Self-Refuting Drug Warriors

A new analysis of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health once again confirms a point I emphasize in my book Saying Yes: The vast majority of illegal drug users do not fit the stereotype of addiction and degradation promoted by the government and the news media. Based on data from the 2004, 20005, and 2006 surveys, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) calculated the percentage of people who became "dependent" on various drugs within two years of trying them. Here are the dependence rates, in ascending order:

Inhalants: 0.9%

Tranquilizers (nonmedical use): 1.2%

Psychedelics: 1.9%

Sedatives (nonmedical use): 2.4%

Painkillers (nonmedical use): 3.1% 

Alcohol: 3.2%

Cocaine Powder: 3.7%

Stimulants (nonmedical use): 4.7%

Marijuana: 5.8%

Crack Cocaine: 9.2%

Heroin: 13.4%

In some ways these results track conventional wisdom. Heroin comes out on top, which conforms to traditional thinking if not to more recent scare mongering about crack and methamphetamine, each of which was said to be at least as addictive, if not more so. But even in the case of heroin, a large majority of users were not deemed "dependent," and most (69 percent) had not even used the drug in the previous year. Likewise, crack looks more addictive than cocaine powder, but 76 percent of the people who tried crack were not using it at all a year later, quite a feat with a drug that's said to be instantly addictive. The comparable rate for cocaine powder was 58 percent, which could mean that a) people find it more appealing than crack, b) people find it easier to integrate into their lives because the experience is less intense, or c) people find it more appealing because it's easier to integrate into their lives. I think most people would be surprised to see that "stimulants," which included methamphetamine, rate lower on this addiction scale than heroin, crack, and even marijuana, and that narcotic painkillers, described as overwhelming and irresistible in press coverage of the OxyContin "epidemic," look no more addictive than alcohol. 

A few notes of caution:

1. SAMHSA measures drug dependence through questions based on the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic criteria, which require three or more of seven indicators: 1) tolerance, 2)withdrawal, 3) taking the drug in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended, 4) a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut back, 5) a lot of time spent getting, using, or recovering from the effects of the drug, 6) disruption of important social occupational, or recreational activities, and 7) persistent use despite serious drug-related physical or psychological problems. To qualify for the label, a patient is supposed to be suffering from a "maladaptive pattern of substance use" that leads to "clinically significant impairment or distress," which is difficult to assess at a distance through a survey. But the major line of criticism I've seen indicates that, if anything, applying the "clinically significant" criterion would generate lower rates of substance dependence. 

2. This particular analysis covers just a few years, and serious drug problems may take longer to develop (although that's certainly not the impression left by the government's anti-drug propaganda). Studies covering longer periods, such as the National Comorbidity Survey (which I cite in my book), do find higher addiction rates. But they still indicate that addiction is not a typical result of drug use.

3. It's risky to assume that the addiction rate associated with a substance has to do with its inherent properties, as opposed to the sort of people who like to use it. It seems plausible that people who are attracted to an extreme, notorious practice like heroin injection, for example, are different from people who aren't in ways (tastes, preferences, personality traits, circumstances) that affect their likelihood of using the drug heavily.

[via the Drug War Chronicle]

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  • Neu Mejican||

    I am wondering how tobacco would have ranked on this list.

    I also wonder how much overlap there is between categories.

    But they still indicate that addiction is not a typical result of drug use.

    This, of course, does not mean that it is not a significant problem for a significant number of people in our society.

  • SIV||

    How do you get "addicted" to psychedelics?
    MDA/ecstasy, LSD, mushrooms all have a big diminishing returns period unless you wait a while between doses.

  • SIV||

    The only drugs that produce a physical dependence are some CNS depressants, alchohol, barbiturates,benzodiazepenes etc

  • Neu Mejican||

    I would also like to point out that if you frame drug dependence as a disease and initiation as exposure, these "infection" rates seem pretty high.

    What is the infection rate for simple exposure to TB, for instance?

    Anyone know?

  • Zman||

    Does caffeine count as a nonmedical stimulant? That's the only drug that I use, and I sometimes find myself with a nagging headache if I don't get my 1.5 cups of coffee in the morning. Put me in the 4.7 percent, I guess!

  • Neu Mejican||

    Best guess on the TB question I posed above (base on some quick googling):

    Those exposed to TB (i.e., have a serious enough exposure to get an infection) have between a 5 and 10% chance of developing disease in their lifetime.

