The root cause for drug taking and drug addiction
The root cause for drug taking and drug addiction
by G.P. Heyes B.A. and G.M. Heyes B.Sc
Drug taking is Caused by Poor Diet
Drug use and abuse has become a major problem in our society. Drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, heroin, marijuana cocaine and other psycho-stimulats have various negative effects, but the prevention of drug addiction, better rehabilitation and the decrease in the use of drugs will not occur until we focus more on the physical or biological side of the use and addiction to drugs and understand the relationship between diet, magnetism and drug use.
Drugs are used because of poor nutrition and because of a lack of vital energy or magnetism in the body. This applies to those who are drug addicted as well as to those who use drugs moderately for recreational purposes. Why magnetic deficiency?
The answer is found in Phyloss explanation of the two poles of magnetism, positive and negative. the human body (and all animal bodies) are positive in polarity. while vegetable or plants are negative. We need magnetic balance for health and to resist the craving for drugs. This can only be attained through eating plant foods alone Iie., a pure vegetarian diet).
Electro-magnetism is the key to human vitality or energy while many vitamins and minerals are also needed for efficient brain function. A diet high in animal products and low in vegetable grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits will have the effect of creating a magnetic-electrical and chemical deficiency.
Research has found that there are electro-physiological deficits in alcoholics. (1.2). One study found that the brains of those who consume more than 300 ml of alcohol daily, compared to non-alcoholics, had an abnormal electrical wave forms of the P300 electrical potential.(3) A decreased amplitude of the P300 electrical potential occurs, not just n alcoholics, but also in their progeny, suggesting that electro-physiological deficits exist even before alcohol consumption in the children of people who drink alcohol. Drug-taking changes the brains magnetic and electrical patterns, increasing the electrical firing of the brains neural circuitry and the bodys nervous system to generate a high. With long term use they act to devitalise the body, having a seriously damaging effect on the vital life force, further reinforcing the need to take the drug.
Low magnetic levels in the brain and body are caused by deficiencies of folic acid, zinc, thiamin, and other nutrients. The western meat-based diet, is largely responsible. It is nutritionally inadequate in terms of antioxidant vitamins and minerals, and deficient in negative magnetism. Over time, the animal product diet can create abnormal cravings for drugs which will differ in strength depending on nutrient availability and level of magnetic balance.
Biochemically speaking, on such a diet the natural opiods no longer function as they should, causing craving and eventually, with drug use, addiction. Drugs supply exhilaration as they stimulate the reward or pleasure centre of the brain. they act to increase the electrical firing in the reward centre releasing certain neurotransmitters which induce a sense of euphoria, elevation in mood,increased arousal and motivation.
Excited by the drug use, the brains neural circuitry adapts to the chemical state. If the drug is withdrawn, brain function in impaired and pleasure is replaced by pain, inducing depression and a loss of energy and motivation. Continued drug use is reinforced, first by the physical addiction and secondly, by the strong psychological desire to avoid painful withdrawal.
Drug use and abuse is a form of appetitive behaviour, for drugs stimulate the same area of the brain that rules feeding and drinking (ie., the reward and pleasure centres). A poor nutritional and vital state will create the need to consume or use drugs. The link between nutrition, appetite and drugs is further implicated by the fact that drugs replace the need for food as a person becomes more drug dependent.
Drugs serve as a compensatory mechanisms for biochemical imbalance in the brain and body, affecting mood. Alcohol, for instance, functions primarily to relax, as does opium. Other drugs stimulate (caffeine) and can trigger the tension that may lead to drinking. Aggression often triggers smoking and smoking (nicotine) often reduces aggression, causing change of mood or relaxation. (4)
This is why many smokers say they smoke to reduce nerves, when irritable, anxious or worried. (5) Some drinkers drink to reduce social tensions or feelings of inadequacy. Some may drink to attain a positive pleasure rather than to combat a negative stimulus, but all these mental and emotional triggers have neuro-physiological and nutritional abnormality as their precursors.
The similarity between behaviours of those people who are addicted to food (anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa) and those who are addicted to drugs, indicates a disorder of the self-regulatory control of the appetite. (6) the drug-takers habit may be triggered by emotional factors as is the obese, bulimic or anorexic persons eating pattern, but these are secondary stimuli. The primary cause is poor diet and the brains consequent magnetic and chemical imbalance.
