(disclaimer: This transcript was made using AI technology. Please excuse any errors.)
Welcome to the Atheists in Recovery Podcast, where we talk about finding hope in recovery. And now your host, Dr. Adina Silvestri
Adina Silvestri 0:11
Bonjour Atheists in Recovery land, and welcome to Episode 65 of the Atheists in Recovery podcast. And today we are talking to David Poses. And I'm excited about sharing this interview with everyone. David, I found David on Twitter actually. And his tweets are remarkable. I mean, he, he's so vulnerable about his story. And anyway, I think you're really gonna like the show. So today we talk a little bit about how a cop at David's high school had, quote, unquote, sold him on using opioids. When he said that opioids are used as a as a painkiller, any David thought, Well, I'm in pain. So it was mental pain, but I'm in pain. So So this will work for me. And he sort of romanticized the drug until his until not much longer after that. And until he started using, he started using heroin as a symptom of a much bigger problem. But back in the 90s, you know, these prominent addiction treatment centers, they all they would use for 12 step models, and abstinence was sort of the only way. And there are a lot of treatment centers today that will only use that model as well. So David was in buying into that he felt that he doesn't have a higher power. And he talks a bit about his spirituality in the beginning, he doesn't have a higher power, he doesn't believe that that the parents are in God is going to come down and save him. And so he really struggled with with treatment until years later, he found buprenorphine, and so he talks a lot about buprenorphine, as you know, a maintenance drug, and how that really saved him. And we also talk a little bit about drug policy towards the end, and David talks about his miracle future. Okay. Onto my guest, David Posess. David is a writer and activist at the intersection of science and policy for drugs and addiction treatment. He lives in New York with his wife and kids. David is a recovering heroin addict.
Okay, guys, I hope you enjoy the show, David Poses. Welcome to the show.
David Poses 2:51
Thank you. I'm so happy to be here.
Adina Silvestri 2:53
So I am very excited to have you here. And I want to start this conversation inquiring about your deepest roots from childhood,
David Poses 3:03
I was depressed before I knew what depression was, I have so many memories from as far as I can remember of my mom asking, you know, why are you so sad? Don't you want to be happy. And I didn't know why I was sad. And I knew that I didn't want to be sad, but I didn't know how to talk about it. And I felt like something was terribly wrong with me. You know, of course, I want to be happy, but I can't, you know, make it happen. My parents divorced when I was four. And then my mom started taking me to weekly therapy sessions. And the shame of the Depression was just as bad with a psychiatrist. So I didn't feel comfortable talking about it. And I mean, I basically just kind of honed my acting skills at a very young age and and you know, learn how to smile and tell jokes and deflect. And that was that. So they put me on antidepressants in my early teens. And nothing worked. I had, I'd heard about heroin in fifth grade in a drug assembly, drug prevention assembly, this cop came to my school and he told us why you don't want to drink because you can't drive and you don't want to use smoke pot because it makes you stupid. And he had something to say about every substance. And they all sounded you know, I had no problem with the just say no vow until he got to heroin. And he said it was originally a painkiller. And it's so powerful that makes you not have any feelings. And he said that, you know, like, it was like it was bad.
Adina Silvestri 4:38
Unknown Speaker 4:42
And, and he talked about how the poppy flower, this evil flower that it comes from. And I remember that scene from The Wizard of Oz, where the Wicked Witch, you know, makes the poppies appear in the field. And you can just see, you know, Dorothy, and everybody, relax. So I mean, I was I was hooked. Long before I started using Yeah,
Adina Silvestri 5:02
what do you think was so appealing about heroin and that you know, made you sort of romanticize it if you will.
David Poses 5:10
Yeah. I mean, I guess like that really turned me on the cop was the greatest endorsement. And then after that, I started noticing that all the music that I was listening to I got very much into the Sex Pistols in like sixth and seventh grade. Said vicious so it just kind and I was into Jean Michel Basquiat art and Charles bowlers poetry. So like all of my favorite artists, were at some kind of opioid something. And yeah, you know, so I like by ninth grade, by the end of ninth grade, I had tried a few antidepressants and nothing worked. My friends were using alcohol and pot like garnishes for activities. I smoked pot a couple of times, and I really just couldn't stand it. And it was the same. I got drunk once in my life, and I hated it. The feeling of being intoxicated. It just wasn't for me. I mean, that reality was not my problem. I was the problem. So by the time I got to heroin, I was just wanting to die. And it made everything okay, for the first time, everything was okay.
