106,000 Americans die from drugs every year.
More than 600,000 Canadians were dependent on alcohol and nearly 200,000 on illicit drugs in 2002.
17,000,000 Americans aged 12 or older abused or were dependent on either alcohol or illicit drugs in 2001.
3,300 Senior Canadians die every year due to adverse drug reactions (not medical errors).
There are 1,360,000 drug prisoners in the United States of America alone. Nearly 80% of all prisoners are incarcerated for drug related offences.
source: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
Millions of individuals across the world regularly drink excessive alcohol and use illicit drugs. For too many, substance abuse has become a life-threatening problem. The serious repercussions of a drug addiction can clearly be seen through the social, emotional, physical and financial impacts it has on an individual's life. Relationships between families and friends can be irreversibly harmed by unprecedented actions, be it through stealing or violent acts shown by the drug driven individual. Grave financial problems can be encountered by continually purchasing costly drugs, which results in large debts. The brain could also be permanently damaged, and suicidal thoughts may also arise. In North America alone, it is estimated that more than 17.5 million individuals are addicted to drugs or alcohol. More than a hundred thousand of these individuals die every year, due to their addiction. Not only do drugs radically shorten one's life expectancy, it also greatly increases the risks of fatal health problems and deadly overdoses.
A Biologist's Perspective
From the on start of human history, we always have somewhat been affected by the propagation of pollution in our surroundings. Pollution, in all its forms, has never been proven to be beneficial for an environment, and little has changed to this day. As it is constantly demonstrated by the worldwide scientific community, the degradation of the quality of air we breathe, the continual contamination of the water we drink, the toxic substances found in the soil we sow with seeds and the increasing number of chemicals we can identify in the living organisms we eat are all signs of the direct effects of pollution in our lives.
In Canada, the biologist André Ahern, after studying the numerous rivers of Quebec and other fresh water basins, voiced his personal opinion on the subject: "When evaluating the breadth and scope of pollution on a certain environment, appearances can be most misleading. After careful analysis of chemical & biological monitoring results for a given fresh water habitat, despite a facade of cleanliness and purity, it was discovered that the water contained many hidden contaminants".
After careful analysis of chemical & biological monitoring results for a given fresh water habitat, it was discovered that the water contained many hidden contaminants.
Just like any other living organism on Earth, the human body is equally affected by these repeated contaminations. Tests in numerous individuals have revealed a surprising amount of chemical substances present in the body. Very few had anticipated that the human body could contain so many poisonous substances, simply by leading an ordinary life.
In a research conducted by Environmental Defense, some children actually had more toxic chemicals in their body than their parents. This only demonstrates the dangers we are exposed to when we live in a polluted environment.
Yet, what are the true causes of pollution? Briefly described, a pollutant is a foreign substance inserted or imposed on an environment that causes an undesired change. Hence, the chemicals poured in rivers, the deadly gases released into the air and the wastes buried in the soil are all some forms of pollution.
What we often overlook is voluntary pollution. By willingly introducing a foreign element in our bodies, we are not only disrupting the body's equilibrium, but also posing an incalculable threat to our lives. We all know that drinking acrylic paint would plainly intoxicate us. Yet, smoking a cigarette or joint, "sniffing cocaine," or ingesting crystal meth is anything but better.
When in the body, drugs can produce several side effects, ranging from mild fazing to complete euphoria. These effects are only temporary, but the drugs themselves are not. They pollute the body by remaining in its fragile internal environment.
As demonstrated by extensive research, it is increasingly evident that the accumulation of drug residues and their lipophilic (capable of dissolving in lipids) metabolites in the body plays a role in drug addiction. Such residues are associated with persistent symptoms and their mobilization from body stores into blood correlates with drug craving.
Residues of many drugs - including LSD, phencyclidine (PCP), cocaine, marijuana and diazepam (valium) - are known to accumulate in the body. These compounds may be retained for extended periods of time, and are especially abundant in long-term, hard-core drug users. Persistent symptoms associated with drug abuse often linger long after the abuse has ceased. The consideration that accumulated residues may play a role in the persistence of symptoms led to the development of a program aimed at reducing levels of foreign compounds in the body and thereby assisting in the recovery of the individual.
Narconon Biophysical Detoxification Protocol: What it Does
A detoxification method developed by the American humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard was specifically targeted at reducing levels of fat-stored chemical residues in the body and thereby alleviating the long-term effects of such compounds.
The research conducted to prove this method was interested in determining whether drugs were eliminated during this program and, if so, what types of symptomatic changes occurred as a consequence.
Concentrations of drug metabolites in both sweat and urine were measured in a target group who had been actively using drugs prior to treatment with the Hubbard program. Treatment occurred at the Narconon drug rehabilitation center in Los Angeles. Cocaine, amphetamine, and benzodiazepine metabolites were detected by fluorescent immunoassay in both sweat and urine of these clients. Following start of treatment, metabolite concentration increased in either sweat or urine in 62% of cases. In 25% of cases the level of drug was below detection prior to treatment, but became detectable while doing the detoxification program. Drugs continued to be eliminated for up to five weeks.
