Addiction

I Learned It by Watching You: How Television Distorts Drug Addiction

Fictional dramas aid leading medical historians in misrepresenting what happens when people get hooked on cocaine and other substances.

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"The Knick"

Addiction is not a function of drug use—it is a standard feedback phenomenon that occurs with or without drugs, whereby people immerse themselves in immediately rewarding experiences that detract from their larger lives.

This definition of addiction makes clear that addiction is not a drug-centered trait. Addiction doesn't occur only with drugs and doesn't invariably occur when certain drugs are used.  There is nothing inherent in narcotics, cocaine, alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana that makes them irresistibly addictive. Moreover, people who do become addicted, contrary to both popular mythology and government pronouncements, usually attenuate or end their addictions.

So where have we gotten our idea that addiction is the inevitable and irreversible result of the use of one or more kinds of drugs? (Keep in mind, cigarettes and cocaine were only declared addictive in the 1980s, and marijuana in the 1990s.)

Specifically, we may ask, "Why do we all know that drug addiction unconditionally strikes anyone who uses cocaine (and heroin), even though, certainly with cocaine (and with heroin when we consider its equivalence to Oxycontin and Vicodin), many of us have used these drugs without harm?"

The answer is, "We saw it on television." Consider The Knick, the popular new Cinemax series, directed by Steven Soderbergh, based on a fictional New York hospital early in the last century.

The lead character, a surgeon played by Clive Owen, takes cocaine. Which of the following potential patterns do you guess his use takes?

1. He uses it sporadically or temporarily and it has a tangential effect on his life. In fact, this is the primary finding from the U.S. government's annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The NSDUH shows that only a small percentage (less than five percent) of people who have ever used cocaine, heroin, crack, and meth are currently addicted to these drugs. Carl Hart, an experimental neuroscientist and author of High Price, calculates that 10 to 20 percent of those using drugs (he studies crack and methamphetamine) encounter problems.

2. He encounters problems that he remedies. Some research questions users in detail about their current and past drug experiences. The largest and most thorough such investigation of cocaine was conducted at Canada's addiction research agency. The study, published as "The Steel Drug," found that the large majority of people who experienced a range of problems from cocaine use (sinusitis, nasal irritation, headaches, insomnia) quit the drug or cut back their use of it. Those crazy fools—where could they have come up with such a wild response to negative drug consequences!

3. He uses cocaine for an extended time, but quits or controls his habit so that it doesn't impair his ability as a distinguished physician.  This pattern is actually what occurred for the subjects of Howard Markel's book, An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine. Markel strives to show that two young physicians in the 19th century were laid low by their cocaine addictions, even though Freud clearly quit cocaine, and Halsted largely did, but sometimes returned to the drug. Markel contends that Freud's missing the actual abuse underlying his traumatized patients' claims resulted from his snorting cocaine decades earlier, and worries about how Halsted maintained his position as the world's foremost surgeon (Halsted pioneered the use of aseptic procedures and anesthesia) although he periodically injected the drug.

4. He gets uncontrollably fucked up on cocaine. Or perhaps Owen's character, Dr. John Thackery, becomes so severely hooked on cocaine that he cannot possibly live without it, even momentarily, and when his hospital loses its supply he breaks into a pharmacy and is arrested by the police. They then let him go despite his committing a major felony, one that normally would have landed someone in prison. 

Halsted avoided police and imprisonment and pursued his habit secretly over the course of his illustrious career (he died in 1922). This was readily possible for him since cocaine—along with heroin and marijuana—was only made illegal by the Harrison Act in 1914 based on sensational stories quite like Markel's hysterical vision of drug use. Indeed, our preoccupation with the dangers of cocaine—and Markel's need to prove how addictive it was a century before it was declared so by American pharmacology—makes his book most notable as an example of historical and scientific revisionism.

Meanwhile, I've already given the answer to my quiz: it's number four (perhaps you saw this episode). The Knick is described by Emily Nussbaum in The New Yorker this way: "The dialogue felt hacky, and I was bugged by what seemed like anti-hero clichés; worse yet, I sensed, beneath the show's surgical gore, a smug preachiness."

