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We Are the Reason They Are Addicted


For decades now, we have comfortably blamed addicts for their drug or alcohol problem. We have labelled certain drugs as being addictive and comfortably made laws prohibiting the recreational use of these drugs and we even have science on our side proving that addiction is caused by using certain substances which eventually the brain will be unable to do without which causes dependence. So people using cocaine, heroin, marijuana and the like are justifiably locked up or shamed for their habit with the hope that this will force them into giving up the habit.


Well, guess what, this whole approach is wrong and while you point a figure at the addict, 3 others are pointing back at you. We shall consider 4 case studies that will challenge all that you think you know about drugs.

These are:

- Patients who have taken strong pain medication
- Ex-servicemen from the Vietnam war
- Lab rats provided with Heroin
- Legislation in Portugal on drug use

Patients who have taken Strong Pain Medication 

If you think about it, for years, pain management in hospitals involved the use of morphine, a very strong pain killer that it made from pure heroin. People who undergo operations are given morphine to dull the pain but when they leave the hospital, they do not become addicts. This definitely challenges the notion that taking these drugs is what leads to compulsion. If it was true, then so many patients would become drug addicts after their treatment.

Ex-servicemen from the Vietnam War 

It is a known fact that during the war, very many of the soldiers were being given heroin to make them more fierce and there was a big concern about what would happen to them after the war when they return to America. When the war was over and these soldiers returned home, they were monitored and the results were astounding, over 90 percent of these men who had been using heroin returned home and lived normal lives without any addiction problems.

Lab Rats Provided with Heroin

What you think you know about drugs is based on an initial test which had 2 water bottles in a rat cage, one with heroin and another without and the rat seemed to prefer the heroin water and got addicted. Another experiment, however, changed the setting, it created a rat paradise with lots of activity and food that they would love and put lots of rats in the cage where they would have fun, but again there was water with heroin and water without heroin. The result was amazing because the rats were having a lot of fun, they hardly paid attention to the heroin water and even those that took it did not make a habit of it.

Legislation in Portugal on Drug Use

Portugal legalised the use of drugs at a time when they were having a huge drug problem, they also spent money on integrating drug addicts into society and making them feel loved and connected. Amazingly, with the freedom to use drugs in Portugal, drug dependence has actually fallen by 50% since 2000.

So you may be asking, how does this make you the reason people get addicted to drugs? Well, Johann Hari, the author of the book "Chasing the Scream" explains this. Hari travelled the world trying to get answers to the question how to tackle drug addiction and the 4 case studies pointed out that there is a disconnection in society.

When you consider the rats in the cage, the reason they do not get addicted to the drugs is because they are having a lot of fun, they are in a situation where they have connections with other rats, they are happy and have a reason to enjoy life so they do not get addicted.

Then in Portugal, the government actually spent time and money on research and the researchers discovered that the approach is all wrong, in actual fact, people were getting addicted because they had very little connection to society and people in their lives, demonising addicts and throwing them into prison or rehab, only makes the problem worse. But when you show them you care and give them a reason to wake up in the morning, they can kick the habit.

In essence, everything you think you know about the problem is actually what causes the problem. You need to connect more with people to prevent addiction.

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