    That means that exposure to marijuana, crack, or herion is at least as likely to lead to signficant disease ("dependance") as exposure to a TB infection.

    Are we wise to consider TB infection a public health issue of significant import?

    Given the numbers of people who initiate marijuana usage each year, is this an issue that warrants the attention of public health officials?

  • Neu Mejican||

    None of the above is meant to support the notion that drug use should be a issue for the criminal justice system...

    I am just not sure how the above study would support a conclusion that the negative consequences of recreational drugs use are not worth the attention of public health officials (like those at SAMHSA).

  • ||

    Neu Mejican,
    Let me answer your question with another question: do you think the consequences of a full-blown TB infection and the consequences of marijuana addiction are even in the same ball park? Also, addiction is not a communicable disease.

  • SIV||

    I would also like to point out that if you frame drug dependence as a disease and initiation as exposure, these "infection" rates seem pretty high.

    Using "disease" as a metaphor for addiction?

    Damn Szasist!

  • Neu Mejican||

    Randolph Carter

    do you think the consequences of a full-blown TB infection and the consequences of marijuana addiction are even in the same ball park?

    Sure, potentially.

    TB infection is, typically, readily amenable to a quick medical fix. Drug dependence is often resistant to treatment and can lead to significantly detrimental quality of life.

    Also, addiction is not a communicable disease.

    Unless you believe in social practices being passed from generation to generation or from peer to peer.

    Of course, strictly you are correct. That, however, doesn't mean that a significant number of people will be exposed and experience negative consequences as a result of that exposure.

  • Neu Mejican||

    SIV,

    Using "disease" as a metaphor for addiction?

    Damn Szasist!


    Cute, but, of course, Szasz would say that you "can't" call addiction a disease, while I am saying that you "can" consider it a disease.

  • ||

    I don't know, with that definition of communicable you could pathologize pretty much anything from compulsive exercise to an unhealthy love of black metal. I do get what you're saying though, I just don't get where the government has a role in managing anything but infectious, communicable diseases. Now private organizations, that's another story.

    Also, I don't think Jacob is saying that addiction doesn't deserve any attention as a problem, merely that these statistics stand in very stark contrast to the "try it once and you're hooked" rhetoric of drug warriors.

  • ||

    This just in.
    I don't care if you get addicted to heroin (crack, meth et al) as long as you are not on the dole and don't commit violent or property crimes. The government shouldn't either.

  • ||

    How do you get "addicted" to psychedelics?
    MDA/ecstasy, LSD, mushrooms all have a big diminishing returns period unless you wait a while between doses.


    In my youth, there was a period where I would drop acid (~300-500 μg) every Saturday. It takes a week for your tolerance to get back to normal and I had Sunday off to negotiate the "day after dumbs". Maybe they mean something like that kind of use.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Randolph,

    these statistics stand in very stark contrast to the "try it once and you're hooked" rhetoric of drug warriors.

    Of course, but that is not the rhetoric that most people involved in substance abuse issues use...

    One of the reasons to get it out of the hands of law enforcement and back into the hands of public health officials.

    ? I just don't get where the government has a role in managing anything but infectious, communicable diseases.

    Managing?

    How about providing services to reduce the societal impact of?

    It seems that anytime the negative consequences are felt by the community, a collective response may be appropriate.

    But that's why I am a pragmatist and you are a libertarian, I suppose.

  • Neu Mejican||

    J sub D,

    I don't care if you get TB as long as you don't end up on the dole or breathe on me over the intertubes...

    ;^)

    But I believe that you should be able to get help for your condition if you want it.

    Now we can debate the best system for delivering that service.

  • Neu Mejican||

    In my youth, there was a period where I would drop acid (~300-500 μg) every Saturday.

    Always knew you were an old burn out.

    *takes one to know one, I guess.

  • ||

    But I believe that you should be able to get help for your condition if you want it.

    Lutheran Social Services does excellent work. I'm skeptical of AA/NA but it seems to help some people. There are others that don't want help, they just don't want to be labelled criminals for ingesting drugs.*

    *I typed the paragraph above and then finished your post. I concur with your last two sentences.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "I don't know, with that definition of communicable you could pathologize pretty much anything from compulsive exercise to an unhealthy love of black metal."

