastmaster to bring a fun, refreshing and effective style to drug education talks. Prior to his Drug Prevention Specialist training, Tibor had worked for over 5 years as an educator, tutor and business academy supervisor.
Tibor experimented with drug use as a teenage due to a lack of knowledge of what drugs are. Drug use adversely affected his education and physical health causing several life threatening situations. Tibor has ‘been there as a user’ and shares his experiences freely with the kids and adults to bring reality to each of the Narconon ® Truth about Drugs talks.
The "Narconon Truth about Drugs Talks” are delivered in a non-judgmental way without scare tactics, to let the participants draw their own conclusions about drug use. The Narconon talks draw heavily on the latest research of drug effects on the body, mind and abilities of a person, combined with real life anecdotal stories which bring the facts to life.
As a teenager, Tibor tested many nutritional theories and practices, such as saunas, taking vitamin B3 and other cleansing methods to achieve better health and improve well being. He shared these discoveries with family, friends and clients to help others achieve better health and happiness. This would mark the beginning of his research into nutrition and its connection to well being. He maintains personal consultation with nutritional experts and continues to read up on nutritional breakthroughs to keep up with this amazing technology.
Questions and Answers
by Trung Nguyen
How did you become involved with the field of drug prevention?
I started in drug prevention innocently enough, looking for something to do as a public speaker. I got thoroughly involved in drug prevention after learning of the real damage to society that drugs bring. Life doesn't need to have this heaven and hell conflict all the time. I discovered we as society are responsible for both sides. I'm currently supporting the 'heaven on earth' side.
Working in drug prevention requires a unique determination to make a lasting and effective improvement in our social fabric. Drugs, pharmaceutical and illicit, combined with alcohol are killing our kids, loved ones and rising stars faster than many of the wars in the world today.
After seeing that drug and alcohol abuse is a tool used to degrade people and destroy society, I decided to do something, anything about it. I've lived mostly in Vancouver, BC - home of the infamous Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver: a poverty stricken sore spot in the middle of this northern paradise.
Ironically, the DTES is only the symptom of an even larger crisis. Drug & alcohol addiction, both pharmaceutical and illicit, is prevalent in colleges, business and corporations. The DTES is the tip of the iceberg, with 90% of the drug abuse problem out of sight to the majority of society.
I don't work in the DTES. I'm more interested in the 90% of those whose drug abuse is still out of sight. The easiest to handle are those who haven't gotten involved in drugs, that's why prevention makes sense to me. Even a little bit of work goes a long way in prevention. It's also a lot of fun working with kids and parents.
In the clients that you have worked with, would you say that narcotics addiction is more of a physiological problem or a psychological problem? Or evenly both?
Narcotics addiction - meaning illicit drug use, including alcohol and pharmaceutical abuse, is a combination of physiological, educational and spiritual problems. I'm going to keep the psychological aspect out of it as I don't work as a psychologist.
Drug - illicit & pharmaceutical, and I'll include alcohol addiction with drug abuse, is an attempted solution to a problem. Drug abuse remains a 'quick fix' solution as long as the underlying problems that drug use temporarily 'solves' remains unresolved. The confusions as to what the actual problems are, covers the roots of addiction and keeps it from being unearthed. It's mostly the unknown factors which keep addiction alive – not what every one seems to know about. That's why addicts have to increase their abilities and awareness to truly recover from drug addiction.
Simply, drugs serve a use for an addicted person. They hide his real problems from him or her. These problems can seem devastating - like the death of a loved one, having to tell the truth, talking in front of a group or an illness that is undiagnosed and poorly treated etc. Drugs dull down the person's ability to perceive these uncomfortable situations and / or memories. The person decays in health or wellbeing while on drugs; I'm sure you've seen examples of this.
Moreover, drugs store in the body fat or adipose tissue of a person for years. Simply stopping drug use doesn't get that stored drug metabolite (residue) out of the fat tissue. Drugs are essentially toxins or poisons. These drug toxins have a cumulative effect on the body systems. The good news is that they can and are flushed out of the body with intensive sauna, exercise and specific nutritional supplement treatment (see Townsend Letter - The Examiner of Alternative Medicine #273)
To summarize, drug addiction is rarely a singular problem, however when it is, drug abuse is far more easily solved.
What are some of the more memorable clients that you have worked with?
