Programming note

An ominous-sounding tweet from CBS and NIDA:

#60Minutes TONIGHT: Dr. Nora Volkow says the effect of drugs on the brain impacts our ability to have free will.
Retweeted by NIDAnews

That’s the kind of talk that leads to the government saying “Since, by our definition, you no longer have free will, we are free to impose ours on you.”

No thanks.

I’ll take my chances on maintaining my free will against the lure of drugs and McDonald’s arches versus losing my free will to the likes of Nora Volkow.

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12 Responses to Programming note

  1. Francis says:

    We have to cage drug users in order to keep them free. I sometimes think Orwell lacked imagination.

  2. strayan says:

    The idea that certain ‘addictive’ drugs are able to rob you of your free will is nonsense. No one would be able to quit smoking if they did. Look how many people have – millions. No need to ‘threaten’ smokers with jail-time either.

    • Peter says:

      in my experience for some people some of the time that is true. free will can be superceded by craving. the question is why people like volkov see jail as the answer for those addicted to just one set of substances, while the rest just get a superior kind of hand-wringing from busy bodies like volkov (by the way, does she remind anyone of dr strangelove?)

      • Duncan20903 says:


        But Peter, she’s arguing that it’s always true.

        Her argument is built on the presumption that the human brain is perfect in it’s design. Recently I read about a scientist who claimed to have technology enabling him to see and count neuroreceptors. He claimed that using this technology that he was able to determine that chronic use of cannabis resulted in up to 20% reduction of his subjects CB-1 receptors. He portrayed this as a bad thing. His entire assertion seemed built on the premise that more is better. So much so that he didn’t seem to even consider that having too many CB-1 receptors might be a problem. White blood cells are essential to keep a person alive but there sure as heck are diseases which cause the white blood cell count to increase to levels which even kills some people. Leukocytosis is not a good thing. This all presuming that the researcher isn’t totally full of shit in his claim that he can count CB-1 receptors, but that doesn’t seem to be too farfetched. On the other hand so many so called experts have been exposed as frauds when it comes to negative science about cannabis that we certainly can’t discount the possibility that his assertions are bald faced lies or half truths.

        Oh yeah, how many of her brain scan subjects were in a coma at the time of the test? Did Ms. Volkow have any involvement in the infamous brain scan of a 12 year cannabis user which got so much publicity in the 1990s until a doctor noticed that it was the brain scan of a person in a coma and pulled the rug out from under the propaganda mongers? Perhaps one of the most famous pieces of half truth that the prohibitionists have used.
        Peter, I’ve been meaning to ask you a question. Isn’t one of the primary requisites for a person suffering from “addiction” a strong desire to quit, but the inability to make that happen? Phrased differently, can an “addict” actually enjoy getting high? I’m just curious about your observations I’m not asking for a definitive expert opinion. Quite frankly I don’t believe that there’s any such thing as an addictions expert. Unless I’m grossly mistaken there are several significantly different disorders which are all categorized together under the umbrella of “addiction.” Rather like the disease of “consumption” in the 17th and 18th century. Most often it was TB but also included a number of different pulmonary diseases which the “expert” doctors of that time called consumption.

  3. christy says:

    I think Nora Volkow is trying to create a new master race and only the healthiest and fittest specimens qualify.

  4. darkcycle says:

    Well, did anyone see it? I’m more than a bit curious as to why they’re giving…uh…her… time. I’m doing full time daddy-duty while Dr.-Mrs. darkcycle is presenting at a conference in Chicago this weekend. So I missed it. (but I woulda missed it anyway, I haven’t watched 60 minutes since they participated in the torpedoing of Dan Rather.)

    • Freeman says:

      I caught some of it, but had too many distractions going on to pay close attention.

      Her research looked interesting. She was using medical imaging (ct-scan, mri, or similar — another detail I missed) to measure dopamine responses. Interesting but unsurprising finding: dopamine release is triggered in addicts just by viewing a picture of the drug. I plan to see if I can find any more info on her research online.

      One thing struck me as odd (I probably missed something important): she was saying something about damage to dopamine receptors. I got the impression that the gist was that overly-frequent triggering of dopamine does receptor damage, but 5 minutes later the piece was showing her daily routine, which includes a morning 7-mile run for a “healthy dose of dopamine”. Like I said, I must have missed something.

  5. kaptinemo says:

    Die Ahnenerbe uh, er, I mean, the ONDCP, has to have its’ closet mad doctors to justify its’ equally mad policies.

  6. Duncan20903 says:


    Ms. Volkow may be taking this argument to a new level but the argument that “drug users” are as if possessed by demons is nothing new. I find it particularly bemusing when people outside our cohort attempt to explain our world but their description bears no resemblance whatsoever to our reality. When we attempt to point out that they are mistaken they argue that we’re out of touch with reality. So one Know Nothing tells the fantasy to another, and down the line. Is this phenomenon peculiar to this issue? Are there other subjects where a significant cohort of people think that being totally clueless is a required attribute of an expert?

    Back in the late 1970/early 1980s 7-11 convenience stores were robbed so often that it became a joke. It actually threatened the existence of the Southland Corporation. Southland hired a consultant who advised them to make certain changes in order to deal with the problem and were successful in eliminating the problem. What was the consultant’s qualifications? He had made his living robbing 7-11s until caught and sent to prison. Yes, convenience stores still get robbed but not so often that it might make the stores’ owner go teats up.

  7. David Hart says:

    Of course, as one of our most well-known neuroscientists explains, the concept of free will is turning out be nonsensical in the first place – i.e. there is no such thing as free will for drugs to take away:

  8. thelbert says:

    i suspect communist moles. volkov is the great grand-daughter of leon trotsky. i wonder how many commie skeletons are in kerlikowski’s closet? that woman is scary. especially if the government is listening to her. she does know about endorphins, they say she runs seven miles a day. and implied that she has experienced “runner’s high”, but she did not mention endocannabinoids once.

  9. allan says:

    I had it on but didn’t pay attention. 20 minutes of Nora? No thanks.

    What was worth watching was Bill Moyers piece w/ a fella named Marty Kaplan (not sure of the spelling) Marty Kaplan on Big Money’s Effect on Big Media.

    The Norman Lear Center’s Marty Kaplan says taking news out of the journalism box and placing it in the entertainment box is hurting democracy.

    The basic premise being we are amusing ourselves to death… rather than dealing with the reality we face. It was good enough that I’m gonna watch again and pay attention to the whole thing.

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