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Harrison Narcotics Act Still Fostering Violence, Addiction 100 Years Later


marijuana prohibitionConcerned citizens and a coalition of organizations including representatives from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) will gather in cities nationwide on Wednesday, December 17th at noon on the steps of courthouses and other civic buildings. These demonstrations are in response to the 100-year anniversary of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 and call for responsible drug policy reforms that put doctors back in charge of helping people overcome substance addiction.

The Harrison Narcotics Act is considered one of the first American prohibitionist policies. While on its face the law merely regulated opiate and cocaine products in medical settings by licensing those involved in the market, a portion of the bill was interpreted to mean that doctors no longer had the authority to prescribe narcotics as a maintenance treatment for patients already suffering from substance addictions. As a result, addiction and associated violent crimes became a much more serious issue than before. In response, the Secretary of the Treasury organized a committee to identify possible solutions. Despite the fact that use of illegal drugs had increased since passage of the Act, the committee believed that punishment would be enough to deter addiction and concluded that enforcement should be more harshly imposed.

The consequences of this misinterpretation and increased enforcement have resulted in mass incarceration of people who would be far better served by medical and psychological professionals than the penal system. Despite significant research indicating that heroin prescriptions benefit the health and well-being of the user as well as the community in which they live, heroin maintenance programs are still not permitted in the U.S.

“The Harrison Narcotics Act resulted in widespread miscomprehension of addiction and 100 years later we are just now beginning to address the problems it created,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “We’re arresting countless nonviolent offenders, spending increasing amounts on incarceration and enforcement, yet the number of drug overdose deaths has risen dramatically. Cops clearly aren’t qualified to solve this problem.”

After the Harrison Narcotics Act was implemented, doctors immediately understood the problems associated with criminalizing addiction. An editorial in American Medicine in 1915 reported, “[The addict] is denied the medical care he urgently needs, open, above-board sources from which he formerly obtained his drug supply are closed to him, and he is driven to the underworld where lie can get his drug…and in violation of the law….”

In 1940, Indiana University psychologist Professor Alfred R. Lindesmith echoed his predecessors, “Solemn discussions are carried on about lengthening the addict’s already long sentence and as to whether or not he is a good parole risk. The basic question as to why he should be sent to prison at all is scarcely mentioned. Eventually, it is to be hoped that we shall come to see…that the punishment and imprisonment of addicts is as cruel and pointless as similar treatment for persons infected with syphilis would be…. The treatment of addicts in the United States today is on no higher plane than the persecution of witches of other ages, and like the latter it is to be hoped that it will soon become merely another dark chapter of history.”

LEAP is a nonprofit of criminal justice professionals who know the war on drugs has created a public safety nightmare of increased gang violence, police militarization and the fueling of dangerous underground markets.


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. Blah blah, kickashits, blah blah, good with axes, blah blah, going to jail, blah blah, veteran, blah blah, forcibly removed. Blah blah blah.

  2. Nope, I stopped reading after you repeated your threats, and went straight to the FBI. But I’m sure this is just me being unfair about being threatened. Have fun in prison, asshole.

  3. You’re about to be forcibly removed, AGAIN. You’ve issued threats of violence over the internet, so I’ve reported you to the FBI. The good news is that once you’re arrested, you’ll be able to see my name, as I had to supply my identity to file the complaint. The bad news, however — all your big talk is about to put you in big trouble.

  4. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    “Stressing that addiction in the United States should not be handled by the Justice System is vitally important, but we must be wary of past lessons learned. We might end up swapping one label (criminal) for another (addict) with all the same societal trimmings, included”

    this makes you my friend and I can forgive my friends and forget the anger, which is the way of all great meetings of mind and matter. when the tribes first approach each other in the valley were one people and they knew and understood all that was inside the valley……. and on the out side nearer the mountains was another people and they understood the ways and nature of the mountain….

    no way could be readily seen no path of mutual communication …… so a rock was thrown to draw attention was the intention but the result was war at the idea that the valley was being attacked by the mountain.

  5. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    Johnny green is a persona a non-person my name is not a persona I attach my name to my statements because I believe in what I preach I never intend to threaten or abuse anyone, However if you cannot stand in the heat don’t go in the kitchen because we are cooking in here no punks allowed. this is medicine and the laws are totally wrong the abuse is monumental the greed and manipulation is ongoing and institutional. WE ARE STILL IN A DRUG WAR only now we are able to fight in the open air of day.
    here is a small understanding …… if you think cannabis is going away don’t hold your breath………it could be fatal.