Nussbaum changed her mind after seeing the final three episodes of the series, including the pharmacy break-in (episode nine). But isn't it the best example of all of smug preachiness and hackneyed, anti-hero cliché? Isn't this our standard approach to drugs—to warn everyone about the inevitable consequences of drug use? Put simply, you are not allowed by the liberal, supposedly drug-using, permissive media to know the real epidemiology, the typical profile, of drug users. Such knowledge might be bad for you. So they lecture us: Drug use is bad because it's unavoidably addictive.

Historians like Markel achieve renown as factotums who industriously labor within the shifting official paradigm: that is, addiction to heroin, make that to heroin and cocaine, make that to heroin and cocaine and marijuana, make that to heroin and cocaine and marijuana and gambling, comprise a unique brain disease. But Markel mistakes what is plain in front of him. People may become engaged in intense involvements with love, sex, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, gambling, spending, video games, et al. that can impair them and cause them distress, and then just as often reverse their behavior when they feel up to it, and the harm to their lives from their habit becomes clear to them. 

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  1. Even if drugs actually were the pure, incarnate evil they are often sold as, bringing sure devastation to even the most casual user, it wouldn’t justify banning them, anymore than the possibility of a fatal overdose would justify banning chlorine bleach from the store shelves. The relative addictiveness of a substance shouldn’t even be a relevant issue for policymaking.

    1. Or 5he fact that the war on drugs has killed tens of thousands of people and imprisoned millions more. But we have to wtick with it because we’re “compassionate”.

    2. That’s just loonytarian crazy talk. You probably think that alcohol and tobacco should be legalized, too.

  2. Doctor Drew from Loveline always held the philosophy that “Addiction” was a combination of two factors. 1) You have a vice and 2) Your submission to that vice is so complete that your life is being damaged as a result, and you cannot change this without help.

    World of Warcraft first came out, I and several friends, work colleagues and family were severely hooked. We played endlessly. No doubt, there was a cost to this habit. I could have been working extra hours- or even an extra job. Hell, our company probably lost countless hours and market opportunities of work as engineering teams held raid parties while products burned. Eventually though, most people moved on to other things. I had a kid, and it became untenable to care for her and spend 5 – 6 hours a night playing. Other friends continued to see their careers and life essentially put on hold as they played night after night. Still others did serious damage to their future- losing jobs and failing classes in order to play.

    The obvious problem is that this is all terribly subjective. At which point is someone “doing damage” vs “making an informed trade-off”? Who are we to say that everyone needs to be a highly motivated life winner who has no time for any vice? This is why national or even local policy fails so immensely. Some people get so much out of their vice that it is a worthwhile trade for other activities.

    1. Clearly you needed the governments help. You would have been much better off had swat teams kicked in your doors, killed your digs, shot at least a handfull of you and hauled you off to prision to be raped and brutalized. It’s because they care about you.

    2. First rule of Team Purple nanny politics: Do not have fun, ever.

      1. That sounds very protestant, actually.

        (Catholics, of course, may have fun, they just need to somehow pay the church for it.)

    3. Note, I think that people like the author tend to understate the cost of addiction. They point out recovery rates and often ignore the hard work people must apply to change their behavior- often with the help of others. This is especially true when we talk about physically addictive drugs like opiates. It is not true that everyone has the strength to beat something even when they acknowledge it is taking them somewhere they don’t want to go. Just as prohibitionist’s views of vice as an inescapable fruit of destruction is also wrong.

      The world needs a new view of addiction, understanding that many- even most- people are consciously making trade-offs between a vice and the other opportunities available to them. It is only when they conclude that their behavior is self destructive (often with the advice of intervening friends and family) and are still unable to stop that we ought to see this as addiction.

      And it cannot be over-stated how society’s prohibitionist attitude makes it so difficult for addicts to make choices. It drives behavior under ground, imposes high costs for arbitrary vice categories and leads to all the other ills we have seen in the War on Drugs. Absent the War on Drugs, we could have better discussions about addiction to cocaine just as we can talk about video game addiction in a more rational manner since it is not (yet) illegal.