Adina Silvestri 6:23
Yeah, I want to step back just a minute and ask you if there was any spiritual or religious component to your upbringing. Did you have a spiritual background growing up at all?
David Poses 6:35
Yes, and no, I was raised Jewish. Both of my parents are Jewish at a bar mitzvah. But I grew up in in Westchester County in New York, and there's certainly no shortage of you know, very devout, religious Jews, but Judaism in my circle was more of like, not not so much spiritual and social, you know, like, he conquered the Jews at the country club and, you know, sleepaway camp and stuff. So, so it wasn't so much the spiritual side as much as it was just, you know, you know that you're a Jew, and you're hanging out with wall to wall Jews everywhere, I guess.
Adina Silvestri 7:13
Okay. Yeah. So not so much spiritual, just more social.
David Poses 7:16
Yeah. I mean, I had apartments. I mean, I remember, you know, I went to Hebrew school. And it was very much, there wasn't so much emphasis on learning Hebrew as much as memorizing the Hebrew stuff that live the songs in the Torah, and learning how to read and stuff like that. So most of the time, I didn't even know what I was saying, you know, and that it's hard to, you know, feel get into the spiritual component of that when it's like, you know, you're just reciting, you know, phonetics, basically. So,
Adina Silvestri 7:48
okay, maybe you could tell us a little bit more now about your recovery journey.
David Poses 7:54
Okay. Sure. So, so I started using heroin 16, I had no problem functioning on it and keeping it a secret. And that really drove me crazy lifestyle, just have, you know, deceit, and, and risks all the time. So I wanted to stop, and I kept telling myself, you know, you can be okay, without the stuff. I mean, the greatest trick of opioids is because they make you feel so good. You feel like I don't need this crap. And then you stop. And you're like, shit, I need that stuff. Yeah. So I stopped a few times, but I always went back. And then my mom went away. I was just before my 19th birthday, I forced myself into this cold turkey kick at her house while she was away. And somehow in the middle of it, I ended up calling my father who I hadn't talked to in about a year. And I don't remember calling him but he showed up. And I told him what was going on. And He took me to this detox at a local hospital. And I kind of came to my senses a few hours into it. Yeah. And I left. And I called him and I told him to, you know, pick me up that this wasn't what I wanted to do. So my mom was home at that point, and they decided that I needed to go to rehab. And at that point, I was so ashamed of the heroin, that I couldn't tell them why I was using it. So I asked if I had to go to rehab. And at the time, you know, people like he played for college four years out, but nobody ever plans to send their kid to rehab. So it was they call whoever it happened to be my aunt, my father, sister, who knew of Hazleton where I went, and, you know, so so it was, this is what you need to do. And if that kind of 90s mentality of like, one more hidden he's gonna die. So which I guess is much more true today than it was then.
Adina Silvestri 9:50
right because it can be laced with so many different things.
David Poses 9:53
Yeah, exactly. So so they shipped me off to Hazleton and as soon as I got there, I was totally unfamiliar I mean, I knew that a existed. But I didn't know anything other than you know that it was a thing. So I got there and my counselor explained that I had a disease. And that remission was only possible by putting my life and will in God's hands, and working the steps of a. And at that point, my mom had cancer twice, by then. And I just thought I was a pretty devout atheist by then. And God, just everything that they were saying. didn't make any sense to me. God didn't do anything for my mom's cancer, but he's helping, you know, junkies and drunks and crackheads. Right? You know, I mean, that was using stigmatizing language. But you know, thinking, and then also, this business of the powerless and the disease, like I chose to stick needles in my arms, it was a very conscious decision, mom didn't wake up one day and say, you know, I really love cancer, that would be awesome. So, so it just none of it made any sense to me. And I tried to explain, I mean, for the first time, I admitted to any living person that I was using heroin, because I was terribly depressed. And my addiction wasn't a disease, it was a symptom of a much bigger problem. And depression is a is a biological condition. God is not known to cure any diseases. So I really didn't see how any of this was going to help me. And my counselor was just like, You're, you're an addict, you're in denial depressions in use, and all of the, you know, kind of a isms that you really, there's, there's no way to refute it works when somebody says that to you.