A client I sent to rehab was from a wonderful family. His father worked in his retiring years volunteering for the ministry and also had a radio show. The client was addicted to heroin. It took him two times through the Narconon program to end his addiction. The factors that made this client special is that he was privately described to me by one of the directors as "an evilly intentioned" person during his first time through the Narconon program. I thought he was simply trouble.
Very early in his first program, his actions had resulted in several clients leaving. I wasn't happy with his actions and was very clear with his father that his son had some amends to do.
Oddly enough, this man turned his life around and has been a model son and community member since leaving the Narconon rehab center. Upon completing his programs, he became an ethics counselor at the rehab and specialized in handling tough cases. After leaving the center he continued helping others get to rehab. He later parlayed his way up from having almost no money and now owns a very nice home in Texas. He even became a friend of mine. It is funny how anyone can save themselves when they take responsibility for their rehabilitation and for their lives.
In drug prevention education, I befriended a teacher at a school that I would return again and again to. I found that this teacher always seemed to have pretty good kids in his class. Conversely, another teacher always seemed to end up with the difficult kids.
I looked at what this teacher did or didn't do and discovered some interesting characteristics to his teaching methods. The kids always knew where the lines of acceptable and unacceptable behavior were. He would straighten out bad behavior but he wouldn't scold and harshly condemn. Not true of the other teacher with the 'problem' kids.
I discovered that we as teachers, parents and adults play a major role in the development of the future society. I've asked the question, "What if there weren't 'good' kids and 'bad' kids?" Perhaps there are just kids in front of us. And those kids are reacting to the influence of the effective or ineffective teacher, parent or adult, in front of them.
This teacher with the good kids really opened my eyes to the influence people of good will and skill have on the lives of the future generations.
What nutrients have you found to be effective in treating hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin?
Cocaine withdrawal seems to be eased considerably by omega 3, 6 and 9, especially in combination with B and C vitamins, magnesium and vitamins A, D & E. The amounts of these vitamins seem to be under-dosed by many -- consider 2 grams of C every 4 hours while awake along with a gram of buffered B3 every 4 hours to get an idea of correct dosing. Complementary amounts of other vits need to be included, of course. Another mineral mixture is very valuable to cocaine withdrawal, it's called Cal-Mag. I'll describe it next.
Heroin withdraw requires similar vitamins / minerals, but the Cal-Mag formulae, a proprietary mixture, works amazingly well for withdrawal from opiates. Cal-Mag is 1 tablespoon of Calcium Gluconate powder + ½ teaspoon of magnesium carbonate powder with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, mixed together. Then add 1 cup of boiling water, stir until clear. If it doesn't go clear, toss out and start again.
Cal-Mag is an amazing, inexpensive and simple nutritional formulae that reduces the muscle spasms to almost nothing, cuts down the aches and pains and makes it possible to get rest or sleep through withdrawal.
You’ve written that, “Drug abuse remains a 'quick fix' solution as long as the underlying problems that drug use temporarily 'solves' remains unresolved.” What are some of the underlying problems that some of the addicts you’ve worked with trying to solve?
Lost or failed life goals are the most common thread I see in my clients. They sometimes don't point that out when looking for rehab. They are just trying not to feel like complete losers or escape jail, etc.
Many of the 'good' kids want to regain the respect of their families and friends. Their rehab is all about integrity and regaining respect from their peers. Ironically their problems were not feeling good about themselves, or not feeling right with the world. They either lost their direction or goals somewhere along the way and drug use filled in that gap.
The feelings and highs one gets by fulfilling major goals in life and connecting with people are worthwhile rewards. Drugs can almost approximate those feelings, but not quite.
What's worse is that drugs trigger unwanted emotions and memories, especially unconscious past experience. These heavy experiences come into play to adversely influence the person's moods, physical well being, emotions and even spiritual conditions. In short, drugs degrade beings by triggering unwanted mental trauma from the past.
Drug addiction becomes a completely unfulfilling attempt to regain that evasive memory of 'a high which once was' but can never be.
Would you more or less agree with the following statements:
A. Prescription drugs are just as addictive as illegal drugs.
Agree: Some Rx drugs are more addictive, some just as addictive and some not addictive at all. Opiods are very addictive drugs. Benzo's are often more addictive than illegal drugs. Some drugs have little addictive qualities, but that's only because people only take them a couple of times, if ever.
