Monday, March 9, 2009

The Uncontrollable Desire to call Addiction a Disease is a Disease

I can’t come up with any other reason for such crappy argumentation being published in the Wall Street Journal. The urge to call addiction a disease has become an epidemic itself. Here’s GW Bush’s former director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy:
Substance abuse is a disease. Until recently, we failed to grasp the nature of this disease and how to reduce the suffering it causes… We have paid a high price for this confusion.
So how do we reduce the suffering caused by this disease?
The criminal justice system has become the most powerful force in the country supporting addiction treatment…
Aha. So it is a disease best treated through the criminal justice system. Perhaps we’ve been wasting our time trying to find a cure for cancer. Perhaps we should just make it illegal and see if that’ll solve it. I don’t accept the position that addiction is a disease, but if it were, wouldn’t it be better treated (as this article argues – thanks to Justin for the link) as a public health issue than a law and order issue? Can anyone name a single other disease that is best treated by the criminal justice system? Am I missing one? Wait, the author indeed argues addiction will start to be treated as a public health issue. He says:
Intervention is spreading in the health-care system with the prospect that screening for substance abuse will become as common as checking blood pressure for hypertension.
Excellent strategy. I say we start arresting those who test positive for high blood pressure and hypertension. Nip those problems in the bud. What might fascinate me most about this argument is that the author seems to believe readers will have no knowledge of history. Several times when talking about addictive drugs, he mentions alcohol. But when discussing the prospect of legalizing drugs, he says this:
No nation that has tried to avoid controlling supply has been able to stand by its permissive approach.
Isn’t that the *exact opposite* of what happened with alcohol? Didn’t we try to control supply, and then revert? Finally, he addresses an issue I mentioned recently – drug related violence in Mexico. He says,
Today there is terrible violence in Mexico. Those who carry out attacks do so with the intention of making us stop resisting them…Making it easier to produce and traffic drugs will strengthen, not weaken, these terrorists.
But this is nonsense. Yes, making it easier to produce and traffic *illegal* drugs will strengthen Mexican drug cartels. Give me a Celebrity Death Match between a Mexican drug cartel and an American/Internationl Pharmaceutical company, though, and my money’s on the Pharm company. If the drugs people wanted were legal, any US drug company could bitchslap a Mexican drug kingpin faster than you can say, “Let’s get it on.” Posted at Reverse Sickology

No comments: