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The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, January 18, 2008

Why We Can’t Cure Addiction Medically

The decline of the steel industry and the former U.S. industrial heartland -- now known as the Rust Belt -- has left behind poverty, unemployment, hopelessness and drug abuse, the Associated Press reported Jan. 16.

This news is news to no one who is alive and awake. In areas left hopeless, substance abuse and addiction will prevail, as night follows day. To even suggest that addiction medicine specialists could flood these areas (which would never happen – they prefer wealthier locales with better-insured residents) is to make clear how little treatment has to do with the larger addiction equation.

As I wrote a generation ago in the Los Angeles Times, addiction “is no more a treatable medical problem than is unemployment, lack of coping skills, or degraded communities and despairing lives. The only remedy for addiction is for more people to have the resources, values and environments necessary for living productive lives.”

My latest book, Addiction-Proof Your Child, is about the generation of young people being produced in the United States today. If they are susceptible to mind-altering experiences as fundamental involvements and crutches for life, then we are doomed to face increasing numbers of addicts. Better methods of treatment can never solve this crisis.