      1. And real addicts could feel free to talk about their addiction and seek help without fear of police. When the focus is on actual help as opposed to punishment the drug haters may actual make a real difference in peoples lives instead of jsut further destroying them.

        1. The drug use rates dropped significantly in Portugal when they completely decriminalized possession across the board. They cannot not arrest you, nor fine you. The most they could do is set you up with an appointment to discuss rehab options, whose treatment was voluntary.

          1. They made it not cool anymore.

      2. IMO, nobody needs any view of addiction. It’s a word that’s worse than useless, muddying the water of whatever’s being discussed. It would be valuable, as all words with real meanings are, if you could use it to generalize what’s useful in some cases to the general case. However, I’m afraid all attempts to do so in cases of things called “addictions” will give worse results than dealing with the cases individually with no cognizance of each other as being in the same class.

    4. At which point is someone “doing damage” vs “making an informed trade-off”?

      This is it exactly. A large portion of the nanny state arguments comes down to the idea that you should do whatever I deem to be best for you. But not everyone has the same desires and the same idea of what ‘the best’ is.

      You see this particularly with all this whining about obesity. If someone prefers eating shitty food and not exercising to eating well and exercising and is perfectly okay with the trade-offs, then they aren’t behaving ‘irrationally,’ they’re making an informed choice that just differs from the choice I would make.

      A lot of people love eating lots of fattening food and would rather keep eating the food they love than cut back. It’s not our place to say what the ‘right’ decision is.

      1. When you consider how close most fat people are to 0 caloric balance in adulthood (gaining just a few lbs./yr.), it’s even more subtle than that. It’s the tradeoff between achieving 0 caloric balance exactly (or negative if theyre already fat) and feeling uncomfortable all the time like they haven’t satisfied their appetite.

      2. You see this particularly with all this whining about obesity. If someone prefers eating shitty food and not exercising to eating well and exercising and is perfectly okay with the trade-offs, then they aren’t behaving ‘irrationally,’ they’re making an informed choice that just differs from the choice I would make.

        Obesity isn’t just a tradeoff between health and gluttony, it’s also hugely expensive. There are medical costs, like diabetes treatments, coronary bypasses, and statins. There are other costs, like bigger seats, bigger cars, and other things that need to be engineered to deal with 300 lbs people.

        Most people could probably not afford to be obese if they had to pay for it themselves. Socializing the cost of obesity, however, strongly encourages people to become obese.

        And because the costs are socialized and I am forced by government to pay for other people’s obesity, I don’t see why government shouldn’t force people not to become obese in the first place, thereby lessening the degree of coercion I am subjected to.

        It’s really no different from other forms of price control: government price fixing of the cost of obesity has analogous consequences to any other kind of price fixing: illegal behavior and government coercion.

        1. I’d say that instead of fighting to make fat people less fat, you fight to make the socialization of fatness less socialized. Just a thought.

  3. Overt, don’t give them any ideas. They’re already trying to ban video games.

  4. If we make a list of all the problems, the violence the costs the despair, etc with the war on drugs. Then made another list with legal drugs. Everything on the second list would already be on the first list. Most things on the first list incuding the worst of the problems would not be on the second list. That is because the war on drugs creates a number of terrible problems and solves none of the problems of legal drugs. But hey at least we don’t send the wrong message to “the children”.

    1. That’s really the fundamental idiocy of the war on drugs from a utilitarian perspective. It just doesn’t get rid of the bad effects of dugs on society and it makes many things worse and creates lots of new problems.

      1. Drugs Inc show about herion use in Columbus. Open the show with “more deaths in Ohio last three years from heroin overdoses than car accidents. Have no idea if that’s true but imagine how many less overdoses there would be if, like liqour, the purity of the product was always known and also how much sooner people would react if they could call for an ambulance without fear of the police.

        1. more deaths in Ohio last three years from heroin overdoses than car accidents

          What you say about prohibition making drugs like heroin more dangerous is certainly true.

          Putting that aside, would it not be preferable to have more OD deaths than car accident deaths? The people who OD aren’t killing other people.

