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Thu Jan 22, 2015, 03:05 AM

 

The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think (HuffPo)

(cross-posted from GD)

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned - and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction, by our teachers, and by our governments. This story is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we take it for granted. It seems obvious. It seems manifestly true. Until I set off three and a half years ago on a 30,000-mile journey for my book 'Chasing The Scream - The First And Last Days of the War on Drugs' to figure out what is really driving the drug war, I believed it too. But what I learned on the road is that almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong - and there is a very different story waiting for us, if only we are ready to hear it.

If we truly absorb this new story, we will have to change a lot more than the drug war. We will have to change ourselves.

I learned it from an extraordinary mixture of people I met on my travels. From the surviving friends of Billie Holiday, who helped me to learn how the founder of the war on drugs stalked and helped to kill her. From a Jewish doctor who was smuggled out of the Budapest ghetto as a baby, only to unlock the secrets of addiction as a grown man. From a transsexual crack dealer in Brooklyn who was conceived when his mother, a crack-addict, was raped by his father, an NYPD officer. From a man who was kept at the bottom of a well for two years by a torturing dictatorship, only to emerge to be elected President of Uruguay and to begin the last days of the war on drugs.

snip

There is an alternative. You can build a system that is designed to help drug addicts to reconnect with the world - and so leave behind their addictions.

This isn't theoretical. It is happening. I have seen it. Nearly fifteen years ago, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe, with 1 percent of the population addicted to heroin. They had tried a drug war, and the problem just kept getting worse. So they decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs, and transfer all the money they used to spend on arresting and jailing drug addicts, and spend it instead on reconnecting them - to their own feelings, and to the wider society. The most crucial step is to get them secure housing, and subsidized jobs - so they have a purpose in life, and something to get out of bed for. I watched as they are helped, in warm and welcoming clinics, to learn how to reconnect with their feelings, after years of trauma and stunning them into silence with drugs.

snip

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addicti_b_6506936.html


ymmv, I haven't read it all, but it seems interesting,,,

5 replies, 3159 views

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Reply The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think (HuffPo) (Original post)
Electric Monk Jan 2015 OP
Old Codger Jan 2015 #1
smirkymonkey Nov 2015 #2
notawinger Mar 2016 #3
liberalla Mar 2016 #4
Jemmons Mar 2016 #5

Response to Electric Monk (Original post)

Thu Jan 22, 2015, 10:03 AM

1. I have held

 

The position for many years that a crucial part of any attempt to make any type of "war" on drugs must include large scale assistance of some sort to help users kick the habits and become useful citizens...

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Response to Electric Monk (Original post)

Wed Nov 11, 2015, 08:47 PM

2. +1000

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Response to Electric Monk (Original post)

Thu Mar 3, 2016, 12:12 AM

3. Addiction

If it were only that simple.

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Response to Electric Monk (Original post)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 06:30 AM

4. bookmarking to read later

looks interesting - thanks!

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Response to Electric Monk (Original post)

Tue Mar 29, 2016, 03:17 AM

5. "Loving an addict is really hard"

This is a significant part of the conundrum of addiction, but it might not work to the effect that Johann Hari imagines.

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