    Exactly. This is why the DSM is a joke, and every human urge is slowly being conditionalized. You are encouraged to feel haunted, and unhappy because that's what most other people are feeling. Fun is a sin.

    It stems from the puritan history of the U.S., where the sanctity of the vessel, and the sin of not keeping it clean, need conversion.

    It also gives people the "disease" scapegoat now. "Disease" sounds much more serious and uncontrollable, than the rather pedestrian "bad habit."

    In the past, there were eccentrics, and people with simply "different personalities." Now, these personalities represent a pathological malfunction within the "group."

    Pop psychology is to blame.

  • ||

    In the past, there were eccentrics, and people with simply "different personalities." Now, these personalities represent a pathological malfunction within the "group."

    well it doesn't need to be all or nothing, I'd rather have someone with schizophrenia or obsessive compulsive disorder be able to get help for what is truly a disease than say, "well different strokes for different strokes, and in this case by strokes I mean washing your hands until they're raw."

    Maybe it's a rectangle/square situation - psychological diseases produce unorthodox, eccentric behavior, but not all unorthodox, eccentric behavior is a psychological disease.

  • ||

    This just in.
    I don't care if you get addicted to heroin (crack, meth et al) as long as you are not on the dole and don't commit violent or property crimes. The government shouldn't either.


    Layne Staley sang about it...he's dead from it. But it was his choice. He lived the life the rest of us should be defending no matter how revolting it seems...What's my favorite drug? Well, what have you got? Trans Fat?

  • Tacos mmm...||

    How the hell does anyone get addicted to psychodelics?

  • Neu Mejican||

    Randolph,

    Since Infamous Mortimer latched on to it, I guess I'll respond to this...

    I don't know, with that definition of communicable you could pathologize pretty much anything from compulsive exercise to an unhealthy love of black metal.

    You are right about the "communicable" part, but to reach the level of "disease" you would need to show how your exercise or love of black metal was a "maladaptive pattern" that leads to "clinically significant impairment or distress,"

    The DSM makes these distinctions even if Mortimer doesn't understand them.

  • SIV||

    a "maladaptive pattern" that leads to "clinically significant impairment or distress,"

    Like criticizing the State under Communism.
    That "maladaptive pattern" was one of the leading
    causes of psychiatric confinement in the old Soviet Union.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "You are right about the "communicable" part, but to reach the level of "disease" you would need to show how your exercise or love of black metal was a "maladaptive pattern" that leads to "clinically significant impairment or distress,"

    Why, how subjective of them.

    But since the diagnoses is up to me, I'll vote no.

    The DSM making such distinctions doesn't make their ever narrowing conditionalizing any less of a farce, whether you are aware of it, or not.

    In my experiences with DSM defenders, there's little you can say or do to snap the spell. The art of rationalization is suffice.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "Maybe it's a rectangle/square situation - psychological diseases produce unorthodox, eccentric behavior, but not all unorthodox, eccentric behavior is a psychological disease."

    Now, if we could only get the talking heads, who actually have the most influence to adopt this mindset.

    Psychology is called a "soft science" for a reason.

  • robc||

    a collective response may be appropriate.

    Thats why many churches have a drug treatment program.

    A collective response to a social problem.

  • Unapplied asterisk||

    I typed above before reading JsubD's or the last 2 lines of NM's post.

  • ||

    What I'm curious about with this survey is that its for people who have "tried" the drug in the past two years, and then measure the percentage that become addicted. I know from previous studies that many people who try marijuana only try it once, at best twice. So I'm curious at what the dependency rates become at more moderate rates of use. IE how many people become "casual" heroine users with no dependency problems.

  • ||

    It's interesting that they haven't itemized crystal meth on there.

  • ||

    Indeed, from the link it seems that the Stimulants (nonmedical use) refers to prescription medications such as adderall, rather than illicitly produced amphetamines.

  • Yahoo Answerer||

    I once lived in a majority black neighborhood (I was one of only three white people I knew who lived there) and on several occasions would have people who were obvious undercover cops try to sell me drugs. They looked baffled when I calmly explained that I lived there and did not do drugs.

  • ElGringo||

    Where does my 'Bourbon and Benadryl before bed' fit in ?

