Scapegoating drugs for society’s problems is becoming increasingly difficult thanks to researchers who study childhood distress and how it affects a person’s adult life. Trauma has emerged as a leading culprit contradicting the claim that marijuana use leads to opioid addictions. A recent study from the University of Barcelona notes that:
“…children and adolescents who have suffered child maltreatment by adults show alterations, in early stages of life, in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), one of the main biological mechanisms of stress regulation […]
…The study shows that, in those subjects who had been exposed to child maltreatment for a longer period of time, there was greater dysfunction in the HPA axis, regardless of the severity of the experiences they had suffered. […]
And from Ohio State University:
… new research suggests that those with substance misuse issues as adults may have had particularly difficult childhoods…scores assessing childhood trauma exposure among adults with substance misuse issues were 24% higher than previous estimates for other adults in the child welfare system, and 108% higher than the general population.
Not surprisingly, children in these families also have suffered more trauma. […]
And from the University of Exeter:
Experiences of childhood trauma (abuse and neglect) are disproportionately higher in those with opioid use disorder (OUD). Childhood trauma may affect the reinforcing and rewarding properties of opioid drugs and responses to pain, potentially via developmental changes to the endogenous opioid system. […]
The trauma group reported liking the effects of morphine, feeling more euphoric and wanting more of the drug over the session, as well as feeling less nauseous, dizzy, and dislike of the effects of morphine compared to the non-trauma comparison group. Morphine increased pain threshold and tolerance, yet this did not differ between the groups. Childhood trauma may therefore sensitise individuals to the pleasurable and motivational effects of opioids and reduce sensitivity to the negative effects, providing compelling evidence for individual differences in opioid reward sensitivity. This may explain the link between childhood trauma and vulnerability to OUD, with consequent implications on interventions for OUD, the prescribing of opioids, and reducing stigmas surrounding OUD. […]
Excuses for foisting a war onto people due to their drug of choice presume the behavior is a vice meriting the severest punishments. It appears arresting and jailing people for drug use is considered simpler and more cost-effective than compensating or treating each individual for a screwed-up childhood. Prohibition is made the path of least resistance for certain politicians and law enforcement officials who fail to view science or medical technology as posing viable alternatives to the traumatizing brute force of arrests and incarceration.