Diet is the key to the synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and serotonin has been repeatedly linked to drug taking. The dietary precursor for serotonin is the amino acid tryptophan which is low in a high-protein diet and high in a high-carbohydrate diet.
Drug taking may either increase or decrease levels of serotonin in the brain depending on the subject taking the drug. In some people alcohol increases their serotonin levels, possibly by decreasing levels of other competing amino acids in the blood as they reach the blood-brain barrier, causing them to relax. Others may find that alcohol and sugar decreases serotonin in the brain causing depression or aggression. they may find that sugars affect them badly and have a condition which Virkunen, of Finland, called Ôreactive hypoglycaemia (9). Many criminals, as well as a those with chronic depression, have been found with this condition.
Poor Diet and Deficiency of serotonin
Poor carbohydrates (sugar) with high-protein diets (meat) are likely agents of abnormally low serotonin levels. The increase in meat and sugar (and other refined carbohydrates) consumption (ie., junk food) in the last 20 years may have resulted in generally low brain serotonin levels which may explain the recent epidemic of childhood depression in the US and Australia noted by Martin Seligman in The Optimistic Child. Serotonin deficiency has also been linked by researchers to various states of mental illness, drug-taking and violent crime.
Tryptophan, the precurser of serotonin (5HT), is implicated as a controlling factor in the CNS, affecting mood, aggression, pain, anxiety, sleep, memory, eating behaviour, addictive behaviour, temperature, endocrine and motor regulation. Abnormalities of 5HT include: Parkinsons disease, MS, sleep disorders Huntingtons, schizophrenia, mania, depression, hypersexuality, bulimia, and so on (7).
Deficiency of tryptophan and tyrosine, the precursors of serotinergic and catocholamine systems have been found in eight adolescents with impulsive behaviour (8). Thirteen studies of serotonin in aggressive cases have been reported (9).
All show the concentration of 5-HIAA as cerebrospinal fluid are inversely related to aggression, irritability, hostility and criminal activity (10,11).
Some parents of maladjusted boys have been alcoholic and had nervous or somatic disorders. Many children with hyperactive syndrome have alcoholic parents and become aggressive in childhood or adulthood (13). The evidence suggests a reduced activity of brain serotonin may be involved. Alcohol may create mental irritability and hyperactivity and aggression in offspring, possibly due to its effect on the brains neurotransmitter, serotonin.
Drug-taking, especially alcohol, by parents and their children at an early age may cause genetic damage to the brain, a possible precursor to psychopathy and violent crime. Studies of prisoners find that they are often drug abusers and have generally eaten a poor diet high in meat, sugar and commercialised foods with deficiencies of thiamin, zinc and folate which are essential to brain function. the work of Schoenthaler and Schauss n America on diet and crime has revealed how better diet and vitamin supplements have improved mood and reduced violent behaviour in criminal populations (14).
Virkunnen has proven that low blood sugar and alcohol are linked to violent crime (15). It is likely that dietary mechanisms are instrumental in creating these low levels of blood sugar in violent criminals. The well-known brain abnormalities (ie., abnormal CNS and limbic system responses) of psychopaths may be the result of magnetic deficiencies that have genetic and dietary causes. The prevalence of fast food, which is high in sugar and fat can, in certain cases, be the precursor to drugs such as heroin.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency
The two kinds of foods that are implicated in causing vitamin and mineral deficiency and abnormal serotonin levels are sugar and meat. There is considerable evidence linking high sugar intake to abnormal blood glucose levels and alcoholism, and this is because sugar intake can cause nutrient deficiency, (eg., thiamin, zinc, vitamin C, folate, Vitamin E. etc). Meat also lacks vitamins such as thiamin and folate which are essential for brain function. Meat intake can create a deficiency of tryptophanth precursor of serotonin because it contains many other competing amino acids.
According to the American Dietetic Associations Guidelines for Nutritional Care of Alcoholics during Rehabilitation, alcoholics are deficient in Vitamins B1, B2, B6, folic acid, and zinc. Dr.Mekhijan, Professor of Medicine at Ohio State University found evidence that the heavy drinker has a nutritional deficiency. He states that under the influence of alcohol the intestines are thrown into reverse, preventing the digestive system from absorbing the vitamins minerals and trace elements it requires.