  • ||

    I once lived in a majority black neighborhood (I was one of only three white people I knew who lived there) and on several occasions would have people who were obvious undercover cops try to sell me drugs. They looked baffled when I calmly explained that I lived there and did not do drugs.

    You were a victim of racial profiling. White males in a black neighborhood are presumed to be drug purchasers.

    Profiling goes both ways and is sometimes based on reality, sometimes based on prejudice. When people Accept that uncomfortable reality then an intelligent discussion of profiling can begin.

  • ||

    If we assume 50% of the population will try at least one of the listed drugs at sometime in their lives the addiction risk listed translate into ~20% of the population developing an addiction. 1 in 5 people with an addiction would be a serious problem.

    Fortunately, addiction is primarily a psychological phenomenon attached to particular individuals, not individual drugs (most people treated with morphine do not become morphine/heroin addicts). People with addictions always use multiple intoxicants. There same addicts show up in the statistics for many different drugs. The actual per capita risk of addiction is not 20% but closer to 10% because addiction risk is attached to the individual not the drug.

  • Robert||

    I'm just bugged they would set someone up for a mere possession charge.

  • Episiarch||

    Time for another Vicodin; it's Saturday after all.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Mortimer,

    Now, if we could only get the talking heads, who actually have the most influence to adopt this mindset.

    Talking Heads...my favorite is Remain in Light

    Psychology is called a "soft science" for a reason.

    This is true. It has a long way to go...but that does not mean it has not made significant progress in understanding a complex phenomenon. The approach used in the DSMIV is certainly imperfect, but has supported much of the progress since it was adopted.

    If you've got a better idea, the APA is in the process of improving the tool.

    http://www.dsm5.org/

  • ||

    As a Neuroscientist, and addiction researcher, I find the list to be interesting. The very idea that Psychadelics are addictive is amusing. What evidence, and how is "addicted" criteria met in this study?

    Heroin, Meth, Cocaine have high risk for addiction. Pain killers as well. The question is susceptability...as some people have alluded toward. Different populations, genetics, environmental factors can increase the risk of a one time or a recreational user to become addicted. Funny enough, even in animal studies, with inbred rodent strains, mice and rats have genetic differences that will differentiate their ability to work for a drug like cocaine, heroin, or meth.

    The rates of use, and economic impact of drug and alcohol abuse costs cooperate America an estimated 100 billion per year, in increased health care costs, loss in productivity, etc. But given that information, what other "addictions" cost society. Drugs are a window to that kind of behavior.

    Figuring out how these drugs work, and their risk is a valuable commodity, and teaches us about motivated behavior. Understanding both the sociological and neuropsychopharmacological mechanisms for drug seeking is paramount to understand how people make risky decisions. Much of what we learn about drug addiction relates to gambling, and other behaviors.

    In any case, in animal models, drugs like Marijauna are very difficult to use in a "addiction" model. Animals just won't work as hard for that kind of drug as they will for Morphine or Heroin. The problem is that these lists group all the drugs together as if they were equal, and as if all the population was at the same risk: that simply isn't the case.

  • TallDave||

    What about Prozac and SSRI inhibitors?

    The "this happpy pill bad, this happy pill good" dichotomy has never made much sense.

  • ||

    TallDave,

    What about Prozac and SSRI inhibitors? The "this happpy pill bad, this happy pill good" dichotomy has never made much sense.

    Anti-depressants are not euphoric i.e. they do not create the illusion of pleasurable sensation input. Taking a handful of prozac won't give you an orgasmic rush. Instead, they work by increasing the input of the rational parts of the forebrain which lets people interpret events around them in a more realistic fashion.

    The difference is best highlighted by the case of someone who is depressed due to the death of a loved one. Prozac will do little to ease the suffering for the person because depression is the natural and appropriate response to such an event. Cocaine, however, will give the person a euphoric rush so much that they may interpret the death as a positive event.

  • ||

    Fusion,

    The very idea that Psychadelics are addictive is amusing.

    The effects of psychedelics on the brain are to nonspecific and short lived to create physical addiction. However, the risk of psychological addiction (people seek out the experience at a serious cost to themselves and others) is very real.

    Physical addiction is a red herring. Hundreds of thousands of people become physically addicted to opiates every year while they are being treated for pain yet only a small percentage of them develop any overwhelming desire to take the drugs once the pain goes away.

