The never-ending story?

This is a story that you have heard before.

This is a story about a man who has it all. He has talent, fame, good looks, money, a beautiful and successful partner – almost everything that American society tells our youth they should want to achieve. Everywhere he goes, people’s jaws drop. He has adulation; young people in particular adore him and want to be like him.

He also has an addiction; or rather, he had one, because last week, it killed him.

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Cory Monteith, star of the television show “Glee”, died – apparently alone – in a luxury hotel in Vancouver sometime over the past several days. Mr. Monteith has had a public and on-going stuggle with substance abuse nearly his whole adult life. His first attempts at treatment reportedly occurred at 19 and were on-going as recently as earlier this year. At age 31, an apparent overdose killed him.

I have a confession. I never watched “Glee”. Well, I watched one episode and decided that it wasn’t for me. I have no personal appreciation for the show or for its characters and actors. Neither do I particularly follow the trappings of young hollywood, in general.

When the famous fall victim to their addictions, they should receive no more pity or attention than when an anonymous person does. Unfortunately, they do, and because of that, their struggles are teaching moments for us all.

All of us find the pleasures that certain circumstances give us rewarding and desirable. Whether it’s good food, sex, the comfort of family and friends or even a drug (coffee counts!), we sometimes crave the pleasure and put considerable effort into obtaining it. For some people, they have experience with the intensity of pleasure that some illegal drugs elicit. But for all these things (natural and unnatural rewards, alike) there is a risk. Some people (the minority of all the people that ever experience them) will demonstrate an escalation of their preoccupation with the reward and will increase their seeking and and consumption of it. They will spend more and more time obtaining the thing and will consume ever greater amounts of it. They may begin to experience life problems as a consequence. At this point, many of them try to stop their problematic behavior, and it is then – for the first time – that they realize what an addiction really is because they will fail and relapse. You see, the reward/drug has the control.

Every time the disussion of addictions is had, there is always at least one simpleton who feels the need to assert the experience of a “friend” who used drugs and quit with no problem … implying that the failure of treatment in others is somehow voluntary. This is simply not true; rather, the story means that only some people that use drugs get addicted to them. Those that don’t, quit easily. Those that do, are trapped in a progressive disease that may well end their lives. Some people, unfortunately, are much more susceptible to this transition.

Mr. Monteith’s story is not terribly unusual. He apparently completed rehab in April of this year. Rehab can have a sordid consequence when it’s not followed up with intensive therapy and follow-up. When people are using a drug regularly, their body becomes tolerant to its effect (the body has the capacity to become resistant to the effects of the drug). The amount of the drug they need to achieve the desired effect gets, correspondingly, larger and larger. Eventually, they are able to take doses of the drug that are higher than ones that would profoundly sicken or kill a non-user. When they then stop using the drug, for example – while they are in rehab, the amount of drug they can safely take goes back down; their body loses its tolerance, just like it gained it to begin with. If, post rehab, they relapse and use the drug in the amount and manner than they did before they sought treatment, there is a chance they will not survive the experience.

Over the forthcoming days, the facts and events that led to Mr. Monteith’s death will be splashed over the pages of every newspaper in the land.

His story, however, is played out every day in small communities around this country. He is only one example of a victim of a disease that knows no bounds. The anonymous die every single day in this country because of their disease, and their plight must not be ignored.

Wealth cannot protect someone from an addiction. Neither can talent or beauty. Neither can fame.

And in many cases, even the love of family, friends and a partner cannot stop it.

And in many cases, even the best treatments we have cannot stop it.

The hope for people suffering from this disease is scientific research into the mechanisms, causes and targets of treatment for addiction. It’s why we must put as many resources as we can onto research that aims to stop the needless suffering and deaths of the famous and anonymous alike. We must combine the use of sophisticated brain imaging methods and genetic analyses in human subjects, with molecular and cellular studies in animals. It’s why we must give the victims of this illness the compassion and help they need, just like we do so for people with other preventable illnesses like cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes.

Only in this way will stories like this eventually fall away into history, like the stories of children suffering from polio and smallpox have done. When we make any substantial inroads into effecting a reduction in deaths like this one, there will truly be cause for ‘glee’. Until then, there is only hope – the hope that comes when scientific research progresses.

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11 comments

  1. So in other words, we addict poor innocent (usually Primates) animals to more cruel and worthless experimentation. Research actually into what? Many lives of sentients (thousands upon thousands) for scientific fraud and the pockets laden with money for the shrare holders of pharmaceutical companies…and of course vivisectors.

      1. How very mature of you… You must be proud of yourself..
        She has reasonable comments that are relevant to the article, you on the other hand are just wasting your own time, and the time of all the unfortunate people who get lured to read your comment, thinking it might have some reason.. But, no…

        So get a life, and stop proving you are a sociopath with a complete lack of compassion and respect for other beings, including human beings.

        Mocking others is never fun, and it really says more about you than it does about them! You really can`t keep diverting everyone away from the fact that you have no heart in the long run..

        Do you think it makes you feel better, when you do this??

        It is ok to disagree, but calling people idiots and not having any legit arguments as to why, well…. That just seems more than a little dumb and immature to me and most other adults..

        So if you really are NOT a psychopath then I strongly suggest you change your ways! Because that is how you promote yourself today!

