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Romancing Opiates, Revised Paperback Edition: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy [Paperback]

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Item Number 393476  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   146
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 25, 2008
Publisher   Encounter Books
ISBN  1594032254  
EAN  9781594032257  

Availability  2 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 03:11.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Item Description...
Theodore Dalrymple believes that almost everything people "know" about opiate addiction is wrong. Most flawed of all is the notion that addicts are in touch with profound mysteries of which non-addicts are ignorant. Dalrymple shows that doctors, psychologists, and social workers, all of them uncritically accepting addicts' descriptions of addiction, have employed literary myths (drugs are "creative" and "intense") in constructing an equal and opposite myth of quasi treatment. Using evidence from literature and pharmacology and drawing on examples from his own clinical experience, Dalrymple shows that addiction is not a disease, but a response to personal and existential problems. He argues that withdrawal from opiates is not a serious medical condition but a relatively trivial experience, and says that criminality causes addiction far more often than addiction causes criminality.

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More About Theodore Dalrymple

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Theodore Dalrymple is a retired physician and psychiatrist. He is a contributing editor of "City Journal" and frequent contributor to the London "Spectator," "The New Criterion," and other leading magazines and newspapers. He is most recently author of "Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline, Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy, In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas," and "Threats of Pain and Ruin."

Theodore Dalrymple was born in 1949.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Eye-Opener  Feb 22, 2008
A must-read if you want to know something about addiction and about the politico-medical complex. In general, my personal policy is that if Theodore Dalrymple wrote it, I read it. That said, however, this book is not his best effort in terms of his usually elegant, witty, and engaging writing style. It is repetitive and there are unusual mistakes, from punctuation to grammar, as if he was in a rush to be done. That is why I give the book only four stars instead of the five stars and two thumbs up this man usually deserves.
If you like gadflys, this one's for you  Dec 19, 2007
If you are the kind of person who delights in an author that has the rare ability to change your mind, then Theodore Dalrymple is your man. He doesn't just expose the origins and motivations behind the modern myths of opiate/heroin addiction; he beats them to death, and then runs them over a few times just for good measure. Dr. Dalrymple is a bit verbose, but in a somewhat delightful fashion. Perhaps it is more that we readers of the modern era have lost some of our appreciation for the beauty of the English language. But this is a good book for a relaxing weekend, and makes for some excellent water cooler conversation the following week.
Are you serious?  Nov 15, 2007

As a point I must admit I wouldn't buy this book, let alone read anymore then the interview the author gave to Front Page. Here is the letter sent to the author.

Mr. Dalrymple,

After doing a quick search online to arm myself with information regarding opiate withdrawal I stumbled upon your interview with Front Page. I must ask Mr, Dalrymple as it begs the question, have you yourself ever experienced withdrawal from opiates?

I myself have. In fact after a doctor decided that the ruptured disc and pinched sciatic nerve required an opiate based pain control regimen. It started out innocently enough with Lortab, but as my body started to have these "flu like symptoms" my doctor changed medications and levels. After a year and half of this hell, I found myself on Fentanyl patches (the doctor told me a 25 micro milligram patch was equal to 6 Lortab - He was WRONG.) Instead we would later find out that is was the equivalent to 5 Lortab an HOUR over the course of three days.

Once I found myself being told that I needed to wear a 75 micro milligram patch AND take four to six Lortab in a day, I snapped. I also never went to a life of crime to sustain a habit as you suggest ALL opiate addicted persons do, and I don't recall ever making a choice as you state to go from a casual user to a full blow addict. No, all I needed was a matter of weeks on a prescribed medication to become addicted. Against medical advice I decided no matter how much pain I would feel from my back I would not go on being dependent on any medication let alone medications such as these.