According to Dr. Carl Pfieffer, niacin (vitamin B3) has been found to help the alcoholic resist the craving for alcohol, combined with vitamin C, vitamin B6 and occasionally vitamin E, so that a recovery is made feasible (16).
Heroin addicts suffer from nutrient deficiency and poor diet. Alexander Schauss found in Harlem in 1968 that those heroin addicts able to kick their diet of fast foods, colas, and refined sugar improved whilse those stuck in a junk food rut continued to use narcotics. he found that when men and women are withdrawn from heroin they develop large appetites. Good food with daily intense exercise is able to turn weak skinny junkies into happy healthy men and women.
Schauss said, I vividly recall that those addicts that I have worked with in the corrections system have atrocious diets and are addicted to sweets. They would constantly hunger for donuts, sweetened sodas, chocolates and candy (17).
The Chrysalis Outpatient program for alcoholics and heroin users at Minneapolis, Minnesota, uses nutrition as treatment. 90% of patients have been found to be hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar) and almost all cases show improvement when vitamin C are used. Many children in the program were found to suffer from food allergies or allergies to chemicals in cleaning agents, perfumes and sprays. Most were hypoglycaemic (16 out of 20).
Dr. Roger J. Williams, the eminent biochemist, maintains that no one who follows good nutritional practices will ever become an alcoholic (18).
Foods high in both sugar and fat create a sense of euphoria and pleasure which conditions the child for the drug experience. children raised on poor diets high in sugar, caffeine and animal products and lacking in plant foods will be at risk of developing a drug dependency. Children on high caffeine and sugar intake through chocolates and cola drinks have higher levels of hyperactivity and anxiety.
Researches have found a high sugar factor in the diet of opiate addicts. One study examined the food purchases of former opiate addicts and drug abusers living on a rehabilitation unit. Sugar intake was 30.1% of total daily calories compared to the generous 12% recommended by RD1. There were low levels of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Fat consumption was 51.6% compared to RD1 of 34% while protein was 7.5% compared to RD1 of 11%. Male patients would buy lots of white sugar, frozen chips and few vegetables and no fruit was bought over 4 weeks (19).
A study of Colditz, et al. found that alcohol intake leads to decreased carbohydrate intake, ie., less sugar, but energy intakes are generally the same as before, from other sources (20). This study concluded that, because sugar is eaten less as alcohol is consumed more, the appetitive mechanism is the same. This supports the theory that the more sugar ingested during childhood, the more likely alcohol will be ingested in later life.
The western meat and milk based diet does not provide adequate nutrition. Nutritional surveys have found that 50% of Americans consume less than 50mg. and 25% consume less than 39 mg. of vitamin C daily - far below the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 60 mg. Half of the American population consumes only 950 IU of vitamin A (19 percent of the RDA), and 4 IU of vitamin E (40% of the RDA) or less daily (21).
The same pattern applies to the consumption of other micronutrients as well. Large numbers of people in Western countries are, in fact, Ômalnourished.
A study of young adult linked meat consumption to the drinking of alcohol. Individuals who ate meat and poultry less than once per week were less likely to drink alcohol (p=0.003.) reported more physical activity (p less than or equal to 0.001) consumed diets higher in carbohydrates, starch, fibre, vitamins A and C, and calcium, and lower in energy, fat, protein (p less than or equal to 0.001), had smaller body sizes (BMIP=0.001) and had lower concentrations of serum cholesterol (p=0.001) and tryglycerides (p=0.015) (22).
Max A. Schneider says that milk also may lead to alcoholism since gastritis reduces the appetite in children and this in turn causes poor nutrition and a desire to drink alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are also implicated as causal agents for alcoholism.
A very pertinent fact is that vegetarians have much lower rates of drug use than omnivores, and have lower alcohol,nicotine, and caffeine intakes. Vegetarians tend not to drink excessive alcohol, smoke, take illicit drugs, drink coffee and exercise more.
the countries which have the greatest drug problems and the largest numbers of recreational drug users, eg. Britain, America, and Australia are also those countries which rely the most on animal products - meat, milk, eggs - and also refined products such as sugar.
Posner, et al. found in an epidemiological study between 1984 and 1986 that alcohol consumption increases with fat consumption (23). He concluded that These dietary trends (toward high animal fat availability, and declining vegetable protein availability and total carbohydrate from starch) parallel the established high o rising rates of noncommunicable chronic diseases throughout many parts of the world (24). These diseases include breast cancer, cardiovascular, disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Drug taking has been increasing in richer nations because of the increased consumption of animal products, sugar and the systematic commercialisation of food. Less fresh home-grown food is being eaten now than ever before.