    Our real problem is that many people will seek out pleasure at an enormous cost to themselves and people around them. We should focus on that instead of trying to restrict access to anything that people might find pleasurable.

  • ||

    "Cocaine, however, will give the person a euphoric rush so much that they may interpret the death as a positive event."

    I can't see this being true. Lets say, purely as an example as this definitely did not happen just last night, I were to be doing 12-15 lines of cola and someone comes up to me and says "your uncle just died"...hillarity ensues? The cola is gonna make me think my uncle is better off dead? No way, it doesn't alter your perception of reality like that, it just "gets ya goin", or so I'm told (because I obviously did not split a $100 teener, some weed, a couple screwdrivers and a 12 pack of Heineken with two of my buddies last night before returning home at 3 in the morning).

  • Chuck||

    Robert--

    I'm bugged that police are allowed to sell drugs. If I were a judge and cops testified in my courtroom that they were selling drugs, I would have them arrested, sting or no sting. The fact that police are allowed to commit felonies for the sole purpose of enticing others to commit misdemeanors is yet another of the great tragedies of the drug war. And we wonder why cops think they're better than the little people...

  • Morgue Cheerleader||

    bigbigslacker -

    Dr. Love obviously gets much better coke than we (hypothetically) do -- so much better that its effects have no resemblance at all to any we've ever (hypothetically) experienced, no matter how much we've ever (hypothetically) done.

    Drug warriors get all the good shit.

  • ||

    Re: Self-Refuting Drug Warriors, http://reason.com/blog/show/126086.html
    Sullum has wonderfully discovered one of the secrets that I have known and written about for 16 years that if used wisely can finally end the drug war and all its ramifications. An old article of mine that discusses this is, "The Drug War War," at: http://www.nvo.com/hypoism/articlesbyandforhypoicspage2/
    Sullum's article states: "A new analysis of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health once again confirms a point I emphasize in my book, "Saying Yes": The vast majority of illegal drug users do not fit the stereotype of addiction and degradation promoted by the government and the news media." The article concludes, "It's risky to assume that the addiction rate associated with a substance has to do with its inherent properties, as opposed to the sort of people who like to use it. It seems plausible that people who are attracted to an extreme, notorious practice like heroin injection, for example, are different from people who aren't in ways (tastes, preferences, personality traits, circumstances) that affect their likelihood of using the drug heavily."
    So, what Sullum is saying is: 1) that the government has disproved their own contention and theory that the use of addictive drugs is the cause of drug addiction [the hijacked brain hypothesis] and 2) that there is something about those users who do get addicted that is different from those who don't. [What Sullum thinks is the difference is wrong however. We will get to that in a minute.]
    Let me rationally translate this into something meaningful and useful. These two conclusions are correct and critically important in changing our county's thinking and policies about addictions. Currently, our country's "drug" laws and policies are based on the addiction theory known as the hijacked brain hypothesis (HBH), long believed but only first codified in Leshner's article: Leshner A.: Addiction is a Brain Disease, and it Matters, Science; 278, 45-70, 10/3/97 . What this theory states is that drug use is a conscious choice, voluntary (a moral choice), and then the drug changes the brain into an addicted brain and that this change (addiction) is now a brain disease. Thus, because addiction is defined as harmful to society, like theft and murder, drug addiction is an immoral behavior requiring both government protection (criminalization of drugs) and punishment of drug users and addicts (criminalization of users and addicts). All aspects of the drug war are an outgrowth of this theory. The only problem, which Sullum has discovered, is that the HBH is scientifically wrong, and, if the HBH is wrong then the policies based on it are wrong, something we all know. But now we know why.
    The true science of addiction and addiction causation is quite different from the HBH, which, it turns out, is a deliberate governmental lie, a major scandal. This science is reviewed in my book, Hypoic's Handbook, and web papers, http://www.nvo.com/hypoism/hypoismhypothesis/ and http://www.nvo.com/hypoism/thehypoismaddictionhypothesis/. Within the first paper is embedded a link to Hiroi's paper also reviewing this science up to 2005. You can thus read that paper without having to go to the library. [Hiroi uses the term "plasticity theory" rather than "HBH." They're the same thing.] Hiroi concludes his review of addiction causation with: "A majority of substance users do not develop addiction to nicotine, alcohol, or opiates. Currently available plasticity-based models (model 1. - the HBH) of addiction do not adequately account for the limited prevalence of addiction among chronic substance users and the presence of pre-existing, comorbid traits. The genetic model (Model 2) of addiction predicts that addiction is more likely to develop after initial substance use in individuals with genetic susceptibility. Model 2 [the genetic model] highlights the need for a new direction in addiction research as well as new treatment strategies." -- Exactly what I've been saying for 16 years and for exactly the same reason.
    What all this science shows is that the difference between people who get addicted and those who don't is their genetics, not voluntary choices, tastes, preferences, personality traits, and circumstances. Thus, it is genetics that causes addictions and the disease is not the addiction but the actual genetic differences (which haven't yet been specifically delineated). I have called this genetic disease Hypoism because it is a disease of low (hypo) reward system activity and addictors, drugs and addictive behaviors, all raise this activity. It turns out that the use of addictive drugs and behaviors in people who ultimately get addicted is genetically mediated (not morally mediated), involuntary and unconscious, the complete opposite of the HBH. It also turns out that policies like the drug war can't work on such a disease. That's why they don't work. Completely different policies are required to prevent and deal with addictions under the Hypoism paradigm than under the HBH. These are all discussed in my book. Many of them are exactly what the anti-drug warriors want but for the right reason.
    As Sullum's article implies but doesn't quite say because he's unaware of the actual answer, the genetics, we need to change addiction paradigms from the HBH to Hypoism. Then the most effective and humane policies to combat addiction will follow as they do whenever the correct theory replaces the wrong theory. These changes require changing the leadership and people pushing the misinterpretation of the real science and the pseudoscience of the HBH starting at the top with Nora Volkow, the Bush appointed chief of NIDA, appointed specifically to maintain the drug war. Under a new president who values valid science over ideology and mythology all this is possible, but the people need to know about it as well as demand it.