          1. Also, they wouldn’t be carjacking your neighbor or snatching your grandmother’s purse to buy something that is basically a small amount of a cheap-to-produce chemical.

        2. Open the show with “more deaths in Ohio last three years from heroin overdoses than car accidents.

          This is impossible. Accidents as a group are the fifth leading cause of death among Americans. Car accidents are the most frequent fatal accident.

          Overdoses don’t even make the top ten, and that’s ALL overdoses. There’s no way heroin overdoses alone cause more deaths than car accidents in any American state.

          I suspect this is based on flawed data like the ridiculous “1800 college kids die from alcohol” state that’s been disproven. With that one, they would count anyone who died with any alcohol in their system as having been ‘killed by alcohol.’ So if I wanted to kill myself and took a bunch of shots to get up the nerve, guess what! My death by suicide is now counted as my having died from alcohol!

          Something similar is probably going on with the heroin claim.

      2. I personally believe that many more people would face the problems of addiction were drugs more freely available. There are many people who steer clear because the cost of using can include dealing with black-market thugs and jail time, summary job loss and the like.

        I still believe that prohibition brings far more ills than the costs of addiction would inflict on the public. I just don’t think a lot of anti-prohibitionists are honest about those trade-offs.

        It wold be a better world if people didn’t think “Just ban it” was the appropriate response to addiction.

      3. I personally believe that many more people would face the problems of addiction were drugs more freely available. There are many people who steer clear because the cost of using can include dealing with black-market thugs and jail time, summary job loss and the like.

        I still believe that prohibition brings far more ills than the costs of addiction would inflict on the public. I just don’t think a lot of anti-prohibitionists are honest about those trade-offs.

        It wold be a better world if people didn’t think “Just ban it” was the appropriate response to addiction.

        1. stupid bushy-tailed tree rats.

        2. I don’t think that’s necessarily true but it seems like it’s worth a try to find out given the massive failure and lethel WOD.

        3. I suspect you are right. If I had to make a prediction, I would say that use of most drugs would go up a bit if thing were really legalized, not just decriminalize possession. Addiction is certainly a serious problem for many people in any case. But even addiction will be less of a disaster for a lot of people if drugs are legalized. A lot of people can and do maintain reasonably productive lives while addicted to various drugs. And if you don’t have to associate with sketchy people and spend all your money on drugs, that would be more common, I would think.

          1. In Colorado, MJ use has definitely gone up, and I would suspect that in a couple years we’ll start hearing about the negative affects of this. MJ is not heroine but it is also not benign.

            One of the problems of the Anti-Prohibitionist folks is that many- especially the younger advocates- were making crazy promises. I have heard tons of bullshit from MJ advocates, and this has been complicated by the necessity to call MJ medicinal during the fight to get it legalized.

            I know I’m probably coming off as a concern troll, but that is not my intent. I have lots of first hand experience dealing with friends and family who needed a lot of help to beat addictions to booze, drugs and video games. These people were wrecking their lives- losing money, time, jobs, custody of children- despite the fact that some of these products were completely legal.

            I just don’t want the anti-prohibition forces to sell a panacea. Drug legalization will bring about the roll-back of a horrible, horrible blight on our nation. But it will have costs, including people harming themselves with the greater availability of vices that are not only emotionally addictive but in many cases physically so. As others have pointed out, this tradeoff is completely worthwhile. But by ignoring- or worse, denying- these tradeoffs, it makes it easier for prohibitionists to paint us as disingenuous or to look at the effects after legalization and claim society was duped.

            1. I understand your point but I don’t think anyone doesn’t get that drugs, like alcohol, has devestated many lives. The countless stories are overwhelming (kind of point of this article). Not to mention everybody knows someone who has dealt with this.

              1. I think anyone claiming to have been “duped” would be the ones being disingenuous. Of course if legalization is done in a away that does not put the gangs and cartels out of business (ie taxes and price controls) that would be the fault of legislaters perhaps intentional. I don’t think it matters because its never going to happen outside of pot. And even that is going to have so many caveats its hard to say what difference it will make.

              2. Making it worse for someone doesn’t help them. On the other hand, the police state and its corporate cronies find it profitable enough to neuter the Constitution.

