What if everything we know about drugs and addiction is wrong? What if drugs are not what we think they are, and drug addiction is not what we have been told it is? What if the drug war is not what our politicians have sold it as for one hundred years and counting?
What causes addiction? Easy, right? Drugs cause addiction. But maybe it is not that simple. Addiction is caused by isolation. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is connection. The drug war claims that it is important to physically eradicate a whole array of chemicals because they hijack people’s brains and cause addiction. But if drugs aren’t the driver of addiction, then the claim makes no sense. The war on drugs, in fact, increases all those larger drivers of addiction.
Johann Hari, in his book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, provides an engrossing narrative and hard-won insight from around the world as humankind continues to grapple with the life-and-death challenges of drug use and addiction.
The video above, adapted from Johann Hari’s New York Times best-selling book, explains all the complex ways addiction works and tries to answer some of the pertinent questions that most of us probably don’t know or don’t want to know – Why did the drug war start, and why does it continue? Why can some people use drugs without any problems, while others can’t? What really causes addiction? What happens if you choose a radically different policy?