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America’s Addictions: Opioids, Donald Trump, and War


America’s Addictions: Opioids, Donald Trump, and War

Tom Engelhardt

When you think of addiction in America today, one thing comes to mind: the opioid epidemic. And it should. It’s serious. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, almost 64,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses in 2016 (more than died in the Vietnam War), an average of 175 people a day.


His last breath, by any means…


While I like reading anything by Tom, this article rubs me the wrong way. To describe the over the top coverage by the MSM as an “addiction” is misleading and dangerous. An addiction implies that someone has little or no control over their addiction. The media on the other hand has full control over what they decide to report. They are not addicted to Donald Trump but rather they have made a conscious decision to bring us Trump 24/7. Of course this is to the delight of corporate America and by avoiding issues that matter to America like universal healthcare, free college tuition, repairing the social safety net or raising wages, corporate America feels that if the public loses interest in Trump, that they will simply elect by default a corporate Democrat.
If we had a responsible media that did not rely on corporate funding to exist, both parties would be laid to rest permanently, but instead we are continuously subjected to this national Gong Show as if the public desires it. I personally don’t watch the MSM anymore not because I am politically disinterested, but because I am politically interested and unable to garner any substance from T.V., the radio and most of the printed media that exists today.
Too many authors have made the mistake of connecting what appears in the media as a result of what the public demands. The reality is the public has barely any input what so ever except when polls dictate the publics preference, but only confined within a narrow frame work of our corporate selected entertainers.
The only “other” truly impactful addiction that Americans must combat, is the addiction by the .1% to plunge the rest of us into abject poverty for the sole purpose of accumulating more wealth. This is one addiction though that we’re seldom educated about because the crazies are running the asylum.


It is time to return to the Draft, with no exemptions for anyone. Perhaps if the Sons and Daughters of our Legislatures are forced to send their children into a nonsensical war where their loved ones will be either killed or maimed, maybe they will think twice about continuing to fund these idiotic Wars without end or purpose.

After 911 we should have gone after the guilty perpetrators instead of declaring War on the entire world.

Whatever happened to the Peace Corp? Now instead of sending Americans overseas to help Third World countries with their agricultural needs and helping produce fresh water, we now send Soldiers dressed like automaton Villains in a Star Wars movie who do not engage the locals except to kill them on the ground or through Drone Strikes.

I certainly would not welcome the American Army in my neighborhood. Make America Tough Again, either you do things our way or we will Kill you.


I have seen such pronouncements before, but surely you must know that never, ever, will a person in power, a person of wealth and influence, allow himself or his offspring to go anywhere where they have the remotest chance to “be either killed or maimed.” It has never happened, and cannot ever happen. That is simply not how war works.


America’s addictions mean huge profits for Trump and his ilk.

The media must be brought to serve us, and vilify them.


I both agree and disagree and would like to add one point.

First, addiction is the wrong word for the reasons that you describe in your excellent analysis. Second, IMO, though they do not demand it, the public in the U.S. regularly roll over for this crap without much of a fight. Real journalism and real history have almost ceased to exist because they both take time, effort and resources to produce and require critical thinking/feeling to understand

Finally I’d like to add that the so-called “progressive” media is as guilty as corporate media for focusing on the Orange Tweet Weapon of Mass Distraction and “The Russians Did It” meme. To me, that is a much more serious problem and why I describe Dems and lib/progs as the “more effective evil.” They hide dastardly deeds behind wondrous words (that are nothing more than lies).


If we could shake US politicians’ addiction to corporate money the problems addressed in this article and most other problems addressed on CD would solve themselves.

Unfortunately, despite searching far and wide, I have yet to find a 12 step program to shake corporate money addiction.


“Spot on” diagnosis Dr. Tom!


But it used to happen. JFK saw combat in WWII. as well as his brother Joe Jr. who was killed.

George H.W. Bush was a Navy fighter pilot in the Pacific

Teddy Roosevelt’s son was on the beaches of Normandy.

Some wealthy and powerful people in our past did care about the notions pf honor and public service.


In the past, some chose to, that is correct. None of them had to. Some rich movie stars chose to go as well, but most stayed home and made “patriotic” movies. Today is much different.