A separate series of 249 clients with a history of drug abuse rated the severity of their symptoms before and after treatment with the Hubbard program. Prior to treatment their chief symptomatic complaints included fatigue, irritability, depression, intolerance of stress, reduced attention span and decreased mental acuity. These same symptoms were dominant in those who had ceased active drug abuse over a year prior to treatment.
Following treatment, both past and current users reported marked improvement in symptoms with most returning to normal range. This detoxification program represents a vital innovation in drug rehabilitation: an approach aimed at a long-term reduction of the predisposition for drug abuse.
Source: "Reduction of Drug Residues: Applications in Drug Rehabilitation," a presentation to the 123rd Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association. Authors: Megan Shields, M.D.; F. Tennant, M.D., Dr. P.H.; Shelley Beckmann, Ph.D.; and R. Michael Wisner.
The biologist André Ahern, BSc, MSc, of Laval University whom studied aquatic habitats and rivers across the province of Québec for 15 years, in particular: rivière Trinité, rivière l'Assomption and rivière La Grande. He now works as a drug addiction detoxification specialist for Narconon since 2002.
About the Biologist
My name is André Ahern, biologist and ecologist since 1966. For the past 4 years now, I have been a counsellor in drug detoxification at Narconon.
Biology, ecology and drug detoxification counsellor… this all appears to be an unorthodox choice of careers. That was also what I believed at first.
As a biologist and ecologist, I always ask myself several questions when facing an issue. In this particular case, I was wondering what made Narconon so unique. Why does the Narconon program have such a high success rate compared to the other drug detoxification methods available in Canada? Why do drug addicts, having done 5 to 6 other drug rehabilitation programs, are suddenly capable of controlling and eliminating their substance abuse after the Narconon program? Why do drug addicts willingly accept to complete the Narconon program with determination, even though they miserably failed in the past?
I found the answers.
To launch any serious scientific research, one must initially formulate hypotheses on the facts presented to him. These hypotheses will not only be the driving force behind the research, but will also guide the researchers on the eventual approach to take.
One of the most interesting hypotheses, and an exclusive one at that, of the Narconon program was that: "the human body does not eliminate the residual drug molecules, but will rather neutralize them by storing them in the body's fatty tissues."One of the most interesting hypotheses, and an exclusive one at that, of the Narconon program was that: "the human body does not eliminate the residual drug molecules, but will rather neutralize them by storing them in the body's fatty tissues."
Therefore, if this hypothesis is proven correct, the more we consume drugs, the more toxins will accumulate in the fatty tissues of our bodies. So, if the drug use is gradually increasing, the more likely the individual is prone to a biochemical dependence.
Not only has this hypothesis been proven to be correct, but also a natural drug detoxification method has been developed. Tested on numerous subjects, this method has been proven to be effective. This very same drug detoxification method is found in Narconon centres around the world. It allows drug addicts, previously incapable of overcoming their addictions, to completely eliminate the toxins found in their bodies, hence allowing them to defeat their biochemical dependence.
Pollution Found in Rivers
Born in Quebec at the beginning of the 1950s, I was raised in the district of Saint Sauveur, along the shores of the Saint Charles River. This river crosses the East-North-East portion of the city, to empty itself in the Saint-Lawrence River just beside the Old Quebec Harbour. The inhabitants of Quebec city will already know this, and I have witnessed the complete degradation of the area, seeing the river still swarming abundantly with fish at the beginning of the 50s turn into a complete junkyard and a true paradise for sewer rats in the 60s. Eventually, the rugged rocky shores were replaced with cement walls, thus eliminating the majority of the aquatic life. A perfect example of the effects pollution has on an aquatic environment in the long term, when neither effective nor existing pollution removal methods could stop this problem.
Before my studies in biology and ecology in fresh water environments, I couldn't fully understand the reasons behind this, but I could clearly observe that the introduction and accumulation of toxic products or chemical pollutants in the water was literally killing this river. Even though I wasn't a specialist, I could see that the aquatic environment was greatly suffering from this pollution, and most of the living organisms were dying at an alarming rate.
Pollution of the Body
It was only in 1968, during my studies at the Limoilou CEGEP, that I truly perceived the popularity of drug abuse. With this significant rise in drug use, I unfortunately assisted to the progressive destruction of my group of friends. They went from being active and sportive individuals, enjoying a beer here and there on the week-ends and succeeding relatively well in school, to a group of individuals more and more enthralled by drugs, exhibiting anti-social behaviours, dropping out of school, and constantly searching for easy money to pay for their addiction, which ultimately led them to prison or a brutal death. Once again, this is a perfect example of how pollution of the body with drug abuse, in the long run, results in disastrous effects on lives of individuals, since no existing effective drug detoxification method could help counter this problem.
