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#632#633#634#635 Episode #636 - Bilking The Afflicted
(Addiction, Drugs and Capitalism)



Sat 29 December 2012  David Nutt, Gabor Maté, John Cawley
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2This week we turn our attention to the 'War on Drugs', which as addiction specialist Gabor Maté points out is of course a war on drug users. We start with a hour on "The Science of Drug Politics" by former UK Government Chief Drugs advisor, Professor David Nutt whose testimony clearly suggests that scientific considerations were only of minor interest to the politicians he was supposed to advise. Next we hear Dr. Maté who touches on some of the reasons why the War On Drugs may not be a failure after all...
We begin this show with former UK Government Chief Drugs advisor, Professor David Nutt whose evidence shows that scientific considerations are of minor interest to the politicians. He explains how his evidence-based scientific approach to drug safety was at odds with that of the politicians whom he was supposed to be advising. Facile as it may sound, his boss flatly refused to countenance comparing the safety of legal activities with the consumption of illegal dugs - whilst simultaneously insisting that these same drugs had to be illegal due to their (apparently presumed) dangers.

Next we hear Dr. Gabor Maté who, speaking from his decades of experience in dealing with drug addicts, asks some simple but profound questions which expose the lie of the modern 'war on drugs'. If the drugs themselves are addictive, then why do people have such widely differing rates of addiction and recovery? What about the very strong correlation between abuse as a child and intra-venous drug use as adults? His implied conclusion is that the establishment - in the form of for profit prisons, self serving law enforcement and judiciary and a power hungry executive - are preying on a most vulnerable social group for their own murky purposes, and that we should, to quote Joe Hill, not mourn but organize!

We conclude the show with most of the first half hour of a 2012 lecture by Professor John Cawley entitled "Reefer Madness, Frank the Tank or Pretty Woman: To what extent do addictive behaviors respond to incentives?". Focussing on drug addiction in particular, he examines the evidence for different models of how addiction affects people's choices. How concerned should we be about addictive behavior? The talk introduces three models of addiction:

  1. Reefer Madness (Insatiable, irrational appetites)
  2. Pretty Woman (Completely rational addiction)
  3. Frank the Tank (More or less sophisticated )
The full talk is available for download below:
After being wrongly released with low audio quality, this episode was fixed on 2013-01-22
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