A tie-in to an earlier post I did on Rat Park, Johann Hari has written an article (link via Robert McGinley Myers at Anxious Machine) that in part serves to promote his book, Chasing the Scream, about the war on drugs and the real drivers of addiction. Addiction is not caused by the drugs themselves. This is backed up by both studies and practical real-world trials. As one of Hari’s sources, Professor of Psychology Bruce Alexander is quoted as saying, “… addiction is an adaption. It’s not you. It’s your cage.”

Want to stop the harmful effects of drugs? Treat the causes — disconnection, isolation, lack of contact and socialization — not the resulting use of drugs as a poor substitute for those unmet needs.

Twenty years ago, even among other college students I was considered an ultra-liberal wacko for saying that drugs should be legalized, regulated, taxed, and the resulting revenues used to help addicts by treating them for any mental illnesses, and helping them to find jobs or enter vocational training. Maybe more people are ready to listen to Hari now.