The latest prescription drug to get used as an “abuse/addiction” fetish by the drug warriors is gabapentin. From an AP article:

Many doctors aren’t aware of gabapentin’s potential for abuse, particularly among those with a history of misusing drugs, said Rachel Vickers Smith of the University of Louisville.

People tracked in her research describe gabapentin as a “cheap high” that is almost “always available.”

OK … what the actual fuck? So far as I can tell, gabapentin is not only not a “cheap high,” it’s not a high at all. And I’ve been using it three times daily for several years. The back story on that:

A long time ago (circa 1990), a tie-down strap on a boat trailer broke and the tongue of the trailer hit me in the small of the back (I worked in shipping at a factory that built boat trailers). It hurt for a few days, then went away except when I did things like run for more than a mile or so.

In the late 2000-oughts, the pain went from “only when Tom runs long distances” to “even when Tom walks very far” and then “sometimes just all the time.” It got worse and better, worse and better. I generally used a cane if I knew I’d be walking much. At one point I was looking at ramp blueprints on the assumption that I would be in a wheelchair fairly soon.

Finally, I gave in and got a referral from my doctor to a spinal surgeon, who looked at the images and told me “yes, you have an old injury, with a little bit of degeneration. It should hurt, but it shouldn’t hurt nearly as much as you say it hurts. I think that it’s more a matter of referred diabetic nerve pain than pain from the injury itself.” And she prescribed gabapentin.

Miracle. Drug. Within weeks, I put the canes away. I walk several miles a day every day now, with very occasional twinges of lower back pain (usually in the morning — probably need a better mattress). I’ve even been doing a little bit of running (spurts of a quarter mile or less during my walks — I need to lose weight for that to not be too hard on my knees).

But getting high? I have never, ever, ever noticed even the slightest psychoactive effects from the drug. Or even sleepiness or anything like that.

Three clues from the same article:

Medical journal articles estimate that between 15 and 25 percent of opioid abusers also use gabapentin. And emerging research suggests combining gabapentin and opioids heightens the overdose risks.

and

Gabapentin was detected in a third of fatal overdose cases analyzed by Kentucky medical examiners in 2016.

and

Michael Polydefkis, a neurologist at John Hopkins University who primarily treats seniors with nerve pain, says he has never seen patients deliberately misuse gabapentin.

They’re finding gabapentin in the bloodstreams of people who are overdosing on opiates, particularly opiate pain medications.

Well, duh. People who overdose on opiate pain medications are overdosing on opiate pain medications BECAUSE THEY ARE IN PAIN. Apparently, in pain that neither the opiates nor the gabapentin are, at that moment and in reasonable doses, effective in fighting.

My guess is that the “cheap high” talk is along the same lines as the bananadine phenomenon or an old wives’ (young singles’?) tale that I remember hearing about in junior high school relating that one could get high just as with cocaine by grinding up aspirin and snorting it.

My guess is that the origin of that idea is some people syllogizing thusly:

  1. Opiates are effective in treating some kinds of pain;
  2. Opiates will get you high;
  3. Gabapentin is effective in treating some kinds of pain; therefore
  4. Gabapentin will get you high.
But, of course, the drug warriors and the “addiction” industry are always in dire need of new stuff to scare people with. And gabapentin happens to be next on their list of excuses for trying to run other people’s lives.

Imported from the original KN@PPSTER