[Paleopsych] addiction

Michael Christopher anonymous_animus at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 22 21:47:04 UTC 2004

>>In considering US culture and rules... the
experience of well-meaning disempowered parents living
in the ghetto... seeing their children's potential
ripped away by criminals they are helpless to fight,
right in front of their front door... demands
attention here and now more than the experience of the
anthropologist in the rain forest. At least so far as
cocaine is concerned.<<

-Not to mention the loss of life and potential from
alcohol abuse and tobacco. But dealing with drugs by
"getting tough" on dealers and users only adds a layer
of confusion to what should be a health issue. Obesity
kills, but we don't ban unhealthy foods, we try to
deal with it through education and voluntary
counselling. Cocaine is dangerous, but the drug war
only leads users to steal to support an expensive
habit and dealers to execute "street justice" against
rivals. We need to start looking at addiction in all
its facets, from obesity to alcohol/tobacco to
cocaine, and find ways to treat addiction without
resorting to expensive and futile "wars". 

An addiction is generally less harmful than the
culture that goes with the illegality of the
substance. When alcohol was banned by law, an
underground trade developed, complete with gang wars
and other baggage that made treating alcohol addiction
as a health issue more difficult. We're better off
with the 12 step approach, and we'll be even better
off when new drugs are discovered to counter addiction
without pain. That goes for cocaine as well.

In our society, a mindset is emerging that is truly
frightening, based on the idea that "something must be
done, and no excess is too excessive in responding to
evil." Emotional frustration is taking precedence over
solid research and logical thinking. We will further
complicate already difficult problems by engaging in
such "good vs. evil" polarization. We did it with
alcohol prohibition, and we know where that led. We
must repeat history, perhaps, to learn what works and
what does not.


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