Substance abuse

Discuss those "what if" or "what would you do" scenarios you've been wondering about.

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Substance abuse

Post by Votolom » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:13 pm

So after a "SHTF" event. Things will be out of sorts. What do you do with friends/familey going thru withdrawals? Even your own time to time vices. Smoking,drinking...whatever. Not to mention meds. Diabetics need sugar/insulin, heck hay fever. Hard to hide from zombies when your sneezing your head off.

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Re: Substance abuse

Post by The Highwayman » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:28 pm

That's a hard question to answer, with many variables involved. Like- what substance/s are they withdrawing from? How long have they been on it/them? How long since they last partook? What type of constitution (mental/physical/spiritual strength) do they have? What outside experiences have they gone thru (ie- experienced violence, witnessed a loved ones death,- really a million possibilities)

Not trying to be a dick, but it's a really difficult question to come up with any kind of answer to, with so many variables. Come up with a few likely scenarios, and I'll give it a shot....(totally NOT an expert per se, but have had more than my share of episodes with friends/family/acquaintances....)
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by Votolom » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:49 pm

I used to be a substance abuse counselor. Some people can go nuts with out what they feel they need. Any givin situation where someone that you cant just ditch and have to deal with them. say family member A have had a long life of drinking now theres no booz. Withdrawl from alcohol can be a difficult if not fatal in a extream circumstance. Would you give up valuble B.O.B. space for packs of smokes and alcohol? I have seen some threads about packing some just for trade.

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Re: Substance abuse

Post by Electricity » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:18 pm

I'm a pretty heavy smoker, I keep several extra packs in my bag. I guess I plan on conserving as much as possible. And eventually trading for more.
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by Chef » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:22 pm

I guess the bottom line with this, as with any other baggage one might be taking into a disaster, is: "If you have a pre-existing problem, be aware of it and be prepared to deal with it."
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:55 pm

Well, I know my fiancee and I would be ready to snap without cigarettes, but EVENTUALLY, the withdrawal would subside, and hey- you can get used to darn near anything. Other than smoking, my only other vice is caffeine. I could deal with one addiction at a time, as I would have coffee packed in my BOB, hopefully enough to outlast the smoking withdrawal. If I had to go without both, I think I'd be LOOKING for zombies, just as an outlet. I'd have to beat up something, lol.

Regarding others with addictions- well, any SERIOUS addiction, like alcohol or drugs, I don't see my inviting anyone with these problems into my little bug out group in the first place. Anyone I'd consider involving, I already know well enough to be aware of any vices they'd have.

Folks needing medications, I'd try to have them prepping with this need in mind, even making room in my own gear for extra meds if need be. Regardless of how much insulin you bring, there's going to be a rather finite limit on how long you can make it last, and when it's gone, it's probably gone for good. A diabetic in my group should (and would, I hope) be prepping with this in mind as well. Diabetes can be controlled a bit in some cases through diet, but as far as I know, that's certainly not a perfect answer- if it was, they wouldn't need insulin in the first place. Other medical conditions requiring medication would have to be prepped for as best as possible by the person with the condition- I think they should be responsible for making sure there's enough of THEIR medication. I'll provide room for it, like I said, but I'm not going out and scoring the medications for them. Not only is it not my responsibility, it would be illegal.

I think making each member of the group responsible for their own medical conditions (where applicable- I wouldn't make an amputee prep for possible complications with his wheelchair) is the best approach. Unless you happen to be a medical professional, and I'm not, even obtaining most of the required items would be expensive and possibly illegal. Prescription meds, for example- illegal for me to get someone else's stuff as a prep.

Anyone "coming off" their addiction had better be ready to sweat it out as quietly as possible, myself included. Being already on edge because of zombies, and then adding in irritability from an addiction rearing it's ugly head, well, that's no way to be involved in a group, if you're looking for harmony. I could see all sorts of internal problems arising.
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by DarkAxel » Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:08 am

It has been my experience that addicts are the most unreliable when they are detoxing (especially during the first week). I'll split my response up into three categories: Hardcore drugs (like meth, Oxycontin, and heroin), recreational drugs (like marijuana and alcohol), and mainstream drugs (like nicotine, caffeine, and non-narcotic prescription drugs).