So and at the time, you know, this is in 1995. So, you know, I mean, certainly addiction science was was, you know, more advanced than it was 100 years earlier, but there was very much the, you know, moral and criminal elements of it. And I didn't know, I believed that drug addicts were bad people. And so I must be a bad person felt so awful about it. And I knew a few other heroin addicts at the time, and they had all depression was the gateway for everyone that I knew, but in rehab, they're telling me No, you're an addict. This is a disease, you know, all that stuff. So it was very hard to reconcile. I mean, I just, I couldn't, I couldn't and, and I was just constantly berated for not getting with the program and, like my, you know, faith in God, and you can't do this alone. And so they told my mom, she came up for visiting weekend. And my counselor told her that I'm an addict, in denial, and it's so bad that if she's not careful, I'm gonna drink hand sanitizer, with them that desperate for a high and I'm gonna be dead, and it's gonna be like, five minutes before I'm dead. And if you don't want your son to, you know, end up dead, and so he's scared to shut up. Yeah, and, and I remember talking to her and just begging with her and explaining, you know, my side of the story. And my mom, I was always, you know, so smart, and so handsome and so great in her eyes. So the fact that I was a heroin addict, really, you know, pulled the rug out from under her, but she, it didn't change, you know, her love. And her wants to believe that I'm still this, you know, smart, handsome, dude. I mean, I don't know how handsome plays into it. But um, it can't hurt to tell you that my mom thinks I'm handsome, right? So it's better, especially if there's no video. So I just I remember her sitting there and saying, like, what if you're wrong? Mm hmm. And I mean, at the time, of course, I was outraged. But now, you know, certainly, as a parent, I totally get it. In the preeminent rehab of this great rehab, she's got these experts telling her, this is what's going on. I'm a 19 year old kid who spent the last three years in secrecy as a heroin addict. So she, you know, she didn't have a choice. And I, and I understand that now. I mean, neither of us knew at the time, the the kind of anomaly the addiction. Treatment isn't. So far as my counselor never graduated from high school. He ended up telling me at one point that the worst thing he ever did was smoke a cigarette. Every now and again, he drinks beer on Sundays for football games. So he really, you know, he was just a guy who showed up for a job and they trained him and they trained in addiction as the problem. So addicts lie, and this is what addict behavior is. And so I understand how in his eyes, I was an addict in denial. So they sent me to the director of the program met with my mom and I, and they said that I had to go to this halfway house before we have I thought I was going to go to rehab and come home, but now it was you need a halfway house and maybe it's six months, maybe it's 18 months. Who knows? The deal was You can't do this alone. You need to find your higher power. If you don't go to the halfway house, we're cutting you off. And all the tough love, you know, business that we now know is, you know, not the way to go. So I went to the halfway house reluctantly, knowing that it was insanity. And there was another guy there who had met in Hazleton. He left maybe a week after I got there. Oh, I should probably mention, I actually got kicked out of Hazleton a few days early for making out with a girl.
That's pretty cool, right? So so so they sent me to this halfway house. There was a guy there who I had met in Hazleton. And he was also a heroin addict. Same age, same kind of story. parents got divorced, he was depressed. And we both knew that knew there was a kept track of our sober days, because we knew that the relapse was inevitable. We couldn't live without without her when we didn't want to, you know, the first chance to score we were going to so we're in West Palm Beach and that, you know, recovery corridor that's so notorious now. And Steve, my friend heard about this detox center up the street that was putting you in touch with drug dealers. Because if you had drugs in your system, and you and you, you know, peed in the cup, and, you know, failed or passed, I guess the urine test. They could have made you and you know, they give you $100 Visa gift card even what Yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, apparently that kind of stuff is still going on down there. But it was just rapid the time. Oh, yeah. So Steve, Steve gets his dealer's phone number. I've been there for maybe a week, if not less. And I had made plans to see my grandparents The next morning, they lived, I don't know, an hour away. So Steve tells me he's got this dealer's phone number and we can score and whatever. And I spent all afternoon thinking about it. And I realized that I mean, the pain that I had caused my mom just from being a heroin addict was immeasurable. And then she was there. When I got kicked out. She's got these experts telling her all of this stuff that I know is not true. But the only way to prove that I don't have a disease is to demonstrate that I that I have control that I'm not powerless, but really the foremost thought was, you know, I if I get caught and I get kicked out of this place, like it's gonna kill my mother, I can't do that. So you know, and it's interesting, because at the time, I was so literal, and so anti religion that it didn't even occur to me that like, my mother was my higher power, higher
Adina Silvestri 17:31
power. I just couldn't see. Yeah,
David Poses 17:34
so I saw Steve before dinner, and I told him, you know, just it's not it's not worth we're gonna get caught. I mean, we're in a fucking halfway house surrounded by addicts like, no way we're not going to get caught. So he agreed, his parents made the same gave him the same tough love ultimatum of you know, if you don't say it that way house, we're cutting you off. So so we decided we weren't going to do it. I went to sleep that night feeling really good about myself. And we had actually joked about, you know, we should call our counselors and in Hazleton and be like, see, you know, we we can resist, and it's not our business. So I went to bed. I woke up in the morning, and Steve was dead. Wow. Yeah. So that
Adina Silvestri 18:15
was it from a heroin overdose? Yeah, was it?