            2. I am interested in seeing what happens with pot availablity to minors as it becomes legal. Certainly it will be legal but will it actually be harder for than to obtain? I know that Colorado did a sting on pot sellers regarding cardi g and there was not one violation. Obviously minors have other avenue but certainly targeted enforcement would be more efficient than enforce everything all the time which is pointless.

              1. Certainly it will be available

            3. I just don’t want the anti-prohibition forces to sell a panacea.

              At least libertarian anti-prohibitionists aren’t “selling” legalization as a panacea, but as a fundamental right. That is, legalization would be the right thing to do even if more people chose to harm themselves.

              I have lots of first hand experience dealing with friends and family who needed a lot of help to beat addictions to booze, drugs and video games.

              And that is precisely why legalization isn’t a question of utility but a question of basic rights and liberties. If we adopted the principle that it is the government’s job to reduce the harm people do to themselves, we’d invariably end up in a totalitarian system. The ability to do stupid, harmful things to yourself is an essential part of liberty and a free society.

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  6. Looks like Stanton’s gotten rid of the “overwhelming involvement” criterion for “addiction”.

    1. It makes a big difference, because

      people immerse themselves in immediately rewarding experiences that detract from their larger lives

      as sufficient without “overwhelming involvement” takes in a whole lot, unless “immerse” is taken to mean involvement to a degree that shuts out much of the rest of experience.

      It also doesn’t distinguish learned from non-learned behaviors. Admittedly, since all human behavior (I think) is learned, that’s not a limit w.r.t. humans, but it means animals acting on instinct can be said to be addicted. In fact it classifies much of animal behavior as addictions, since animals do many things instinctively for immediate rewards that hurt them as individuals in the long run, such as cats’ fighting.

      1. Clearly we need to ban listening to Irish music while driving.

      2. And Bayer AG, for inventing heroin.
        Just in case you haven’t seen the pictures, look at the second page.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayer

  7. A lot of people have had first hand experience with the proverbial “angry drunk”. Some people get silly happy when they’re drunk, and other people start looking to pick a fight.

    Something like that happens to tweekers, too. Chalk it up to lack of sleep and a preexisting propensity for anxiety, rather than the meth, if you want, but something about meth makes a high percentage of otherwise perfectly social people totally suck when they’re tweeking. I suspect a lot of tweekers may stop tweeking because they don’t want to be around tweekers anymore!

    Anyway, regardless of whether most tweekers stop taking meth eventually, the fact is that they totally suck to be around while they’re tweeking. And it’s just easier for friends, family and the general public to understand those behavioral and personality changes with an explanation like “addiction”. It’s not your loved one–it’s the substance.

    There’s also the fact that the age when people start using these “addictive” substances is often at critical points in their success arc. I’m not saying that getting tattoos and dropping out is addictive, but if you drop out of college and get a tattoo on your neck when you’re 20, your success arc can take a beating. He used to be in college–now he’s baggin’ groceries! If television had never been invented, I think a lot of people would still attribute that change in direction to coincide with meth use and call it “addiction”.

    1. I’ve heard about studies that have stated that once a person hits 19 or 20 the risk of them developing a drug problem (if they don’t start using until then) drops like a rock to some very small percentage. I wonder if that has to do with the age people learn coping mechanisms. Regardless, given how its easier for young people to obtain illegal drugs than legal alcohol, seems like another reason to legalize drugs and focus enforcement on selling to minors.

    2. Well, thanks for the new word, tweek(ing).

  8. The biggest road block for any reform is plan old arrogance. As is true for foreign policy as well, Americans firmly believe that there is nothing the government can’t do given enough money and soldiers. Does not matter at all how often history has repeatedly shown that to be false. We refuse to admit that it might be possible that we can’t make the world a nicer place if only we use more goverment force.

    1. Americans firmly believe that there is nothing the government can’t do given enough money and soldiers

      In my experience, Americans are much less trusting of their government than Europeans. Most of the “hand your life over to the government” attitudes seem to come from Europe, via European academics and philosophers.

