Response to “…Cause of Addiction…”

Recently a friend of mine asked for my thoughts about a Huffington Post blog post making its rounds on Facebook about the real cause of addiction being found.  I’ve decided to share my thoughts with all of you but with this disclaimer: I have not reviewed all of the research that is referenced in Johann Hari’s book that he is advertising with the blog post.

  1. Remember this is a blog post and a guy selling his book and speaking/training seminars.
  2. This is not new information. In other words, this concept and others have and will continue to researched as the intricacies of nature vs. nurture continue to be examined.
  3. There are still those that use despite the “better environment” so maybe addiction has many “causes”.
  4. Comparison of diamorphine to heroin is intellectual dishonesty. Although the same base, one is much more controlled than the other, intake is often different, and environment of distribution and use is often different.  Any potentially addictive drug can trigger an unhealthy response in certain people. This is the complexity of how our brain is impacted by both biology and environmental factors. Furthermore, people who take it correctly and are weaned off (if taken for a long time) are less likely to become addicted because they are not getting the “high” from taking more than prescribed etc.  When someone has legitimate pain then pain killers in moderation relieve the pain but when there is no physical pain the body may react differently.
  5. To say that “it virtually never happens” is not research based fact. Anecdotally, I have counseled people who started due to a legitimate pain need. So I would argue that it does happen.
  6. Certainly people who have better social supports respond better – whether that is less likely to become an addict or better recovery outcomes. In my opinion this speaks volumes for the need for real Biblical community.
  7. The deductive logic used regarding cigarettes and nicotine is not experiential evidence that reveals cause and effect. So his statement that drugs only drive 17.7% of addiction is erroneous at best.  No researcher will say what percentage is related to the actual drug verses other factors. Again, the issue is far more complex than he asserts.
  8. My opinion is that addiction is both a sin issue and a biological issue.
  9. Now I do agree with some of his points regarding the need to look at how addicts are treated. This is why more programs continue to be developed to help with justice system’s interaction with addicts.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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