GHW Bush was a pilot, but saw to it that none of his sons had to serve in any meaningful way. G.W.'s privileged “service” is well documented.

WWII was very different from today’s perpetual wars for profit, which are fought by the nation’s poor as the only way for many of them to make a living.


Opiates or war, addictions can be cured if conservatives stop blocking research:


I feel like our “addictions” (I would say “distractions”) are far deeper than that.
Entertainment, pop culture, Trump, TV, war, sports, and so much more are symptoms of systemic narcissism and have been growing for several generations. The narcissism and narrow perspectives are themselves a symptom of a corporate value system. Values that have corrupted all systems and institutions in our society, and devalued all that is truly important or essential in life.



You are correct, of course. WWII was the last war that we had any justification for fighting.

My point was simply to point out that even among the wealthy, a sense of duty and respect for service to the society at large existed back in those days. IMHO, the “Greatest Generation” were often decent people, even those of wealth and privilege. Sadly, that no longer exists.


And what happens in 1984?

The general populace cannot seem to remember which other country their own country is fighting and for what-ever reason.

That never happens to us here, does it?


When I think of addiction, I think of alcohol and tobacco, which are both more prevalent and deadlier by orders of magnitude than opiates. Most people who use opiates are not addicts; they’re people who just for Christ’s sake want a little relief from pain. Unlike Trump supporters, we don’t want to force our drugs or out lifestyles on others, we don’t want to force people out of the country because they aren’t Just Like Us. And unlike the racism that supports Trump and the so-called “wars” on terror and drugs, legalizing opiates would serve to make them safer. In fact it’s America’s addiction to its holy drug war that’s killing opioid users, not addiction to the drugs themselves. Stop comparing the victims of violence to the perpetrators.


We should consider the addiction to motorized travel powered by petroleum. What role did petroleum play in WWII when Germany invaded the oil fields of Baku and North Africa? What role did petroleum play in Japan’s takeover of Asian nations and Philippines? What role did it play in the Vietnam War? Could we say the underlying cause for these “oil wars” isn’t petroleum as much as controlling the market for vehicles powered by any source? Beyond the plainly evident addiction to personal cars and air travel, could we also say controlling the petroleum-dependent global economy is also an underlying cause for oil wars? In other words, even if all transport could be achieved with solar and hydro-electricity, the underlying cause of oil wars may be market-driven forces, controlled by the ruling class, would still egregiously pit the underclasses against each other so that the upper classes could maintain their cash cows and the frivolous enjoyment of luxury travel. Ka-ching!


And MAPS is a wonderful org with great people researching the medical use of psychedelics. The following are a compilation of studies from the site, but not MAPS sponsored studies, which are elsewhere on the site:

Psilocybin Studies: In Progress

Effects of Psilocybin in Major Depressive Disorder
Effects of Psilocybin-Facilitated Experience on the Psychology and Effectiveness of Professional Leaders in Religion
New York University Psilocybin and Cancer Study
Using BOLD fMRI to measure the effects of psilocin on brain activity and connectivity
A Pilot Study of Psilocybin-Facilitated Smoking Cessation Treatment
Persisting Effects of Psilocybin on Emotional Brain Functioning in Healthy Volunteers
Psilocybin Effects on Attention, Perception and Cognition
Experimental Studies on the Effects of Psilocybin on Binocular Depth Inversion, Binocular Rivalry
A Double-Blind Trial of Psilocybin-Assisted Treatment of Alcohol Dependence
NYU School of Medicine Researchers Seek Religious Leaders For Study

Psilocybin Studies: Completed

Johns Hopkins Study of Psilocybin in Cancer Patients
Human Psychopharmacology of Psilocybin
Psilocybin’s Effects on Cognition
The Good Friday Experiment Follow-Up
The Concord Prison Experiment Follow-Up
Psilocybin: Basic Dose-Response Safety Studies
Psilocybin in the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Psilocybin in the treatment of cancer patients
Human Psychopharmacology of Psilocybin
Psilocybin In The Treatment Of Cancer Patients



Thanks for the information.

The studies show the enormous potential of entheogens for treatment besides addiction.

Only conservatives stand in the way.

Ironically, their fears of death and loss of control can be treated with psychedelics.