Claremore Daily Progress

September 14, 2011

Drug education director addresses Rotarians

Tom Fink
Staff Writer

CLAREMORE — Claremore Rotarians yesterday were visited by drug rehabilitation expert John Bitinas with Narconon, offering personal and candid truths about himself and about drug addiction.

“What Narconon is primarily, is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, where people from all over the world come to get off of drugs,” Bitinas began. “I’m originally from Massachusetts, but about six years ago, I came to Oklahoma to go through this program as I used to have a problem with drugs — Narconon pretty much saved my life.

“I started using (drugs) when I was 7 years old,” he said. “I was told by my teachers and my counselor that I couldn’t sit still, and was diagnosed with ADD. I was then put on a drug called Ritalin. I was 7 and I was told I had to be put on a drug to be normal — at 7. I didn’t question this, but there are a lot of drugs out there. There’s alcohol, which I started drinking at 12, there’s marijuana when I was 14, and it just got worse.

“What I do (for Narconon) is travel around the country and speak to business organizations, civic groups and schools about the devastating truths of drug abuse,” he said. “Having lived through it myself, I can speak from a much more personal point of view. I talk about what drugs do to a person’s life and how there are really only three outcomes to drug addiction — prison, death, or sobriety. I’m blessed to be in the latter category.”

Much of the behavioral motivation behind drug addictions, according to Bitinas, involves problems and people’s inability to deal with them.

“At the bottom of every addiction is a problem in a person’s life that they don’t want to look at,” he said. “A problem is essentially an intention versus a counter-intention, or something that keeps them from doing it which creates confusion or misunderstanding.

“Every day, each of us has problems that we encounter and to deal with them, we have to formulate solutions,” he said. “The question becomes, how does a person go from having a problem in life to using drugs or alcohol as the solution to our problem? Here’s how — we live in a society where oftentimes, we’re desensitized to drugs; we see them on television, in the movies, we probably know people who use drugs or alcohol. There are often pro-drug or pro-alcohol influences in our lives, so when a person uses a drug to address or deal with a problem its use usually makes them feel better (about the problem). So they assign the drug a value, and when they encounter the problem, they’re increasingly likely to use the drug to deal with the problem — it can increasingly become their solution.

“But when drug addiction develops, a person uses that solution over and over and over again to the point that that instead of the solution, it soon becomes the problem,” he said.

Bitinas then discussed the physiological affects of drugs, particularly drug addiction, and the difficulty involved in detoxification and the return to sobriety.

Bitinas then answered questions from the audience before making available information regarding drug addiction and Narconon.