David Poses 18:17
Yeah, yeah. He scored. And he was the first friend that I knew who died from from overdose. And, you know, being 19. And feeling immortal. It never occurred to me that that was I mean, obviously, I knew it was possible, but I didn't think that. So my grandparents picked me up. We were supposed to just go to lunch, but I told them, I wanted to stay with them. And I didn't tell them about Steve. I didn't tell anybody about Steve until a few years ago. Wow. So I ended up staying with them. And I somehow managed to convince them and my mother that this whole system was crazy. And I didn't need it to stay clean. And I genuinely believed that the permanence of you know Steve's, of death, that was going to reinforce my resolve to accidents that that was all I needed. You know, it was like kind of a Scared Straight moment. So that my grandparents has, you know, that same day, like less than 12 hours after Steve is dead, and we were going to go out for dinner and my and my grandfather, he asked he said you know if you want to shave, I have extra razors in the bathroom thing. So I went in there and there's this like giant bottle of Darvocet it make anymore, but it was a pretty powerful opioid back in the day, and I knew it was and you know, I just was standing there staring at the bottle thinking like there's no way that I'm not going to take this Darvocet. So let's just get over with and I did and everything was okay. It was that that feeling? You know,
Adina Silvestri 19:52
yeah, that euphoria?
David Poses 19:54
Yeah. I mean, it's not even euphoria. It was just like, this is what normal people normally feel like.
Adina Silvestri 20:01
So when when did you realize that you needed help? That wasn't in line with the traditional 12 steps or, or abstinence only based models?
David Poses 20:13
Yeah. I mean, I guess I knew about buprenorphine in the 90s, when clinical trials were going on, where I didn't know exactly what it was, I thought it only helps you to go through withdrawal. I didn't realize it was a maintenance drug. And I wanted very much to be on methadone. But the idea of being handcuffed to a clinic was just crazy to me. So it seemed like abstinence was the only option. But when I was abstinent, I couldn't really function. I mean, I built a successful career on heroin, I got fired when I was sober, I got sober, I met my wife, I was sober for about four months, when I met my wife, and, you know, certainly the newness of love, and all of that helped me to forget about, about the heroin, but after a while, I mean, basically, it's like, if you look at it, like depression is, you know, very real thing. And if my leg got chopped off, right, and the doctor prescribed opioids, and somebody said, Stop taking them tomorrow, but the wound hadn't healed yet. Nobody would expect me to suddenly feel so much better, because I stopped taking the medicine that's helping me feel better, right? So I looked at it that way, like, I haven't healed the wounds that led me to the to the dope in the first place. Why would I feel better without it, so it wasn't so much I needed treatment, other than abstinence, it was, how can I find a reliable source of any type of opioid consistently and safely. And that was really more my objective than, you know, being clean, quote, unquote. But every time I use, I felt so guilty about it, because nobody knew, I mean, my I led my family, and everyone in my life to believe that, you know, I kicked when I was 18. And I never looked back, and I was happy and, and sober, and all that kind of stuff. And I just I relapsed my way through my 20s. And it was just awful. I mean, I was just tearing myself apart with the guilt, and the shame, but I didn't know what to do. And so many times I thought, like, there's only I mean, death is the only option I can't live with, right? I can't live with heroin, I can't live without it. Like, there's no other, I can't live. So I was very much just, you know, wishing for death and thinking of ways to kill myself. But there was so much shame and suicide that I couldn't do that. So it was really, I just felt trapped until my daughter was born. It was just before I turned 30. And I knew that I was never going to use opioids again. I just knew it. And she was like, maybe a year old when the familiar feeling started to come back. And I didn't know what to do. explain those feelings. Just, it's this awful pain, emotional pain of everything is wrong. I'm a terrible failure. I'm completely not worthwhile. Everybody's just being nice to me, because they're, they don't want to be the person responsible for you know, pushing me off roof. I'm not doing anything worthwhile, you know. And in the meantime, like, I have this very big job, and I keep getting promotions and raises and I just I think that I'm fooling everybody. So I feel guilty about that. And it's just this awful, you know, fraud complex. And I have no motivation to do anything. Nothing is pleasurable. And I'm just pretending and