Hardcore Drugs - Addicts of these drugs are mostly physically and mentally addicted. These users are the most likely to rob, steal, or kill to get a fix. Everything else is secondary to their quest for a buzz. These folks might be temporarily sated by drugs like alcohol and weed, but they WILL betray ANYONE to get their drug of choice if the opportunity presents itself. These people require the most watching and mental/physical care and restraint. In the PAW it might be necessary to physically restrain them to keep them from endangering the group's survival.

Recreational Drugs - Alcoholism has complications similar to HCDUs (HardCore Drug Users), although it may be possible to step loved ones down with controlled doses. If the person is a functional drunk (someone who's alcoholism doesn't significantly impede their survival instinct), then extra booze or the knowledge on how to brew or distill could help them. The truly bad-off low-bottom drunks need as much attention as HCDUs. Weed is not physically addictive (according to most studies), though psychological dependency is common. A pothead might require a little extra support and monitoring. Most potheads I know are completely functional without the drug.

Mainstream drugs - This is the category with the largest number of variables. For caffeine addicts, wean them off of the drug or be prepared with plenty of analgesics and mood stabilizers. There are several varieties of freeze-dried coffee that can keep them sated while you slowly wean them from their addiction. Tobacco users are best prepped for by keeping a supply of cigarettes, nicotine patches and gum, and regular gum/candy. Nicotine addiction has a physical and psychological component. Cold Turkey deals with both at the same time. A tobacco user going cold turkey will be very disruptive, agitated, and hard to get along with while detoxing. IMHO, keeping a tobacco user distracted and giving them a positive direction while they are detoxing is the best method. Gum and patches deal with the physical aspect while allowing addicts to deal with the psychological aspects, and can be stepped down. Users of regular, non-narcotic prescription drugs belong in another category altogether.


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Re: Substance abuse

Post by Votolom » Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:37 am

I had to deal with a lot of hardcore drug users while I was counseling. People who have started drugs from 7 years old non stop till there in there 50+ will be a hard pressed detoxing. even weed can for people be hard to give up. heck just watching "border wars" catching 12 year old kids with packs of weed duct taped to there body smuggling tells you what people will do to sell/use. The thing about detox and geting a person "clean" is that they could go months and then be triggered into needing the substance again. If you have members in your group that are now cleaan and then a trader comes by your compound or what ever and they have alcohol and illegal drug. you could be starting all over again. Thou I'd think that if you had to go threw this once with someone It should be clear that if they did seek out substances there would be consequences.

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Re: Substance abuse

Post by BiteVictimOne » Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:29 am

I have had my own battles with addiction (someone fueled by choice, others by what was suppose to be a necessity) and both sides of my family have lost people to that started out as recreational only to become fatal. There is not much you can do other than try to lessen the dependency, keep them distracted as withdrawal is a living hell where there is a constant reminder that something can remove the discomfort and hope that once they are clean that is the end of it. Though for someone who actually still needs the substance they are addicted to the matter becomes all that much worse because without some viable replacement whatever the medication was treating becomes an untreated problem and that is never good.

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Re: Substance abuse

Post by sql_yoda » Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:46 am

I don't think I could survive without a minimal supply of baclofen... that isn't an addiction thing, it's a body thing. I could probably get along for many years by wearing a diaper or external catheter and doing without the incontinence medication, but there's no way I'd survive long without antispasmodics. I'd not be able to even sit still for the two minutes required to write a forum post, and we all know how vital that would be in SHTF scenario. Also it's pretty hard to hide from zombies when your legs are kicking the bush you're hiding behind without your consent.

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Re: Substance abuse

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:13 pm

sql_yoda wrote:I don't think I could survive without a minimal supply of baclofen... that isn't an addiction thing, it's a body thing. I could probably get along for many years by wearing a diaper or external catheter and doing without the incontinence medication, but there's no way I'd survive long without antispasmodics. I'd not be able to even sit still for the two minutes required to write a forum post, and we all know how vital that would be in SHTF scenario. Also it's pretty hard to hide from zombies when your legs are kicking the bush you're hiding behind without your consent.
True dat. Imagine people with implantable baclofen pumps in the PAW. However, I knew a guy that literally used a single red rubber catheter (I think it was a Rob-Nel) for 3-4 months at a time. The same one. He washed it out really well in the sink after each use. Never got infections. I think he may have been partially continent and used it only twice a day, I don't remember.

