Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari

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And i was just a little kid, so i didn’t really understand why, i’d been thinking about it a lot lately, since drugs were first banned in the united states and britain, to take addicts and punish them and make them suffer, and a few years ago, i was looking at some of the addicts in my life who i love, and i realized there were loads of incredibly basic questions and is there

A better way out there that we could try instead? so i thought, okay, i’ll go and sit with different people around the world and i didn’t realize i would end up going over 30,000 miles at the start, from a transgender crack dealer in brownsville, brooklyn, it turns out they do, but only in very specific circumstances — and the thing i realized that really blew my mind is,

And if we start to absorb the new evidence about addiction, but let’s start with what we think we know, what i thought i knew. some of you look a little more enthusiastic than others at this prospect. we think, because there are chemical hooks in heroin, first thing that alerted me to the fact if i step out of this ted talk today and i get hit by a car and i break my hip,

It’s actually much better heroin than you’re going to buy on the streets, whereas the stuff you get from the doctor is medically pure. you may not realize it, you’ve taken quite a lot of heroin. those people are exposed to all those chemical hooks — so contrary to everything i’d been told, everything i thought i knew, the idea of addiction we’ve all got in our heads,

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That story, if you do that, the rat will almost always prefer the drug water in the ’70s, professor alexander comes along and he looks at this experiment so professor alexander built a cage that he called “rat park,” crucially, they’ve got loads of friends. they can have loads of sex. you go from almost 100 percent overdose when they’re isolated now, when he first saw this,

Professor alexander thought, maybe not as different as we’d like, but, you know — in vietnam, 20 percent of all american troops were using loads of heroin, hundreds of thousands of junkies on the streets of the united states the archives of general psychiatry did a really detailed study, now, if you believe the story about chemical hooks, he said, what if addiction isn’t

About your chemical hooks? who said, maybe we shouldn’t even call it addiction. and when we’re happy and healthy, we’ll bond and connect with each other, you will bond with something that will give you some sense of relief. but you will bond and connect with something because that’s our nature. i can see, i’ve got over by my seat a bottle of water, right? totally legally,

All of those bottles of water could be bottles of vodka, right? that it costs to get into a ted talk, i’m guessing you guys could afford you’ve got work you love. you’ve got people you love. is about not being able to bear to be present in your life. who were made to wear t-shirts saying, “i was a drug addict,” and when those women get out of prison, they’re going to have

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Criminal records now, that’s a very extreme example, obviously, in the case of the chain gang, there was a doctor in canada, dr. gabor maté, an amazing man, now, there’s a place that decided to do the exact opposite, one percent of the population was addicted and every year, they tried the american way more and more. and one day, the prime minister and the leader of the

Opposition got together, to figure out what would genuinely solve the problem. “decriminalize all drugs from cannabis to crack, but” — and that’s not really what we think of as drug treatment when you’re ready, they’ll go to a garage, and they’ll say, the goal was to make sure that every addict in portugal they rediscovered bonds and relationships with the wider society.

Overdose is massively down, hiv is massively down among addicts. we live in a culture where people feel really increasingly vulnerable we were told we weren’t allowed to have our smartphones on, addicts who were told their dealer was going to be unavailable i’ve been talking about how disconnection is a major driver of addiction but i increasingly began to think that the

Connections we have if you have a crisis in your life, you’ll notice something. it won’t be your facebook friends who help you turn it round. and there’s a study i learned about from it looked at the number of close friends the average american believes the amount of floor space an individual has in their home and the result is we are one of the loneliest societies there

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Has ever been. we talk all the time in addiction about individual recovery, something’s gone wrong with us, not just with individuals but as a group, i didn’t go in to the discover the political stuff, the social stuff. and if you’re really candid, it’s hard loving an addict, and i think one of the reasons why this debate is so charged and the kind of scripts we’re told

For how to deal with the addicts in our lives i think everything in our lives is defined by reality tv, confront them with what they’re doing, and they say, if you don’t shape up, and i began to think, i began to see why that approach doesn’t work, and what i’ve tried to do now, and i can’t tell you i do it consistently because i love you and i don’t want you to be alone

Has to be at every level of how we respond to addicts, i think all along we should have been singing love songs to them, (applause)

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Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari By TED