  6. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    WOWFAD you have a total of 3 followers and no identity….. are you hiding because your creepy or because you lack conviction for what you espouse to believe? AS far as finding me just Google my name and read or ask a neighbor almost any cannabis smoker in the Willamette valley Eugene oregon will know who I am and where to find me no brag just fact bring it on dude It will give me something to chew on. warning I regularly practice my skills in martial arts I was a weapons sergeant my back yard is a weapons hanger and yes I can still split a mans skull with a hand axe at 50 yards in the dark deadly and final just like I was trained to do come on over I’ll show you and if your lucky and I like your story I may let you leave of your own will. yeah fucking right a veteran an angry post traumatic stressed out vet bring your pansy waste attitude and see how far you can walk carrying the load I dump on you for being stupid and racist and when people read about it you will still be stupid and racist. and that is not a slurred or hidden meaning. if I have to quote you again to show you your own mind set you really are stupid I suggets you delet the persona of WOWFAD and begin again with a new name like KKK the identifying letters of a national tribal affiliation not officially recognized by the federal government but still what can you say about folks that hide in political refuge.

  7. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    As a child of 8 I was forcible removed from my grandfather’s home on the KICKAPOO RESERVATION IN KANSAS.
    taken several thousand mile away and placed in a school operated by subsidies from the federal govenment given to good christian people to BEAT THE INDIAN OUT OF THESE CHILDREN……. the Indian so affectionately referred to was the culture of wild crafted hand made existence eked out of what was left of a ravaged country torn apart by war and greed. the 1800’s too 1930 is a term in history that you don’t have a voice in WOWFAD unless your are a tribal enrolled member of a tribal nation on this continent I do I am an enrolled tribal member in fact I am a first nations Elder and you have my name in this post so your face could be wiped clean of egg if you don’t use the same wipe for your ass. while your eating a crow sandwich. hmm racism and ignorance i wonder if that is a symptom of? maybe your father’s instruction …. don’t’ worry you can change Wowfad really you can keep struggling you’ll get there keep trying to read and understand smoke more write less and read alot no insult intended really .

  8. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    and you still don’t read do you? (However, don’t be surprised when you’re arrested by the FBI for issuing threats on the internet, instead. You see, threatening people is ILLEGAL, dip-shit. Veteran or no, you can spout on about the Kickashits and make all the threats you want to make in a 10×10 jail cell.) AT what point does inviting you to exercise your option to identify where and who I am and come visit me unannounced become a threat and further I would introduce you to many of the more extreme aspects of PTSD as it is contagious and I would gladly share it with youso you can get your OMMP card and actually begin to participate in the topic you so affectionately subscribe too non-grower non-cannabis user what the hell are you an alcoholic with a coffee addiction and a typewriter? why don’t you write another dictionary of bible or something. stop abuseing Native American People with racist comments and public slurrs about the pronounciation of a common cultural name. FBI hey they already know and visit my home on a regular basis. when you find and visit me un announced I will introduce you to them

  9. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    The Kiikaapoi were one of many Great Lakes Tribes that occupied the western portion of the woodland area in southern Michigan near Lake Erie. However, European invasion changed the lives and cultures of these woodland tribes forever. When the Iroquois War (1641-1701) occurred it forced many northeastern tribes west into the Great Lakes Region. The refugees of the Iroquois incursions were forced to flee into neighboring Indian countries, leaving behind their homelands. Among these Great Lake Nations forced to flee, was the Kickapoo. The incessant depredations of the Iroquois had forced the Kickapoo to flee to neighboring Wisconsin, occupied largely by the Winnebago and Menomonee Nations. War, trading disputes, along with the epidemics of disease brought by the oncoming Europeans, was the driving factors of this shift of nations. By 1701, the Iroquois had lost a great deal of its power and fell at the hands of the Great Lake Tribes and Algonquian Nations. At this point, the tribes that had fled into neighboring Wisconsin were free to move on into their own territory. The Kickapoo never returned to Michigan, instead they found an opportunity to eliminate their adversary, the Illinois Tribes and conquer the lands they claimed in the present-day Illinois and western Indiana. A few factors that impacted the decision for the Kickapoo migration from Wisconsin into the Illinois country, was (1) Kickapoo-French relations (2) Sioux incursions and (3) the success of the tribes in the wars with the Illini Confederacy (Iroquois). The occupation of a great portion of the Illinois country and western Indiana proved to be beneficial to the survival of the Kickapoo Nation and their allies. Adaptation to the plains life was nearly effortless. The Kickapoo and their allies occupied this territory throughout the remainder of the 1700’s and on into the middle of the 19th century. Up until around 1832, the Kickapoos resided in the Illinois country, until the infamous United States treaty-making period. The Kickapoo Tribe entered into 10 treaties with the United States government from 1795 to 1854 These treaties brought devastating consequences; the treaties shifted the homelands of the Kickapoos from Illinois to Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Mexico. Today, the Kickapoo is divided into four separate bands, The Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, The Kickapoo Tribe in Oklahoma, The Texas Band of Kickapoo, and the Mexican-Kickapoos.

