Thanks to new reader swansong for tipping me off to this video of Gabor MatÃ© talking about addiction and the war on drugs:
Drawing on his experiences with drug addicted patients from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Dr. Gabor Mate discusses how the medical and legal systems are failing in the so called “war on drugs”.
It’s a long video (54 minutes) and I haven’t watched all of it yet, but what I have seen seems right. He talks about the real underlying elements that are part of addictive behavior â€” how the drug itself isn’t addictive by itself, but that there’s always some other factors, and how we all have our various addictions, taking it out of the realm of just those drugs.
Gabor is ADHD himself, which may make listening to him or reading his books difficult, yet lots of people are discovering his work and being affected by it.
Regarding his newest book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction Gabor says:
Addiction, or the capacity to become addicted, is very close to the core of the human experience. That is why almost anything can become addictive, from seemingly healthy activities such as eating or exercising to abusing drugs intended for healing. The issue is not the external target but our internal relationship to it. Addictions, for the most part, develop in a compulsive attempt to ease oneâ€™s pain or distress in the world. Given the amount of pain and dissatisfaction that human life engenders, many of us are driven to find solace in external things. The more we suffer, and the earlier in life we suffer, the more we are prone to become addicted.
The inner city drug addicts I work with are amongst the most abused and rejected people amongst us, but instead of compassion our society treats them with contempt. Instead of understanding and acceptance, we give them punishment and moral disapproval.
Reminds me somewhat of a Guitherism:
As anyone who has tried to quit smoking knows, dependence is hardest to overcome during difficult or stressful times. That must be why, when the government helps drug abusers quit, they arrest them and take away their job, possessions, and children.
It is that basis that leads to his condemnation of the war on drugs (particularly as it is waged and promoted by the U.S.).
â€œA riveting account of human cravings, this book needs to get into as many hands as possible. MatÃ©â€™s resonant, unflinching analysis of addiction today shatters the assumptions underlying our War on Drugs.â€
â€”Norm Stamper, former Seattle Chief of Police and author of Breaking Rank: A Top Copâ€™s ExposÃ© of the Dark Side of American Policing
On the heels of the extensive discussion we had recently on addiction, I think this may be an interesting viewpoint to explore.