  9. OT from TerriblePolitics

    http://thinkprogress.org/justi…..o-charges/

    In Oklahoma, a white “survivalist” shot a police chief three times in the chest and once in the arm. The shooting did not result in an arrest or charges and the man, identified by local media as 29-year-old Dallas Horton, has been released.

    In a press release, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said, “Facts surrounding the case lead agents to believe the man was unaware it was officers who made entry.” But Louis Ross, the Sentinel, Oklahoma police chief who was shot, said that he entered the home after “Washita County 911 received two calls from a man who identified himself as Dallas Horton, and claimed to have a bomb inside the head start school.”

    1. Good. If you don’t identify yourself as a cop and get shot when breaking into someone’s home, they shouldn’t be charged.

      This is why no knock raids should be disbanded.

  10. In a press release, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said, “Facts surrounding the case lead agents to believe the man was unaware it was officers who made entry.”

    Holy shit. That’s astounding. They actually recognize the distinction between “knowingly” targetting a cop, and shooting an unidentified intruder during a break-in?

    1. I know. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a government agency acknowledging that an agent was shot because of their own failure to identify themselves.

      1. That’s because the shooter was a white supremacist. If he had been black, they would have thrown at them and then some.

        /progderp

  11. Add Dr. Gregory House, of “House.”

    1. House is an interesting case, because he had a legitimate need for the Vicodin, and it didn’t affect his work up until he was literally seeing dead people, at which point he decided to get off of them, which seems like a reasonable response to seeing dead people.

      Additionally, the writers gave us Tritter in S03, who was a dickbag cop who was going after House for a personal slight against him.

    1. Mine’s Jane’s Addiction.

  12. After coming back from being in Vietnam, and witnessing what I had there, I did a lot of thinking and drugs, both before I came back and afterwards. I mean if it was made, I no doubt tried it at one time or another. Most were a passing phase, or a way to get on to the next point. I never worried about getting addicted, and never used anything so long that I could even consider it an addiction.

    Some people just got to find a way to get back to where they want to be the best way I know how. If it takes drugs, it does, if it don’t it don’t. We aren’t all built the same, come from the same backgrounds, or think the same way. So why are some people so damn adamant that we do it their way?

    1. Because, some people are absolute-control-freaks. They’ve been with us throughout all history doing their dirty deeds. If it wasn’t for them the vast majority of horrific torture and murder that’s been carried out, would not have been carried out, and being a human would have been many times easier and much less dangerous.

      1. “Political tags ? such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth ? are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

        ? Robert A. Heinlein

        1. Been many years since picking up and reading anything by Heinlein. Long enough to forget just how insightful he could really be.

    2. I’ve had one friend die of a heroin overdose, and another land himself in prison for grand theft auto after stealing a car to fuel is speed habit. Another drank himself to death, while another did so much acid that he has the cognitive skills of a child. My childhood friends are mostly in prison or living on the streets.

      Yet here I am, a college educated software engineer who smokes herb once in a while after work. I’ve tried most drugs under the sun, from heroin to crack, and here I sit typing in my own home while my kid eats popcorn while watching Netflix.

      You’re right. We’re all built differently. Some of us can handle our chemicals, while others cannot.

      With the exception of a couple of my neighbors, nobody who knows me knows I smoke herb. And sadly if they did, it wouldn’t change their perception of drug use. It would change their perception of me. Instead of thinking “Hey, if this guy can do all of this while using drugs, maybe drugs aren’t so bad!” they’d think “Oh my God! He uses drugs! He might as well be a murderer!”

  13. Does this mean we’re going to stop using heavily armed paramilitary LE units to smash down doors with armored personnel carriers and steel battering rams treating the occupants to more deadly force than if they had been suspected of mass murder just because someone said there may be a controlled substance on the premise?

    1. Ha ha.

      No.

      1. Uh-huh, just as I suspected.

  14. It’s worth noting that Dr. Halstead quit cocaine by transferring to morphine, whose use he was able to control, but not stop.

    In spite of his hidden addiction to morphine, he invented modern aseptic surgery which minimized trauma and blood loss. Nerve blocks, rubber gloves, breast surgery, transplant surgery, minimally invasive surgery, microsurgery, brain surgery, cardiac surgery and many others are all part of Dr. Halstead’s legacy.

