Addiction and the Holidays: The Opioid Blame Game

Addiction and the Holidays: The Opioid Blame Game November 18, 2018

The Holidays are approaching. The relatives are gathering. The stress is escalating. How often do we pretend that addiction around the holiday dinner table is not really there and who should we truly hold accountable?  Is playing the Blame Game a wise option? How can we help?


Why are the signs and symptoms of addiction’s disruptive behaviors wrapped up in beautiful ribbon-phrases like, “It’s just their personality. They don’t have a problem. They’re just eccentric.” Or, “They are just wired differently from the rest of us and need a drink or ‘medication’ to cope.” And, “They enjoy their drinks.  Don’t make a scene. Can’t we all just get along for one day a year?”


Does it appear the tables get turned on the people who do not have the addiction?


This is part of the smoke and mirror of deflection and avoidance associated with addiction. People with addictions are master manipulators. The person with the problem can make you question your motives, judgment, and sanity in order to shift the attention away from them, so they do not have to take responsibility for behavior that controls them, and the family gathering. Their god is their addiction.


You become the bad guy for not accepting or ignoring the disruptive behavior.

My guest writer is Scott Stevens, author of five alcohol, health, and recovery books and the principal of He is a founding influencer of the world’s largest medical portal,, the Chair for Addiction Science 2018 in London, UK, and Chaired the 2018 International Conference on Addiction Therapy and Clinical Reports in Paris, France, where his latest book, Look What Dragged the Cat In was officially launched.


Scott Stevens knows where the bait-and-switch behind smoke-and-mirrors of addiction began and is here to share his knowledge with you about the Blame Game.  You may think you know, and you may be in the right church, but sitting in the wrong pew….


Blame the Opioid Maker? Right Church, Wrong Pew.


A new article appearing in VOX notes that one member of the Sackler family, longtime overseers of Purdue Pharma, is helping the treatment industry clean up what the opioid crisis cat dragged in. Richard Sackler, former president of Purdue Pharma, is listed on the patent application for a new form of buprenorphine. Buprenorphine (trade names Buprenex, Butrans, Probuphine, and Belbuca) is an opioid agonist used in the medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction. The new product is a fast-dissolving wafer, designed to keep those administered the dose from cheeking the medication and sharing/selling it.

On the one hand, ‘Shouldn’t we be applauding ANY help going to those who need it?’ is the easy question. That question is buried under the emotion of a very traumatic crisis, however. One editorial on the article went so far as to call Sackler the ‘devil incarnate,’ And the spin on the article is that Purdue helped spawn the opioid crisis with its drug, OxyContin, and Stackler made bank on that drug and now seeks to profit from cleaning up the mess.

Not so fast. OxyContin and Purdue are not the drug makers that created this crisis. The drug-makers that created this crisis, every crisis before it, and the crises emerging now, are not in the pharmaceutical industry.


The drug makers who have groomed us for drug use, drug abuse, and drug addiction make the gateway drug- alcohol.

Two-thirds of drug abusers identify alcohol as the first drug they used, according to an American Addiction Centers 2018 survey. The rest of us learned to take drugs from our cultural acceptance and endorsement of drug use aka drinking. What we ignore, we permit, what we permit, we condone.

The blame-game, legislation, lawsuits, etc. target Big Pharma, sketchy doctors, China, and dope dealers.


Right church, wrong pew.


Look What Dragged the Cat In details how the opioid crisis (spoiler: it’s a crisis, not an epidemic) really emerged (spoiler: it wasn’t the Sacklers) and how we can use the tragedy of this crisis to prevent the next one.


Holidays are filled with joy… and stress. Stress from reconnecting with family is part of the package. But, addition fuels the fires of stress. So what is a person to do to help an addicted loved-one? What kind of gift do you get someone who only wants what is responsible for their addiction? Get them help.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration known as SAMHSA’s has a National Helpline that is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. SAMHSA also has a Treatment Referral Routing Service, or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 which is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information. For more information on how to help someone with an addiction problem call the number provided above. Also, visit the online treatment locators.

For the Holidays choose not to get caught up in the Blame Game. Educate yourself first so you can successfully help your addicted loved ones find the assistance they need even if it means starting with a family holiday intervention. Perhaps that intervention followed by treatment can be your loving gift to them for the Holidays- The Gift of Life.


It has been my great pleasure to have Scott Stevens as my guest writer on Patheos, and I invite Scott to return in the near future to share more of his research and insights with us on addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Below, for your viewing pleasure is an exclusive LIVE Video Podcast Interview of Scott Stevens discussing these issues and solutions in depth on the Kat Kanavos Show. Please enjoy the show.


About Kathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos: VIDEO Podcaster, three-time Breast Cancer Survivor, and Dream Expert seen on Dr. Oz, DOCTORS, NBC, & CBS. Her Divine Dreams diagnose her illness. Kat and Duke U Dr. Larry Burk co-wrote, Dreams That Can Save Your Life. She’s a Syndicated Columnist, TV Producer/Host and award-winning Author/Lecturer who promotes patient advocacy and connecting with Divine-guidance through Dreams. “Don’t tell God how big your problems are. Tell your problems how big your God is.” Learn more @



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National Helpline | Samhsa – Substance Abuse And Mental ..,

Look What Dragged the Cat In;

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