Did you know Ben Franklin invented the urine catheter? Apparently he had a raging prostate later in life.
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by Shadow_Man » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:50 pm

Unfortunately there will be a HUGE thinning of the "herd" in the PAW. Drug, medication, treatment dependent people will fall by the wayside as there will not be the time and materials available to sustain them. Sad but true. Another consideration is that many of the medications that we depend upon but don't even think about would not be available...Antibiotics, Hypertensives, diabetics, even aspirin will be virtually impossible to find. Imagine that the slightest infection could be fatal! :shock: Strep Throat...leads to Scarlet Fever and can lead to Rheumatic Fever and permanent heart damage! A slight wound could end up being fatal. Remember that there are no pharmacies, no hospitals, no emergency rooms....nada, nothing.
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by SeerSavant » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:54 pm

I am about down to five smokes a day. But my wife has degenerative disc disease, and has had two fusions of her spine already.

The pain killers run out, I plan on growing some.... Herbal supplements to take their place.

This is not to start an argument, simply the facts. I refuse to watch her in pain...

That's all I gotta say about it.
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by Murph » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:05 pm

Kick your habits now. *shrug*
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:11 pm

Murph wrote:Kick your habits now. *shrug*
Yeah, all you diabetics quit using that insulin, so you can toughen up for the PAW. :lol:
Seriously, it IS sound advice, but easier said than done. One good thing, maybe the ONLY good thing, about the increasing prices of cigarettes here is that I've cut down quite a bit, and hope to cut down even further.
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by Shadow_Man » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:14 pm

I quit smoking over eighteen years ago. Alcohol has never been a factor in my life but I do know how to brew beer, wine and distill alcohol - though I was planning on it's use more for a fuel and medicinal purposes than direct consumption. However...I'm sure in a total PAW there would be a call for sipping whiskey or "Shine" as a trade item.

On another note I am planting both culinary and medicinal herb gardens and learning how to make tinctures, unguents, salves and essential oils from various cultivated plants as well and "wild crafted" Thinking outside the box will be essential survival skills when the SHTF. As far as "herbal" medicinals I see absolutely nothing wrong with appropriate use of such "tools of the trade" properly utilized for actual treatment of medical conditions. Personally...the last thing you'd want to be in a real life PAW situation is either drunk or stoned.
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by leatherheadskin » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:05 pm

Well my 2 cents here it goes...I am an iddm , I take insulin, I have enough to get my family to safety and set up . After just over a month I would go into DKA and probably die. Knowing this is reality I have prepared to the best of my ability. My 7 y/o son knows how to use most everything in all our bugout gear/bov's and can help my wife with our 3 y/o. I am a realist and have prepared for these times to come. hopefully they don't , but if they do my family has a chance. As far as addicts go , in a shtf situation, well once they start to withdraw they will require a huge amount of time and caretaking. possibly running you out of medical supplies, stealing , slowing you down, and just plain drawing way to much attention to your group. If you have not been around someone going through DT's it can be very ugly,scary, and violent possibly deadly. So imo leave drug/alcohol addicts behind..
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by SeerSavant » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:34 am

Well my 2 cents here it goes...I am an iddm , I take insulin, I have enough to get my family to safety and set up . After just over a month I would go into DKA and probably die. Knowing this is reality I have prepared to the best of my ability. My 7 y/o son knows how to use most everything in all our bugout gear/bov's and can help my wife with our 3 y/o. I am a realist and have prepared for these times to come. hopefully they don't , but if they do my family has a chance. As far as addicts go , in a shtf situation, well once they start to withdraw they will require a huge amount of time and caretaking. possibly running you out of medical supplies, stealing , slowing you down, and just plain drawing way to much attention to your group. If you have not been around someone going through DT's it can be very ugly,scary, and violent possibly deadly. So imo leave drug/alcohol addicts behind..
My wife had a few weeks between insurance without her meds, and it was hard. I'm glad your prepping you family for the inevitable, but have you considered some kind of substitute, I know little about insulin except for the need for refrigeration and the severe limited quantities that actually exist. I did find an interesting article that debated the validity of the end result in the book "One Second After"
http://www.medicalcorps.org/insulin-storage.htm

The other thing I would consider is going to your family doctor and asking or better giving him a scenario and asking him/her what things you can do to prepare.
All odds go towards limited SHTF scenarios, but I would think that you could last a year, minimum, as a severe diabetic if you plan for it.
Not an expert, but I hope you don't have to go thru it or put your family through such a thing...

