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Drug Addiction

Why is it important to be informed about substance abuse?

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January 23, 2008 12:44AM

1) So you can make reasoned decisions about what (if anything) to put into your body.

2) So you can distinguish between responsible use and abuse or addiction.

3) So you can better help friends or loved ones who are addicted.

4) So you can improve society by supporting drug policy based on truth instead of fear or hedonism.

This is a controversial subject, and most of the information out there is inaccurate or deliberately misleading. It isn't enough to just listen to your D.A.R.E officer or your stoner friend - odds are they are both pushing agendas, and you are going to get propaganda instead of facts.

While it's important to be critical of everything you hear, be especially wary of information coming from the government, especially the DEA or NIDA. Whether or not you believe in their goals, both of these agencies ignore research, manipulate data, and lie outright to get what they want - any scientist working for the private sector will tell you as much. Sadly, because of political pressure, American drug research should be considered suspect until proven otherwise - better to look at the research coming out of western Europe.

A good example of the kind of problem you will run into is contained right in your question: the phrase "substance abuse". This phrase was created by the government, and they push it wherever they can instead of something more neutral like "substance use" in an attempt to control the terms of the discussion. All drug use is assumed a priori to be abuse and the possibility of positive drug use is precluded before any debate has taken place. The pro-drug lobby uses similar propaganda, but it tends to be less dangerous because, frankly, it lacks sophistication and the resources to back it up. Whatever the truth, we will find it through honest dialouge, not linguistic tricks.