  • Bingo||

    Wall of text.

  • J sub D||

    Wall of text.

    Too lazy too wade thru it myself.

  • Lab Rat||

    Hey Fusion!

    I'm pressing the bar...wheres my fucking shot of cocaine?

  • ||

    As some of you may know, I'm an occasional poster here, but I always read the boards. I never, ever, thought that I'd agree with Shannon on something from that experience.

    -- Fortunately, addiction is primarily a psychological phenomenon attached to particular individuals

    I have an addictive personality myself, relationships, games, drugs, work, all of it will do. I think there's a lot of research to be done in this area. When I was young, I'd get hooked on a drug that I liked, games and subjects would likewise draw my undivided attention if I fixated on them. Both my parents had problems with OCD and I just said myself that I always read the boards here, J Sub D, you walk among us =P

    What are the major differences between someone who can't stop checking their blackberry and someone who feels the need to puff up every day? I've been in both camps and had the same drive for both activities, a feeling that it just had to be done, even though it wasn't at all.

    There's still a lot of research to be done in this field as I said. There's very few contempary studies that come close to addressing the subject I find.

  • TallDave||

    Shannon.

    Anti-depressants are not euphoric i.e. they do not create the illusion of pleasurable sensation input.

    Ah, the "wrong kind of happiness" argument. Why should euphoria be illegal? Unwise, in some cases, but then why is a little feeling better perfectly acceptable?

    Prozac will do little to ease the suffering for the person because depression is the natural and appropriate response to such an event.

    Not true, it's routinely prescribed for precisely that reason.

    Cocaine, however, will give the person a euphoric rush so much that they may interpret the death as a positive event

    That's a bit silly. Cocaine and heroin can seriously warp your decision-making and become a very strong compulsion, but they don't make you glad your beloved Aunt Mabel died.

  • Daniel Reeves||

    Wall of text.

    Obviously having a M.D. doesn't mean that you have the common sense to realize that people don't care.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Nice to know that, according to APA, I don't have to go to any of those stoooopid meetings!

    ....someone who can't stop checking their blackberry CRACKBERRY.....

    There. Fixed that for you.

    My nephew has mild aspberger's and he is about as compulsive a person I've ever seen. The kid is like Rainman, except high functioning. At seven years old he can kick anybody's butt on almost any computer game and he's a math whiz. And don't even try telling him to put the Wii controller away.

    I also have a bit of a compulsive side. Don't know how serious it is but if I find something I like, I can be obsessive about it. Which is why, in the Studio 54 days when when coke was all the rage, I wouldn't touch it. I just kept saying to myself, that stuff is sixty bucks a gram, what if you like it?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Wall of text?