With my wife it's basically a matter of pain control and hoping the stenosis doesn't impact the nervous system too badly over time. Course her doc told her she'd be in a wheelchair in less than five years... Nearly 12 years ago. She can still outpace me on any decent hike... Doc doesn't know how she does it, I think it's simply pure stubborness...
She's a tough broad, I think I'll keep her...

When she began having trouble racking the slide on her colt and using the bolt action, we switched to a pump action rifle, as well as a lighter guage shotgun, and were gonna look at some revolvers when I order my new rifle.
We adapt, we adjust, we plan and we prepare...

But most importantly, we don't let anything keep us from enjoying life...


As far as the addicts, if i'm in a pharmacy in a SHTF scenario looking for pain meds for my wife and some junkie is looking for a high...
I got my priorities.... And I'm armed.
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by Stercutus » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:40 am

This is odd. The thread went from "substance abuse" to "medicines necessary to live" without much of a murmur.

On the original topic I would say that stockpiling alcohol for trade is an awful idea. Once an alcoholic found out that you had alcohol he/ she would do whatever it took to get it from you, even if they otherwise had food, water and other requirements met. The security at liquor stores is not just for looks you know. Other drugs would be even worse. Seems every day one of the "medical marijuana" clinics gets robbed or broken in to in normal times. If anyone found out that you had any of their favorite drug during PAW you might as well paint a big target on your ass, because someone surely will come to try to get it for themselves.

Saving up some alcohol for family members alcoholics is also a terrible idea. If they found out you had horded alcohol pre-PAW they would steal and drink it till it was gone. If they found out post-PAW they would make a bee-line for your place. No matter how much you saved they would drink as much of it as possible until it is all gone. Then they will dry out for a few days before going on a quest to find more. But you will have to deal with a drunk inside the wire and Zombies outside the wire until then so why bother?

Growing marijuana for medicinal use (if legal in your area) I can possibly see, as long as you did not tell a soul. If you told anyone, word would get out and then you would have them breaking into your place at all hours of the day and night.

Medicines you need to stay alive are another story. The truth is if insulin ever became unavailable most insulin dependent diabetics will die the hard way shortly there after. I say this with a heavy heart as I have a niece and other family members who are diabetic. But it is a fact of life. Certain other medications too. I don't know of any diabetic that actually "likes" taking insulin so this is not "substance abuse" issue anyway. I have heard tales of diabetics stopping taking their insulin and living on for years. But I have never actually seen someone like that so I am guessing it would be a real rarity.
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by SeerSavant » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:49 am

If anyone found out that you had any of their favorite drug during PAW you might as well paint a big target on your ass, because someone surely will come to try to get it for themselves.
That can also apply to food weapons ammo, whatever you have that they don't.

That's were the argument of who you tell and who you don't, comes in to play.

If found out, that's when you have to defend or be robbed.

It's a potentially harsh reality, but Zombies aside, the most frightening aspect of a SHTF scenario is those who believe that all things should be shared, regardless of thought to why preppers have and others don't.

Remember the Ant and the Grasshopper tale? Well, before the ending was softened for modern sensibilities, (Like most of the Grimm fairy tales, damn you disney!) The Grasshopper was warned, then turned away...
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by AdamRadam » Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:21 am

The British Navy gave there sailors a pint of rum a day (i think thats the right amount?) for hundreds of years. Why? because water doesnt keep well stored. Also it was used as reward, or a punshment (extra, or none at all). Also someone slightly buzzed would run into the rigging with out hesitating. Therefore someone slightly drunk could see zombies, not a reanimated aquantance, and act appropratly without heasitating.

Booze as a leadership tool as well as trade item?

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Re: Substance abuse

Post by Stercutus » Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:11 am

That can also apply to food weapons ammo, whatever you have that they don't.

That's were the argument of who you tell and who you don't, comes in to play.

If found out, that's when you have to defend or be robbed.
People with addictions behave in differently and to a much greater detriment to themselves and to other people than than someone trying to find some food and get by. It does not really matter if the addiction is physical such alcohol or some other drug, or psychological such as pot as addiction does not involve rational choice. Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. This is reflected in the individual pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other negative behaviors.

Nearly all illegal drug dealers are armed for a reason. They and their clients are already breaking the law and breaking a few more might not matter to them. Many addicts to hard drugs commit other crimes to support their habits and are familiar with the law and legal system.

