The dos and don’ts of helping a drug-addicted person recover

How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.

  • Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
  • Tough love doesn't help drug-addicted people. Research shows that the best way to get people help is through compassion, empathy and support. Approach them as an equal human being deserving of respect.
  • As a first step to recovery, Maia Szalavitz recommends the family or friends of people with addiction get them a complete psychiatric evaluation by somebody who is not affiliated with any treatment organization. Unfortunately, warns Szalavitz, some people will try to make a profit off of an addicted person without informing them of their full options.
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​Americans now more likely to die from opioids than car crashes

It marks a first for the U.S., where some 49,000 people died from opioids in 2018.

Narcan kits are available at a homeless encampment in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 22, 2018.
  • Each American has about a 1 in 7,569 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, according to a National Safety Council report. The probability of dying in a motor vehicle accident is 1 in 8,096.
  • The death rate for opioids is now six times higher than it was in 1999, with about 130 Americans dying every day from the drugs.
  • Narcan is a life-saving drug that can stop opioid overdoses in their tracks, however factors like stigma and cost are preventing this antidote from becoming more accessible.
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We could cut the opioid death rate by 50% – but we’re not

As more and more people die, drug companies keep reaping in a massive profit.

  • Drug companies make huge profits by flooding the market with overly powerful — and highly addictive — drugs.
  • Some high profile deaths over the last several years have brought this problem to the headlines. It's everyone, not just middle America, who is getting hooked.
  • Why do we let Big Pharma rule over? Journalist and author Maia Szalavitz investigates.
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How Big Pharma secures drug monopolies

Patently insane: How Big Pharma gouges drug prices

  • Scores of people — including many beloved musicians and celebrities — are dying from perfectly legal pharmacutical drugs. And many big companies are profiting.
  • After cornering the market, these giant corporations inflate the prices to gouge the consumer.
  • Lowering drug prices could be obtained by starting first in the patent office.
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Humans take psychedelics. Should robots?

Psychedelics are crude drugs. Could neuroscience and super-intelligent AI help us design something better?

  • The illegal status of psychedelic substances is a terrible thing, says Ben Goertzel. With everything happening behind closed doors, our societies are not developing the right set of cultural institutions to guide people in the productive use of psychedelics.
  • Once scientists have mastered artificial general intelligence (AGI), the psychedelic experience could be engineered for the modern world – it would be safer, less haphazard, and more meaningful. We would "trip" by jacking our brains into the superhuman AGI mind cloud.
  • "We're going to be exploring states of consciousness that go way beyond anything we can imagine now and way beyond anything that the very crude psychedelic drugs that exist allow us access to," Goertzel says.
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