    Wall of Voodoo!


    ...tried to wade through the Wall of Text....can't, make it, crawling.....thirsty.....need water....

    Try more spaces, more paragraphs, but always remember......

    sometimes less is more..........

    especially when you're talking to The Man.

  • Neu Mejican||

    TWC,

    Brilliant.

    Here is a fun link full of anti-marijuana messages from the WFMU blog.

    http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2008/04/old-time-radio.html

  • Bob Goodman||

    Our real problem is that many people will seek out pleasure at an enormous cost to themselves and people around them.


    Problem??!!! That's where all the creativity in the world comes from!

    a feeling that it just had to be done, even though it wasn't at all.


    The late Albert Ellis called it "must-urbation".

  • ||

    This, of course, does not mean that it is not a significant problem for a significant number of people in our society.

    Sure, whatev. The leap from that to "and therefore it should be illegal" is the one I struggle with.

    Our real problem is that many people will seek out pleasure at an enormous cost to themselves and people around them.

    That strikes me as a reason for outlawing extramarital sex, high-end entertainment systems, you name it.

  • Alexander DeLuca||

    Thank you, Mr. Sullum, for an interesting article. My comments:

    http://doctordeluca.com/wordpress/index.php/archive/prescription-lies/374/

    Big Prescription Drug Lies; Alex DeLuca; War on Doctors/Pain Crisis blog of the Pain Relief Network; 2008-04-27.

    Excerpt:
    Sullum, referring to an analysis of 2004-2006 survey data by the government Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), notes that the calculated rates of "dependence" or addiction (tolerance plus continued use despite adverse consequences) within two years of using various substances are very low. For example, SAMHSA estimates that 3.1% of people who 'nonmedically use' prescription painkillers show evidence of addiction, 96.9% do not. For comparison, the two-year addiction rate estimate for alcohol is 3.2%, and for cannabis 5.8%

    Huh? So, according to the U.S. government's best scientific guess, cannabis is more addictive than either alcohol or opioid analgesics like morphine and OxyContin? How much did this un-parse-able nonsense cost us? [Some 18 BILLION dollars a year funnel through the drug czar (ONDCP) to fund the drug war including the academics in NIDA and SAMHSA]

    So why, with the drug war money flowing like water for decades, is the scientific research so incredibly crude? As I try to explain in an interview done earlier this year with CEI (see raw footage: Part 6: Reign of Terror - Let the Pain In), if the Government really cared so much about the children, wouldn't they have found a way to study them? All this money for the drug war including funds for substance abuse research (NIDA and SAMHSA), and all we get is survey data? Not one lousy prospective, longitudinal study that would tell us exactly what happened to the 25% of adolescent "prescription drug abusers" who only used a few times, or the majority who used 10 times or less? Please.

    In fact the U.S. Govt doesn't give a rats ass about either drug abuse or drug addiction. Don't take my word for it, read the yearly White House Drug Strategy. They are obsessed by drug USE, and that is all they measure - raw use. This simply is not sufficient data upon which to make rational public policy. GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out.

    I highly recommend Scherlen and Robinson, "Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics," published in 2007, if you are at all confused by the yawning chasm between the endless prescription drug abuse propaganda and the data the Govt actually bothers to collect. Jacob Sullum's Saying Yes is likewise a demystifying experience.

    Finally, Dr. William Hurwitz did a far more sophisticated analysis of a wider array of government databases, using only his brain and the internet and no tax dollars, which was published in 2005 (while he was in federal detention for drug trafficking) in the journal Pain Medicine entitled, "The Challenge of Prescription Drug Misuse."

    Just a snippet from that paper:

    "Most individuals who engage in illicit use of pain relievers do so infrequently… As noted in Table 7, slightly fewer than one quarter of those reporting use in the prior year used on only 1 or 2 days. The majority (52.4%) had used these medications on 10 days or fewer in the prior year [supporting] the proposition that mere exposure does not inevitably lead to abuse and dependence. It also suggests the informal and opportunistic… pattern of most youthful drug use (Table 7)."
    http://www.doctordeluca.com/Library/WOD/ChallengePDA-Hurwitz05.htm

    Apologies for the length of this Comment.

    ..alex...

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