They gave me the cure in the middle of the night. Cold eyes, warm hands. The cure came prepackaged. They hadn't opened it before they got into my room. Perhaps it spoilt quickly once released, or perhaps they were as much in awe of this compound, this product, this outcome, as the junkie community was.
The cure. Prepackaged release from addiction. Guaranteed. What legions of quacks, doctors and well meaning entrepreneurs had been selling, promising, testing for forty years was now available, without any of the risks, side-effects or negative outcomes that we had come to expect from a product that offered deliverance from such a frightful adversary.
Apparently dope had gotten to the point where the disease and the sufferer were viewed as one. A junkie (as the term had been coined to describe one suffering from opiate necessity) used to be viewed with scorn, distaste and a raft of other negative descriptors. Due to the low success in treatment, society had conveniently blamed the addict for not getting better.
"They get what they deserve" was a common muttering you could hear as heads turned away from the feeble human wreck on the footpath. Although this was akin to shunning the 1/50 of a percent of children who did not respond to antibiotics like penicillin, the wider medical establishment did not publicise this fact. Who likes to publicise their failures? Better to blame the individual was the prevailing attitude.
If your child was one of the 1/50 of a percent who could not take penicillin, would you have accepted the doctors' explanation that "Jimmy wasn't trying hard enough" and make Jimmy attend a psychological rehabilitation workshop to help him understand that his body should like penicillin?
For that's what the options were back then. The most successful treatment programs were substitution where the junkie gave up a moderately addictive illegal drug in exchange for a more addictive, longer lasting synthetic opiate that was legal. A drug developed by the Nazis in response to lack of supply of morphine.
A drug the Nazis refused to give to their soldiers, preferring them to die in front of cannon fire rather than getting hooked on methadone. Ed-14 Oct 2009 - not sure as to veracity of that last statement.
So the cure came in, it was applied to me, and I was cured. End of story. I settled down and became an accountant after that, but that's another story...