Drug of Choice
AIN'T NO CAFETERIA
I am a baseball fan.
However, I have become more and more discouraged by the pace of play. Games are way too long.
The culprits are players taking far too much time getting in and out of the batter's box between pitches. One of my favourite player's--Brett Gardner--recently was hit with a monetary fine designed to counter this largesse that has turned games into a four-hour family picnic.
Bravo, major league baseball.
I am also a substance abuse counsellor. So, I ask myself, how could I incur a fine?
Easy. All I'd have to do is ask a patient/client the following question:
"What's your drug of choice?"
Though I haven't lost a nickel yet, too many of my colleagues will lose their collective garden style studio apartments if we considered that noxious question the same waste of time as MLB's OCD-ridden batting habits.
Too tough, you ask, for me to impose an industry-wide ban on that line of assessment?
Well, Brett Gardiner makes several million dollars a year playing baseball and can afford the fine.
Our patients' lives, however, cannot afford the question.
But they can die from it.
Inviting someone to answer that question with, say, Heroin, is urging him/her to continue to self-destruct with substances that led up to the Heroin use, or with substances they have yet to try (does Fentanyl ring a bell?).
Consider your gambling addict. His wager of choice maybe horse racing. So, having had him answer the question, you instruct him to never bet a horse race again. He dances out of your office like Michael Jackson and drives directly to the casino to play blackjack. Cured of horse gambling, he bets juniors college fund away in Las Vegas.
Gamblers love any bet; addicts love any drugs; clinicians seem to love the question we already know the answer to.
The answer is more.
Folks with substance disorders don't have a drug of choice.
They have a choice of drugs.
Please, don't invite them to the buffet.