Is it a disease, or not?, by Dr. Fred Hansen
“For a very long time doctors who worked with drug addicts have stated that addiction to illicit drugs like heroin is not stronger than that to legal drugs like cigarettes. But this message has not reached the public and has therefore not prevented the emergence of a huge therapeutic bureaucracy, which ironically â?? at least according to my experience in Germany â?? has provided jobs for ex-junkies.
Theodore Dalrymple analyses this therapeutic community in his new book ‘Junk Medicine: Doctors, Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy’, which is dedicated to the war against withdrawal symptoms. He thoroughly debunks the disease model of addiction claiming that we should be really talking about a moral and spiritual problem requiring changes in behaviour. Based on U.S. government survey data among others the book provides plenty of examples contradicting the prevailing wisdom about addiction:
Dalrymple has plenty of experience in this field since he had been working as a prison doctor in northern England. Dalrympleâ??s book offers some hope and a good opportunity to rethink our hugely expensive, mostly unsuccessful therapeutic addiction regimes.”
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