B. Some prescription drugs are more addictive than illegal hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
Agree with conditions: Cocaine and heroin seem to produce heavy effects quickly. Newer pain killers like fentanyl and sentinel are far more potent than heroin. Some become seriously addicted to ecstasy and only a few years ago it was 'legal'.
C. There is a misconception that prescription drugs are safe because they are prescribed by medical doctors.
Agree: In 2007, 1.7 million people in Canada had to go to emergency when correctly taking their Rx meds. That stat occurred in a country of about 30 million people. Hope that puts that question to rest forever.
This is what you’ve written, “…drugs serve a use for an addicted person. They hide his real problems from him or her. These problems can seem devastating - like the death of a loved one, having to tell the truth, talking in front of a group or an illness that is undiagnosed…” So habitual drug use, in some cases, could be a symptom of something else. What are some illnesses that are common among drug addicts?
Before drug use, the problems could be food allergies to leaky guts, or toxin exposure, ad infinitum.
After drugs use, Hepatitis A, B and C, AIDS, STDs, HIV, brain damage due to toxic exposure, stroke, heart tremors, cancer, . . . do I have to go on?
You've noted that, "The DTES [Vancouver Downtown East Side] is the tip of the iceberg, with 90% of the Drug abuse problem out of sight to the majority of society." Where is the other 90%? In the suburbs?
Glad you asked me to clarify this: Drug abuse is nation wide, in wealthy, middle class and poor neighborhoods – only the types of drugs change. Drug abuse is rampant in colleges, some high schools and even elementary schools. In economically poor areas, glue huffing (sniffing) is the leading addiction of street kids. In Vancouver, it's meth, especially smoked ice and injected meth. Drug abuse is epidemic and pandemic in scope. I wish things were different. The least I can do is warn parents and kids about the danger.
In my previous social circle, marijuana was seen as something that was harmless and “everybody” did it. I no longer believe that. What is your view on marijuana?
Weed is the new tobacco. Just as a reminder, tobacco kills more people than all other drugs combined. That's only because it is the most used drug product. I consider weed far more damaging to people through the retardation of goal setting and achievement, especially in the younger populations. Weed merchants like Mark Emery, a known felon and drug pusher, needs weed to be legalized so they can continue doping the population and create future drug addicts. Addiction is guaranteed repeat business. Marijuana has many addictive qualities – many think being stoned on marijuana is their lives. Many don't know what being clean is like anymore. That's addiction, by the way.
I guess I'm older than you at 44. Not everyone smoked weed when I was in high school. Although some of my friends got into it. The guys who didn't get involved knew it wasn't harmless. My friends who smoked weed and didn't quit, got side tracked in some part of life and never got out. Some were fortunate enough to have the drive to establish themselves in long term carriers first; so their conditions were manageable.
I had to get out of smoking marijuana by the age of 20; I've been 'finding myself' since then. The journey required that I totally get off any drugs and alcohol. So I'm what most would call a straight edge.
What is your view on methadone—using a drug to treat a drug problem? Is it effective?
The drug problem is mistakenly believed to be compulsively or obsessively abusing drugs. Abusing drugs is the solution to other problems. Sometimes the drugs become the main problem. That simply requires a straight forward detox. End of problem.
Drug addiction is only a problem because it is not being correctly treated. Example: everyone knows if you have a cold, you stay warm, have hot drinks, get some rest, etc. Result: Cold is cured. Addiction is really no different except that the person continues to do the same dumb stuff, abusing drugs, and say to themselves and every one around, "I can't control myself".
Obviously a drug abuser doesn't know how to control their lives. They need to increase their abilities.
Medicating drug abuse problems doesn't increase abilities. If you were talking about taking a medication for a couple of days or ½ a week, we probably wouldn't be having this interview, as drug abuse would be a solved problem. Addiction hasn't been solved because the person needs to rise out of the problem to solve it.
Any parting words for our readers?
Look to ways of increasing the number of activities you are involved in and play an active roll in those. The way out of most unsolvable situations is to increase ones willingness to live life and know more about life. My best solution to life problems is getting better problems. Drug addiction, victimization, being degraded etc are lousy problems to have. Get rid of those problems and get onto better problems in life: like learning how to live in peace with oneself and others; finding new places to put all the extra money you made this year; building up programs which challenge kids to live out their life goals.
A recovering addict should always use an addiction recovery progress tracker to monitor his day-to-day improvement.
Tibor A. Palatinus, CCDC (Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor)
Narconon Drug Prevention Specialist
Website: Narconon Vancouver