Supermarkets supply dried or frozen foods that have little vitality left in them. The increased profits of meat, sugar food and tobacco companies, junk food manufacturers and breweries is evident.
Crime associated with drugs has become endemic in the USA since the 1920s and this is not surprising when we consider that USA is a country marked by rapid urbanisation and food processing, reliance on the supermarket and fast food outlets and high meat-protein intake. Fresh food is almost unheard of in many cities in the U.S.A.
Cows milk is natural for calves to drink, but not human babies. Sugar, widely used n processed foods, is not natural because it has many vitamins needed for its metabolism removed. If this food was ideal for human beings, why have they created such terrible effects as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis?
Parents need to consider the effect of poor diet on children. The very things that children enjoy (sweets, chocolates and ice cream) may,in fact, predispose them to nutritional inadequacy and loss of appetite for vegetables and fruits. Many parents have seen this process in action but give into the childs demand for junk food because it is easier to buy than raw natural foods which they have to prepare or cook themselves.
Drug taking begins in childhood. In Australia a survey found that 19.3% of male smokers and 11.3% of female started before they were 15 years old (25). The survey also found that between 7 and 19% of 12-year-olds drink alcohol once a week at least, while between 36% and 51% of 16-year-olds also drink.
This early start of drug-taking indicates that a fundamental physiological cause is at its root. children do not have common mental anxieties that could explain such widespread drug-taking. The great number of drug users in general society indicates a fundamental dietary cause. A survey has found that 32.1% of Australian men and 24.7% of Australian women smoke (26).
Drug abuse in Australia is high in the aboriginal population which suffers from nutritional deficiency more than any other. A larger number of Aborigines smoke compared to other races (up to one half of Aborigines compared to less than one third of other persons) and there are high rates of depression and suicide. Nutritional education could benefit such minorities more than any other welfare measure. The high rate of diabetes and heart disease, as well as depression and drug taking, amongst this population can be addressed by nutritional education and supply.
Variations in profession amongst drug takers can be explained by the fact that children from a higher socio-economic class are better fed and therefore will tend to smoke less. In Australia professionals make up 17.3% of smokers, and labourers and related workers 40.3%, plant and machinery drivers operators 39.8% and tradespersons 37.8% (27).
Poverty and lack of education predispose a family toward poor nutrition and this in turn leads to higher rates of drug addiction. It may also predispose them toward crime and mental illness.
Childhood nutrition should involve the elimination of meat, sugar and processed foods replacing them with whole foods, plant foods high in antioxidants, vitamin B-rich foods such as wholemeal bread, whole rice, beans, nuts and soya milk.
Once a person has become drug dependent it becomes very difficult for them to quit as the brain is altered and begins to rely on the drug for functioning. Drugs damage neurons, alter metabolism and cause cumulative irreversible changes to the brain. Malnutrition makes the problem worse as there is no protection against the toxic effects of the drugs. Many drug addicts no longer eat properly and live on very imbalanced and unhealthy diets compared to the normal population.
Nutritional treatment is vital to helping the person overcoming the addiction. One researcher found that a good nutritional state is an indicator of the successful treatment of the drug dependency (28).
Vitamin therapy and good nutrition has a remedial effect on alcoholism. In 1974 Dr Russell E. Smith worked with 507 hard core alcoholics at Brighton Hospital, Detroit Michigan, over three years.
Using spaced dosages of vitamin B3 (3-5 grams) plus a hypoglycaemic diet led to a 71% recovery rate over one year. The Guest House, Lake Orion Michigan, had 82% recovery rate using the same methods (29).
Dr. Abram Hoffer, authority on nutrition and mental illness, advocates large dosages vitamin B3 and B6. Another study looked at two groups of male alcoholic patients in an alcoholic rehabilitation unit. One group was placed on a conventional alcoholism treatment alone, while another was placed on conventional treatment with nutritional therapy (diet modifications, vitamin and mineral supplements and nutritional education classes). The study found that 6 months following discharge, 81.3% of the group receiving nutritional therapy in addition to conventional therapy remained sober compared to 37.8% of the group receiving conventional therapy. Researchers concluded that biochemical imbalances may cause a vulnerability to and a propensity for alcoholism.