it's, it's just, it's awful. I'm like, My stomach hurts and my back hurts. So Ruby, my daughter was when she was around two, I had the surgery on I had a deviated septum. So I got the surgery. And like a week later, I started, I got this awful headache. And I'd never had anything like it. before. I always thought migraine was what, like wimpy people called headaches. I didn't realize it was actually a thing, you know? Yeah. So I ended up in the hospital because of this complicated migraine and they pumped me full of, you know, morphine and whatever. And I didn't, you know, have a problem. I mean, it was it was emergency, like, there was no question I needed, I wasn't even getting high. It was like barely, you know, killing the physical pain. But they sent me home with a prescription for Percocet, which I knew when I cross the line, you know, I'm like, I was taking it for, you know, physical pain. And, and thinking at the time, I mean, I'm very, you know, well versed in our country's drug laws and the history of all of that, and I mean, opioids are the default medications for physical and emotional pain until, you know, Harrison acts in 1914. So, you know, I'm like resenting the law but also aware that you know, I am going to pass the point of no return if I don't stop this and I called for a refill one day, and I went downstairs and Ruby and Andrea and my wife were like making me these Get well soon cards. And it was just heartbreaking. And so every went to the gym and I said I had to go to the drugstore It was like just right down the street. So Rudy and I walked in drugstore, we get back home. And I just I knew that I had to get rid of this Percocet, and I'd never flushed drugs down the toilet before in my life. But rooby Roo I brought Ruby in the bathroom, and I dumped the Percocet into the toilet and flush them. What made you decide to do that? I think not. I think I know that. I was going to keep taking the Percocet. I was going to like the way that it felt. Yeah, it was going to run out at some point. I was going to do something desperate. I didn't know any. I mean, at that point, it was, you know, five years since I had bought heroin on the street. By then, you know, Giuliani had done his cleanup job on New York City. I had heard from plenty of people that you know, like street drug dealers were obsolete at that point. So the idea there was I wouldn't know where to get it. Mm hmm. And even if I did the idea that, you know, I would get beat up or buy poison or you know, something terrible was going to happen. Like, it's not a very safe, you know, operation. So I just I couldn't, I couldn't do that. And I knew, I mean, I was very aware at that moment that Ruby was my higher power. Yeah. So the next day, I just I had this feeling that like, I have this this kind of momentum right now. But this isn't going to carry me forever. You know, the wound is still there. Love isn't the answer. I mean, as powerful as love is it's not.
Adina Silvestri 26:44
I got to deal with it. Not it's not heroin.
David Poses 26:48
Exactly. It's a totally Yeah. So I, I ended up with buprenorphine. By then I learned that you could use it for maintenance. There were very few doctors, you know, this was 2008. So it was long before the opioid crisis, I got a list of buprenorphine licensed doctors, I called everyone within like, 200 miles of my house. And I and when I talked to them, and I said, I mean, but by the time that happened, like there was no opioids in my system, and they all said the same thing. You know, we can't, you need to have opioids in your system for us to treat you, you can't, you can't just show up here. And I said the same thing to all of them, which is, you know, look to get in order to pass your test, I have to score drugs. And if I do that, there's no fucking way I'm coming to see you. You know, like, you know, and, and, and this is, um, you know, I mean, I don't know what to um, I mean, that's a huge problem today, you know, we have morphine to prevent relapse. So one doctor, the last doctor on the list, when I explained the, you know, push pull, he, he agreed to see me, and I went in, and he gave me a couple of the two milligram tablets, and they dissolved under my tongue. And I just felt Okay, it was just it was that it was that feeling of everything's okay. And I've been taking it every day since. Wow. But I mean, you know, along the way, like, the buprenorphine triage is the, you know, the physical dependence. And it, you know, kind of saturates my opiate receptors. So they, they think that they're, you know, being taken care of by opioids, but it doesn't cure the depression, you know, the same way that opioids for, you know, when your leg gets chopped off, it doesn't cure your leg, it just, you know, it numbs the pain. So I got back into therapy. I started seeing not an addiction psychiatrist, but just a standard therapist, psychiatrist. And he really just went to work on me. And I still see him every every week as well. Amazing.