Before my studies at Narconon, I didn't understand the causes of drug addiction, but I did observe that the continual usage and the increase dosage of drugs was gradually killing some of my friends. I could see that after "pot" came the hard drugs. I could see that although they only started using drugs on the week-ends, they rapidly started taking drugs every day and in greater quantities. Even if I wasn't a specialist, I could see that even with the good intentions of my friends to stop, it was impossible for them, even after the 2 or 3 drug rehabs they went through. The treatments simply didn't work.
We know that there is pollution out there, and that it isn't a good thing
As a biologist, I have been invited to numerous conferences and to participate in public audiences relating to the protection of the environment. Most of the population is aware that introducing chemical substances in the water greatly diminishes the overall quality of the aquatic habitat, and creates impacts that are increasingly noticeable. For example, in the case of acid rain, the environmental specialists knew that the melting of the glaciers in the spring resulted in an acidic shock in the lakes and rivers that are weakly mineralized. In the case of insecticides, we knew that the spraying of chemical insecticides (Matacyl ou Phenitrotion), to counteract the growing population of a specific insect like the eastern spruce budworm, exposed the fauna to toxic products. We knew that the pigsties were not only the cause of major contaminations in the natural phreatic sources, but also of several other water sources, such as rivers and streams. We knew that the pulp and paper mills cut down whole forests, and afterwards released their polluted water directly in the nearby rivers. We know that it isn't a good thing but…
We know that drugs poison the body, and that it isn't a good thing
After attending and participating in several meetings in collaboration with the local parent and community associations, or simply by conversing with various acquaintances, I realized that the general population is aware that an increase in the consumption of drugs and alcohol deteriorates the body and the ability of the individual to think clearly. This not only affects the individual, but also his family and friends. The more we abuse of the substance, the more it is difficult to stop and face the physical and mental pain associated with withdrawal. The addict always wants more, wishing to attain the effect the drug initially gave him. He enters the vicious circle of drugs and spirals downwards into a bottomless pit. We know that something is happening in the body and the mind of the individuals abusing of all these drugs.
Unless Being Directly Affected by Pollution, We Don't Care
I will always remember the public audiences held in Montreal in 1984 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel regarding the effects of acid rains in Quebec. During a break, a nice lady representing a well-known association of Canadian consumers, honestly admitted to me her opinion on the issue, "You know, the day that my little girl is going to come into the house with her hands burned by the acid rain falling from the sky, that will be the day that this problem will become important for me and the individuals that I represent."
If we are not directly affected by pollution, we just don't care! If we could look at the different environmental cases, and evaluate how many people they affect in the short term, we would obtain the overall political importance of the case. Briefly said, we will all care if it affects enough people to trigger opposition by the general population. Even in the best of political situations, nothing concise and effective could result if it is more affordable to pollute our environment.
This realization was truly difficult for me to accept. Being a concerned biologist, I constantly fought for the safekeeping of our environment, by stopping the pollution and attempting to reduce the consequences of the present pollution. These consequences are already starting to show, and they are, unfortunately, only beginning.
Before I worked at Narconon, I never really was directly interested in solving drug problems, since there was no one in my family that was affected by drug abuse or addiction. It is true that several years back some of my school friends died after abusing of drugs or ended up jail instead of being a productive member of the society. My solution, at that time, was to disconnect myself from the problem. That the success rate of existing drug detoxification methods varied from 1% to 15%, I couldn't care less. In fact, I didn't even know what the success rate was back then and it wasn't in any of my interests to know either.
At that time, there wasn't crack, crystal meth, cocaine, anti-depressants, Ritalin and Prozac, ecstasy readily available on the drug market. Today's drugs are highly addictive and pose a serious threat to millions of individuals.
Working at Narconon
When we know that our everyday job does make a difference in the lives of others, it is most gratifying. Although being a biologist and ecologist brought me a certain sense of fulfillment, I can truly say that working at Narconon showed me a whole new aspect of mutual aid. Even though I helped to save the environment to a certain extent, there was a limit to what I could accomplish without the support of the population. At Narconon, I meet with drug addicts that went through 5 or 6 drug rehabilitations and never succeeded. For them to know that they do have a chance to overcome their addiction, and to actually see them succeed, is most rewarding. By increasing awareness on the drug addiction issue and promoting a drug treatment that works, drug addicts across the world will finally have a solution to their addiction.
André Ahern BSc MSc Biology
The biologist André Ahern, BSc, MSc, of Laval University whom studied aquatic habitats and rivers across the province of Quebec for 15 years, in particular: rivière Trinité, rivière l'Assomption and rivière La Grande. He now works as a drug addiction detoxification specialist for Narconon since 2002.