A combination of psychotherapy and nutritional therapy may be more successful for achieving long-term recovery from alcoholism than conventional treatment methodology (30).
Drug rehabilitation programs tend to be primarily concerned with emotional and intellectual factors linked with the addiction. More attention needs to be drawn to the physical side.
Detoxification is important and certain medications and herb treatments may be beneficial.
Drug programs need to teach people about the importance of health, particularly nutrition, educating people about how it affects their mind and body, how to shop for food and cook nutritious meals. In the future there may be greater understanding about the use of magnetic therapy and nutritional supplements in order to enhance biomagnetic and chemical balance. Antioxidants may be of great benefit.
Side Effects of Drug-Taking
Drug-taking has many side effects. Drugs such as alcohol contribute to illnesses such as cancer, heart, kidney, liver and brain diseases. Marijuana can lead to irreversible brain damage and aggression. Heroin is a great killer. Cocaine use is linked to crime and death.
Drug taking leads may to lose control over their lives,t rebel against society to the extent of complete self-destruction. Pleasure and hedonism rules the consciousness and higher aspirations are suppressed.
Punishment not the Solution
The TV series, Wheeler in America on Drug Crime, observed that, since the Reagan era, the conservative politicians have passed over 60 mandatory minimum sentencing laws to fight drug supply. However these laws have allowed Justice departments to prosecute young drug users, sending them to jail for long periods for use of small amounts of a drug. William Bennett, under Regan and Bush, introduced laws designed to catch drug pushers but which actually in practise catch users. Many users are forced to sell crack in order to obtain it. This means a young person can be e sent to jail for life for supplying $30.00 of crack cocaine. it is currently a crime to aid or assist a drug pusher in any way (31).
Gaols are now filling up in America at a rate of 1,700 persons per week. Conservative politicians think that Americas drug problem can be forcibly removed, but drug abuse continues to grow as does supply.
The truth is that drug supply can only be reduced by reducing demand, and demand is caused by poor nutrition and a lack of education and wisdom in matters pertaining to health. The re-eduction of all children in basic dietary needs of the human body is a primary solution to drug addiction. Prisons should not be used as places of punishment, but rehabilitation. The health approach is fare wiser and humane than the severe authoritarian imposition of punishment.
Generally we need a more tolerant,informed, educated and less judgmental approach to drug crime. Punishment usually fails to reform. Treatment of causal factors can accomplish much more.
It is hypocrisy for society to permit alcohol but prohibit heroin as both drugs are dangerous. Alcohol is a greater factor in violent crime than any other drug while nicotine results in many deaths.
Strict laws and prison sentences have no effect on drug taking. Being physiologically driven, drug addicts have no choice but to take drugs. The resources currently used by the State for drug crime would be better employed in rehabilitation and prevention.
Governments are presently holding tobacco companies responsible for the high costs to the State of care for those who contract diseases related to smoking such as cancer and circulatory disease.
Certainly the tobacco companies are making great profits from tobacco sales and ought to be held accountable for the ill-effects of those substances, but if we wish to prevent children from smoking and becoming addicted to nicotine we need t address the fundamental dietary causes for smoking.
The saying Prevention is better than cure applies to drug addiction as much as to any other illness.
Eating correctly prevents the desire for drugs from arising and must be encouraged at an early age. Ideally the diet should incorporate whole foods derived from plants high in antioxidants.
The food must be fresh and natural and eaten in proper combinations at the right times of the day. Regular meals are most important. Education in proper nutrition is vital.
We must realise that, when we eat poor food, we create a debt to our body by robbing it of the nutrients it needs. The body is like a child, and we are it parents. If we feed it junk food it will grow up to be rebellious.
Solutions to drug crime can be arrived at through nutritional education of parents and children through the school curriculum. These are the long-term solutions but the only viable ones.
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(24) B. Posner et al p 205.
(25) ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) Nation health Survey 1989-90 Smoking in Australia
(26) ABS 1989-90 National Health Survey Smoking Australia
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(29) A. Schauss Diet Crime and delinquency Parker House Berkeley Ca)
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(31) Wheeler on America TV Series ABC
(32) Wheeler on America interview with Mark Wagner
Article appeared in New Vegetarian and Natural Health, Autumn 1998