Adina Silvestri 28:52
Yeah, yeah. Well, I'm glad you finally found somebody that was a good fit, because I feel like that's, that's also really important. You could be the best therapists psychiatrists in the world. But if the therapists morals and values are aren't aligning with yours, as far as treatment is concerned, right, because treatment for addiction is very different than treatment for anxiety. Right.
David Poses 29:16
And I think the key is, he understood why I was using the heroin. He was looking at it as, Oh, this is an excuse, because when you roll it up as addiction is the problem. And everything is an excuse. You're invalidating the underlying issues that drove you to the drugs in the first place. And I mean, I would, I would argue that, you know, whether it's opioids or or alcohol or you know, compulsive gambling, you know, or hoarding or, you know, sex or whatever, like, we're looking to compulsive exercise, like we're looking to fill a hole. And it's not like, you know, you you take a hit of something and you're instantly hooked. It's the relief That, that hooks you. So and I, you know, opioids have are different than other. I mean, obviously, every type of substance is different, like the mechanics of a hit are the same biologically between like a hand of blackjack and a hit of heroin. But opioids are the only type of substance that has a natural target in your brain, and they they take hold with just such ferocity, it's different than any other type of substance. So you know, your neurotransmitters rewire. And that saying of you know, it, sobriety gets easier with time is true for you quit smoking cigarettes up drinking, whatever it is, like, you know, your brain starts to heal and really gets better. There's been, you know, major studies that shows significant dysfunction in opioid addicts brains after very long periods of absence. And you know, so you figure if, if every hit is multiplying your opiate receptors, and they need to be saturated, it's like, you've got this massive field of receptors that are screaming, and they want to give you that they're expecting that there's that that certain amount of drug coming in. Yeah, exactly, then, and that doesn't change for everyone. And it certainly hasn't for me. And so you know, the idea, like we're in this culture of abstinence, abstinence is the is the solution. And I don't, I don't believe that, and I never believed that. And my family, to this day has very mixed feelings about you know, when are you gonna start taking that crap, you don't need to be taking it, you know, blah, blah, blah? And I would say to them, like, what's the objective here? Do you want me to be like, so fucking miserable, that I'm thinking about jumping off a roof? Or do you want me to have a body that is pure of, you know, foreign substances? Because, you know, I cookies that are white, like, there's all kinds of things, you know, so So what, what are we trying to accomplish here? And I think that's a very crucial piece that's missing in, you know, our response to the opioid crisis. Because if we wanted to save lives and get people, well, then medically assisted treatment, which is proven to be more effective than anything else would be, you know, ubiquitous, but we still have this this attitude of, you know, you need faith and you need accidents. That's the predominant model.
Adina Silvestri 32:12
Yeah. And, and also, there are very few physicians. I think you mentioned this a little bit ago, in this episode, where, you know, it's there's so many, there are very few physicians that can prescribe buprenorphine, like they're not you have to be, you have to have specialized training in order to do this. And so it's amazing that during this opiate crisis that we're not, we're not addressing those gaps, right. France
David Poses 32:41
had an epidemic of opioid addiction in the 90s. They changed their laws, so every physician could prescribe overdose fatalities dropped by 79%. Wow. A very good friend of mine, who was my next door neighbor for years, is Brandon del pozo, he, he was an NYPD cop for the longest time. And then he ended up as Burlington police chief. And I met him you know, before I got sober, and he had no idea about my, my past. And so I started opening up to him, and I told him I was on buprenorphine. And you know, when Vermont chittenden County and Vermont decriminalized buprenorphine possession. unofficially and unofficially, Suzanne saw a 50% reduction in overdose fatalities. So I mean, you know, it's it's hard to imagine I mean, because addiction and drug use is so wrapped up in the malady and criminal and all that kind of business. Like if this was a, you know, Coronavirus, we wouldn't be withholding, you know, the the cure, right. And that's really what it is. So it's very clear that our priority as a country is to is interdiction not treatment. I mean, we spend, you know, 12 times more money on jails, and going after cartels than we do treating people and treating, you know, the actual cause of addictions. So, I think we just we've got to get away from this, from the morality if we want to, you know, saving lives is clearly not the priority, our priority is enforcing laws.