So began my withdrawals, with a doctor that had no intention or idea of how to do so. I have to completely disagree with your entire interview. For me this has not been a simple case of the "flu with marked anxiety for three days" but a living hell when I went to a 12 micro milligram patch. I didn't just suffer anxiety, oh no I suffered tremors, muscle spasms, fever, vomiting, either constipation or the latter, overwhelming fear and anxiety, raised heart rate - blood pressure, suicidal thoughts, flashbacks, night terrors, and my favorite hallucinations. To add a touch of life threating as you say opiate withdrawal is not I also had to be placed into the ICU for respitory failure - a little hard to fake. Now this make come as a shock to you but never in my life has the flu brought about that variety of symptoms.

Not once did I go to the doctor to ask for higher doses, nor did I attempt to quench the "thirst" for my petty life as a mother and spouse as you suggest in this description of opiate addicts making more out of there withdrawals, "it makes small and rather petty lives seem vast and possessed of a tragic grandeur. I believe this to be romantic clap-trap." No instead I suffered through over two months of tapering, I don't recommend it. I used very small doses never abusing them, in combination with Clonidine and Xanax. Now I must ask you if you realize that there are a great number of people out there who aren't part of your prison or slum research that are legitimately placed on these drugs by doctors who don't seem to know better or have an exit strategy for suffering far more severe than the "Flu."

I found your interview answers coarse, rude, and infuriating. I can only compare them to an ignorant man describing how easy childbirth through c-section would be without medication for a woman, I challenge you to either on your own or perhaps with a loved one go through withdrawals from opiates and then give another candid interview.
A paradoxical attack on paradoxical dogma  Sep 25, 2007
Everything you know about addiction is wrong. Heroin is not addictive--it takes a lot of hard work to become addicted to it--and withdrawal is, at most, mildly uncomfortable. Addicts do not commit crimes to buy drugs to avoid withdrawal; raher, those already criminal tend to become addicts. Why? Because of their bad ideas about how to live, ideas which percolated from middle-class intellectuals to lower-class petty criminals. In particular, Mill's view that all authority (including teachers' and cops') is against libery and self-expression led to the glamorizing of the criminal anti-hero, whose crimes are really virtues--an expression of his "authentic" "rebellion" against opressive "society". Criminals take drugs as another sign they are "rebels".

Dalrymple's criticism of the liberal drug dogma is quite insightful. The problem is, his own view is its exact mirror image--and the mirror image of an absurd position is itself absurd. For example, he is correct to say the "instant addiction/horrible witdrawal" liberal dogma is incosnsistent with demand to legalize drugs: if drugs really *were* that addictive and harmful, they surely should be kept illegal. However, if addicts' crimes are a free choice which has nothing to do with their alleged craving for drugs, why would legalizing drugs make it more likely for them to commit crimes--which he gives as an argument against legalization?

Similarly, he blames middle-class intellectual for making the lower class their playthings, sacrifising millions to the all-against-all culture of the slums in order to promote their unrealistic Millian view of "freedom" and "rebellion". But he suggests to stop offering addicts clean needles, hoping fear of HIV and hepatitis woud be an incentive to addicts to take less drugs. Isn't this sacrifising thousands of lower-class addicts to preventable diseases in order to support an unrealistic view of "moral responsiblity" held by middle class intellectuals--specifically, Dalrymple himself?

Dalyrmple's diagnosis of what ails liberal drug-addiction dogma is excellent; but his suggested cure is worse than the disease.
TD does it again.  Sep 10, 2007
Theodore Dalrymple makes a convincing argument to show that almost everything we 'know' about opiate addiction is way off the mark. Drawing on his vast experience, he methodically debunks the myths we believe are true about the 'addict' and the 'addiction' itself, and he is sceptical that the government and people in our institutions are capable of changing the way we handle this (largely social and moral) "illness". I always have something to learn from his essays and am always interested in his perceptions (which are usually close to the truth - if not always dead on) and intrigued by his consummate skill as a writer in bringing searing insight and rationale (based upon empirical evidence) to the issues he tackles. He can be satirical and witty (as well as compassionate) but comes across as one (prophetically) railing against the prevalence of a wilful and destructive blindness to this problem.

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