        May Cory Monteith rest in peace and the drug industry mafia stop abusing his unfortunate early death to promote the abuse of the innocent lives of animals! There is no proof for any drug that it will behave 100% the same way in a human body! In fact no drug ever will behave the same way in any body!! Our bodies consist of about 80% microbes ( bacteria, virus, fungi, parasites – YES, we are walking flea markets ) We inherit some of these from our dad, and some from our mum, but we are more exposed to our mothers microbes due to the nine months of pregnancy, after we are born we are continually exposed to all different kinds of microbes and this is what makes us unique! Absolutely NO ONE have the same microbial balance, no one! This is why some will have those kinds of side effects from a drug, and others will have none, or some totally different ones. No prescription drug or other drugs will have the desired effect on more than maybe 80 % ( if we are lucky ) of the population, all others will have no effect or just a bunch of side effects…

        Then why should innocent animals have to suffer to develop more drugs??

        Drugs to kill drug addiction?? Give me a brake!! That`s like replacing alcoholism with heroin…

        Substance abuse is a real disease but, torturing animals will not help!
        Listening to the people with the problems without prejudice will! What is it they really need?? And why? Start there!! Then maybe add Psyk-K, or other mind changing treatments. If there is such a thing as the placebo effect, then that alone is proof that belief can change everything!! Mind over matter.
        But to give pain relief a few days during detoxification, now that is different, but it is not something they need to continue using!

        If we can find out what lead to the abuse in the first place, and do something about that, then people will have no reason to go back to the drugs, there will be no need for it! Nobody wants to be sick!!

        And the only way to help them, is to actually listen to the sick!!

    1. I agee with Jennifer. I also add I find this in extremely poor taste to use the death of this young man to promote your own agenda into the world of sadist suffering for our animals. Animal testing is fraudulent and dangerous.

      1. What I find to be in poor taste is the single-minded determination to stop one of the only efforts that has hope for bringing an end to addictions and the suffering it causes. Basic and biomedical research (whether it involves cells, humans or animals) is the only answer.

        I have heard your opinions, but I have also heard the call of the many asking that humane and responsible research be done in order to achieve an to end disease, suffering and avoidable death.

        https://unlikelyactivist.com/2012/06/22/a-solemn-voice-in-support-of-medical-researchers/

        I answer their call to action with continued determination to further our understanding of these horrible illnesses.

      2. jentsch you keep spewing your lies. But the fact is people are now starting to educate themselves to the truth. Hell even the NIH which I have never been a fan of is speaking out for research into human cells and human tissue research which has really helped prove our point. I am done, your self serving views are not worth any more of my time.

  2. What a cheap shot, from an arrogant pseudo scientist whose head is so far up his own rear end he perceives no-one is worth listening to unless in agreement.

    Vivisection is fraudulent science, offering unsound results. Unimaginable cruelty during which you sadistic clowns ignore the screams of the animals who endure horrific torture and abominable deaths. Do not speak of pain relief or anaesthesia – we know that the introduction of such interferes with your “results” (sic). No cures have been as a direct result of vivisection. Parkinson’s disease, cancers, HIV are diseases for which a cure, if indeed there is a cure, remains to be identified. Your pseudo-scientific nonsense wastes money is directing money away from areas where genuine scientific may be made. And how many drugs have emerged on to the market, subsequent to animal testing, yet which caused the death of human beings?

    How many more millions of animals are destined to suffer at the hands of you frauds, who line your own pockets not only at the expense of animal suffering and death, but at the expense of people for whom there is no hope – whilst progress relies on big ag, big pharma, and laboratories staffed by sociopathic imbeciles who refuse to openly debate genuine scientists.. There will come a time when you corrupt sadists are finally forced to agree that archaic science has no place in society, with funding being directed to sophisticated, reliable, safe research.

    I’ve asked you before Mr. Jentsch, why you refused requests by Ray Greek to openly debate this issue. I ask you again Mr. Jentsch – why will you not agree to open debate with Dr. Ray Greek – or Jerry Vlasak? Could it be that your verbal skills, reasoning, excuses and scientific knowledge compare unfavourably!

    Don’t talk to a ‘dining table’ – go and openly debate genuine scientists, and we will then see you in all your dubious glory! Fraud!

  3. Also – fyi

    “As for bypass surgery, animal research actually retarded this therapy for humans. Because a dog’s clotting characteristics and coronary valves are so different from ours, the initial human patients died. The first success was Dr Kunlin’s work in France. Dr Kunlin’s work was clinical and had nothing to do with animal research.”——Dr M. Beddow Bayly in Clinical Medical Discoveries

  4. Oh dear me..I,m so disappointed, is this the best you can do……..did I hit a raw nerve suggesting “money”..?
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/247151/august-19-2009/barney-frank-refuses-to-talk-to-a-dining-room-table.
    Thank you Kathy for attesting the obvious, a blatant opportunity to further an agenda through the death of a young man, and Annie excellent suggestion..Dr. Ray Greek – or Jerry Vlasak to debate with any vivisector, would indeed have a global audience.
    Unfortunately I feel this enlightening debate will never evenuate…akin to Hitler and Jesus Christ having a conference of ethics.

  5. This is a woeful article. But we must remember that Mr. J. is a “killer” not a writer!

    It cannot and should not be disputed that even a miniscule difference in the physiological make-up between human and non-human animals affects the outcome of any experiment. Also, the majority of research ‘results’ remain secret – with only perceived and dubious ‘successes’ being published.

    Millions of experiments, yet only a tiny proportion are (unjustly) acclaimed! It’s absurd to use animals as living tools, predictive for human illnesses.

    The unimaginable pain inflicted on these sentient beings during grotesque experimentation would never be applied to the human animal – Or would it – if you could get away with it Mr. Jentsch? In fact, has it? I think we know the answer..

    Apart from dangerously misleading results and misdirecting funding which should be used for genuine research, it must be acknowledged that Animals exist for their own purpose – not ours! Just as we (some of us) are capable of compassion, love, happiness and a whole kaleidoscope of feelings, so animals experience these emotions also.

    The Animals are not “Living Tools”. They are LIVING BEINGS!

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