Adina Silvestri 34:11
Agreed. I mean, I do see some change. Like I know where I live here in in Richmond, there is something called an angel network. And if someone is, if someone calls and has overdosed, the first thing that the cop will do is they will go to the scene, they'll bring their, you know, their treatment. I can't think of the name right now, but and they will ask the individual, do you want to go to treatment, or do you want to go to jail? I mean, there's a choice now or before I feel like it was you're going to jail.
David Poses 34:42
Yeah, yes. That's, that's definitely going on. And that's great. But the flip side of that is our predominant treatment program invalidates the reason that people use drugs and, you know, many, many, many treatment centers. I mean, I think it's like 36% Have rehabs have medically assisted treatment. So if you go to an A based treatment center, methadone and buprenorphine with very few exceptions are not, you know, abstinence is the only option. I mean, I met a woman recently who, who lost her son to overdose in July, Jennifer Warnock. She's amassing a pretty good following on Twitter. I mean, I'm just in awe of her bravery and candor right now. But her son was on buprenorphine. He was he was going into a treatment center. They said, No, you need to be abstinent. They force him to wean off and he died. And, you know, I've heard from, I've heard that same story from more parents than I can count at this point. You know, there's there was a kid in Arkansas a few weeks ago, I think I posted it on Twitter. I don't know if I said it was in Arkansas, where he was on Bueb on it was like a quick, you know, wean program, he felt like he needed it. He thought he was going to relapse, they wouldn't put him back on and he died. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 36:04
Adina Silvestri 36:06
I have a final question for you. And you're going to jump in a time machine. So get ready. If you had a time machine and you can travel into the future, what would you see? What would recovery look like? In the distant future?
David Poses 36:21
Is this time machine taking you to my ideal future? or?
Adina Silvestri 36:25
Yeah, it is. What is your miracle future?
David Poses 36:28
Okay, in my miracle future, drugs are legal and regulated, all drugs are legal and regulated. But we have a very strong prevention program that's based on reality, not just say no. And we realize who's at risk for becoming an addict, and we try to intervene before it's too late. But if if it doesn't work out, treatment, certainly for opioid addiction involves methadone, buprenorphine, and pharmaceutical grade heroin. And for everything else, I mean, I forget what it's called. But there's there's a few options for alcohol. A friend of mine is taking one of these medications. There was a great article in The Atlantic a few years ago about it a doctor in Finland who pioneered this new alcohol treatment program. I mean, it just it
Adina Silvestri 37:18
seems really, yeah. And you send me the link,
David Poses 37:21
I will do it. Thank you. Yeah, it seems like we just we have to get away from this idea that abstinence is, you know, recovery, sobriety and recovery are two completely different things. Right. So if we want people to recover, and it requires them to take medication, there's a difference between addiction and dependence. You know, my myself that's had a great article in The New York Times a few years ago about that. And I think that, you know, we just, we really, we need to get away from these, these, this old thinking, that has been debunked over and over. I mean, it's really, it's the disregard of science, I think, in my time machine, When, when, when, when I get out of the DeLorean, we accept science and facts, you know, I mean, it's like we're arguing with facts.
Adina Silvestri 38:13
Right. Right. And, and, but also keeping that spirituality in in place. You know, I think that you do also need something as some sort of higher power, whether it's your future self or whether it's your Ruby or whether it's, you know, something just to kind of, yeah, yeah, to kind of something that isn't involving your brain. Right? brain.
David Poses 38:35
Exactly. Yeah, you need, you need something. I mean, it and just the language, you know, I mean, it's like, yeah, you can't do this without God like that. That's very different than you can't do this without feeling like you have something to live for.
Adina Silvestri 38:47
Right, right. No, good. I think that's probably a good place to wrap up. David, thank you so much for being on the show. And how can the listeners best find you and say hi, on social,
David Poses 39:00
okay, so I'm David, the kick on Twitter. I'm David underscore the kick on Instagram, although I don't really use Instagram that much anymore. I'm davidposes.com. I have a bunch of other domains, but they all link there. And if you want to get in touch with me, there's contact information on on my website. I try to respond to everyone that I hear from So, you know, please get in touch.
Adina Silvestri 39:24
Sounds great. Okay. Thanks again, David, for being on.
David Poses 39:27
Thank you so much.
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