Sure the threat is elevated if you have slightly more of a limited resources than others in a bad situation but a raider will look elsewhere for resources since they will be more widely available than say alcohol or drugs. The person is more likely to make a rational choice.

Alcohol has it's uses PAW, but I'd sooner trade arms than drugs or alcohol. At least people would know that I still had plenty to go around.
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by squinty » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:16 am

What Murph said. This is a site about preparation right? Staying hooked on a dangerous or impairing substance is the opposite of preparing. It's a way to put your head in the sand instead of coping with present day, immediate challenges - and if you can't cope with the world right now, you have way more urgent concerns than disaster prep. Your life's already a disaster. The first prep you should make is managing your addiction now. Go to rehab, join a twelve step program, seek help.

If you're close to a person who is badly addicted to drugs or alcohol, and seems unwilling to help themselves, perhaps your preparations should include intervening now, before the apocalypse, or separating yourself from that person before they ruin your life along with their own, now, instead of waiting for some external disaster to force your hand.

If you've done neither, and disaster strikes, how do you deal with people who are incapacitated and can't fend for themselves in the PAW because of a raging addiction or withdrawal? On a case by case basis - same as people who didn't prepare in other ways, too - like people who are starving 'cause they didn't stock food, do you share your stock with them or cut them loose? Can't walk out of the disaster zone 'cause they're unfit - do you carry them? Stay in harm's way to care for them? Cold Turkey in the PAW will suck beyond belief, but that's what will have to happen. If I have the resources (food, meds, water and shelter to spare) then I help them through it. If I don't, they are on their own. Either way they'll either survive the withdrawal and start taking care of themselves or they'll die. The Apocalypse won't be a warm nurturing place.

That said, my own preps include coffee and other caffeine sources, and when they run low I'll be in a fix myself. Guess I should cut down now...
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Re: Substance abuse

Post by Tater Raider » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:23 am

Votolom wrote:So after a "SHTF" event. Things will be out of sorts. What do you do with friends/familey going thru withdrawals? Even your own time to time vices. Smoking,drinking...whatever. Not to mention meds. Diabetics need sugar/insulin, heck hay fever. Hard to hide from zombies when your sneezing your head off.
KnightoftheRoc wrote:
Murph wrote:Kick your habits now. *shrug*
Yeah, all you diabetics quit using that insulin, so you can toughen up for the PAW. :lol:
Seriously, it IS sound advice, but easier said than done. One good thing, maybe the ONLY good thing, about the increasing prices of cigarettes here is that I've cut down quite a bit, and hope to cut down even further.
Let us get one thing clear right here, right now.

I take drugs due to a medical condition. While a couple of them are habit forming, I am not addicted to them. I take them not to be able to function but in order to live.

If you take insulin, you are not an addict; you do have a medical condition requiring medicine. You need to address that in your preps. You should address it before you address anything else in my opinion because diebetic shock, asthma, hypertension, and a whole host of other ailments kill people. Your stash of ammo won't prevent a heart attack.

You folk that are not recognizing that people on prescrition drugs to survive need them to live and lumping them in with addicts scare the crap out of me and I want you no where near me when SHTF. Seriously.
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Shadow Man, I agree with the thinning of the herd, as nature don't forgive. I have some meds set back, sure, but I am going to have to come off them if they aren't making more and that could easily kill me but you play with the cards you are dealt. What concerns me more are the meth-heads (to name one addiction) who have abused the drug to the point of damaging their mental health (it don't take much) suddenly being cut off from their supply. Sociopath doesn't begin to describe how out of their head they will be.

People on psycotropic medications are a whole other issue PAW. We (I am one of these and have admitted as much before privately) fall under the need catagory but act like the addict withdrawing. And before anyone asks, it is nobodys business what my specific illness is, but I admit to PTSD.


I am not getting into an argument on smoking ZPAW. I will state that 1 October 2010 is my quit date, if I ain't dead by then, in small part, and I do mean small, because it has become part of my preps (I do not want to stockpile smokes or grow tobacco). I do not know how well I will do but I'm hoping for the best and going into it with eyes open. If I get quit that's great and if I don't that's fine too. I'll deal with that when I get there. I'll either be a smoker or an ex-smoker but I'll never be a non-smoker and that's how addiction works.


EtA: Yeah, I'm more than a bit twitchy on the topic of addictions and medical conditions and people confusing the two. If my sensitivity to the subject offends... sorry, but that's how I earnestly feel.
Last edited by Tater Raider on Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

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