    He was also founder of Johns Hopkins Medical school and head of surgery. He continued performing surgeries for years with no noticeable negative effects. Apparently he didn’t shoot speedballs before performing surgery.

    Not bad for stinking drug addict. Think how much better we would be if we had just locked him away for 20 years.

    1. Harvey Cushing (father – arguably – of modern Neurosurgery) was one of Halstead’s residents. Probably also did morphine, though not to the extent that Halstead did.

      Better lock him up too.

      1. As well as a few American Presidents.

    2. Good point.

      The thing is, drugs are beneficial (obviously enough). Just because one uses an illicit drug to solve a personal issue does not change the fact that drugs are useful. And individuals do not necessarily need a doctor to find the drug that works best.

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    1. You get a surly chek out of all that?

      1. Is that an ice hockey term?

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  17. If we could just persuade the Political class to stick to those few functions of a legitimate State, and to only try to punish those who actually injure others, we could halve what we pay in taxes and they’d STILL be able to steal plenty.

    Sadly, although they DO want cash,mthey want power to push us around rather more.

  18. “It’s worth noting that Dr. Halstead quit cocaine by transferring to morphine, ”

    Take a number-many famous painters, Freund, scientists, more doctors..

    But it is perfectly fine to be an over-medicated society on anti-depressants.

    1. My sister’s boyfriend’s niece’s pimp makes $1000 a day selling cocaine in his spare time – check this address to find out how to take advantage of this exciting business opportunity!

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    2. But it is perfectly fine to be an over-medicated society on anti-depressants.

      Of course! Pharmaceutical companies, doctors, and insurers profit massively from that, and they have lots of lobbyists and make large donations. If you could just self-medicate, they wouldn’t be making any money off it.

      1. Oh, if just marijuana were made legal at the federal level you’d see use-rates of these harder drugs plummet. You’d also see a plummet in the use of many anti-depressents and prescription painkillers.

        Which is exactly why Big Pharma has no interest in having it legalized, at least not until they’ve got their own fields of the stuff so they can use their money and lobbyists to then control legal weed. Their main problem with legalizing it is that people could then grow it at home. Can’t have people growing their own medicine and cutting Big Pharma out of the deal.

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  22. The article would be a bit more effective if the author didn’t resort to the same kinds of lies that the “drug warriors” use.

    “Keep in mind, cigarettes and cocaine were only declared addictive in the 1980s, and marijuana in the 1990s”

    Cocaine and nicotine addiction have been recognized and well characterized at least as far back as the 19th century, at least for readers of such obscure publications as “The Lancet”, and references to tobacco being habit-forming can be found centuries earlier than that. The Towns-Boylen Act specifically outlawed marijuana, as being “habit-forming”, in 1914.

    Just a few decades (or centuries) earlier than the author claims.

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  24. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start… This is where to start???.
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  26. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start… This is where to start???.
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  27. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start… This is where to start???.
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  28. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start… This is where to start???.
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  30. I recently had an interesting…..and frustrating…..Facebook conversation regarding this very thing. The lady with whom I was conversing confidently stated that heroin was so addictive that trying it just one time caused the individual to become hopelessly addicted to it. I tried to reason with her and, I even provided her with links to several primary research studies, including Dr. Hart’s work, that clearly demonstrated that her assertion simply was not true. There simply is no drug that is SO powerful and addictive that a one-time encounter will leave one physically dependent upon it. Chemical dependence precedes physical addiction. Addiction also has a psychological component.

    It’s going to take a long time to undo the ignorance and intolerance created by government propaganda, which is only worsened by the cherry-picked data from various drug prohibitionist groups……

  31. just before I looked at the draft four $9879 , I didn’t believe that…my… father in law had been truly erning money part time from there computar. . there dads buddy has done this for only 21 months and just repaid the dept on their apartment and bourt a great Land Rover Range Rover .
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  32. Several individuals have overcome their addictions and created the history like Robert Downey Jr, Eric Clapton, Eminem and others. Substance Abuse can be defeated and individuals can do that.

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