Our drug policies are not the only thing that needs to change, there are a lot of misconceptions of addiction that we need to replace with new knowledge and evidence. If someone got in a car accident and broke their neck, they would be taken to the hospital and would receive diamorphine for a long period of time. If what we believe about addiction is right, this person is exposed to all these chemical hooks, what should happen? They should become dependent on those hooks, start to physically need them, and at the end of those 20 days, they would be a heroin addict. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen, because when grandmother gets her hip replacement she doesn’t become a junkie.
This may be contrary to everything we have been told about addiction but psychologist Bruce K. Alexander helps us understand this issue more. Between the 1960’s and 1980’s, white laboratory rats lived in very poor conditions. They had to live in solitary confinement cellblocks which they could neither see nor touch each other, with no visual stimulation or exercise. Many experimental psychologi...
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... in 2000, Portugal decided to do the exact opposite. Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe and in 15 years they were able to bring down substance abuse by 50 percent. By decriminalizing all drugs and taking all the money they used to spend on cutting addicts off, on disconnecting them, and spend it instead on reconnecting them with society they created massive programs of job creation for addicts, and microloans for addicts to set up small businesses. They recreated purpose for addicts and helped them rediscover themselves.
So how do we become more Portuguese? I think America needs to spend more time reconnecting people back into society rather than pushing people further away. Instead of threatening the connection of an addict, we need to tell them we want to deepen the connection with them. With the core message of you’re not alone, you are loved.
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