  10. LOL. Sure thing, sparky. Just give me your name and address. However, don’t be surprised when you’re arrested by the FBI for issuing threats on the internet, instead. You see, threatening people is ILLEGAL, dip-shit. Veteran or no, you can spout on about the Kickashits and make all the threats you want to make in a 10×10 jail cell. I wasn’t aware PTSD made people THIS rock-stupid. So go ahead, give me your information. I should warn you, it will be best if you keep your hands where the feds can see them at all times. Perhaps you’ve read about veterans who’ve been gunned down in their own homes by law enforcement simply because they thought their service rendered them immune to society’s rules. Time to see if you have the courage (and the stupidity) to stand behind your convictions, Mr Kickafeces. Let’s have that address.

  11. LOL — Like I said before, finish high school, then come back. By the by, intelligence has two L’s, and “affect” has to do with sensation — you were wanting to say “effect.”

  12. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    Okay M SIMON: I have been reading and SO far this posting has resolved several political movements with a single statement ” chronic use is in response to chronic pain and can become very much like addiction but not a true physical addiction as in life threatening without blood type of need.
    The introduction of the topic was the Harrison act of 1914 I wanted to see what kinds of response would initiate from introducing a prior to 1914 common knowledge practices of a cannabis culture that existed before and during the time of prohibition so from 1800’s to 1930 when prohibition was enacted why to help show where and when the false ideas of addiction come from.

  13. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    and you got off topic and insulting to NAtive american People Hey — this is the WEED BLOG. Nobody gives two shits about the Kickapoo. Off topic! Moving on. which is what should be expected from your inteligence and experience and you don’t understand how THe Kickapoo Nation In Kansas come into affect of the domain WEED BLOG and you believe falsely that you understand

  14. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    don’t celebrate Christmas and I don’t know who my mother is I am a decorated veteran if you would like to visit me on my property after dark unannounced I will introduce you to what post traumatic stress syndrome is……without guilt or remorse. not a threat just a promise my property is protected by your laws whiteman. Oh and just so you know youre still commenting kind of like standing around with your fly open green bean 10 days ago M simon replyed to you with this comment”Do you understand PTSD? It is chronic pain. Look up “opiates PTSD”. Also “veteran PTSD opiates”. Which I already suggested and which you evidently haven’t done.

  15. Over the internet? Woooooo, I’m scared. Been a while since a 13 year old stumbled across this blog. Perhaps you should finish high school before you try any more passive threats, Junior.

  16. And like I just said, given your handicap, I forgive you. Frankly, it’s amazing you can even type. YOU ARE SO BRAVE

  17. You keep repeating that — like I’m not the new-comer. I’m very-much aware of the fact this is the Weed Blog. And since drug policies for other substances don’t exist in a cannabis-free vacuum (or vice-versa), discussing how those other substances are handled policy-wise through both the Justice and Health systems is a beneficial comparison. Or do you jump all over people who say they should treat cannabis like alcohol, too? “We’re not here to talk about alcohol. This is the WEED blog.”
    So when we have a larger discussion about addiction, anyone who butts in to tell us we’re off-topic appears to be a myopic troglodyte who doesn’t have two neurons to rub together. But I’ll let you off the hook because you’re obviously only half as smart as such a person. That sole neuron of yours must get lonely. Must be why you’re digging your baseless topicality argument an even deeper hole a WEEK later. I guess mommy and daddy didn’t buy you a new brain for Xmas, huh Strawman?

  18. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    I don’t believe it was a war on pain …. ohnthat is the flag the were waving but the real goal was control of an emerging industry. just like always greed.

  19. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    again really? you bring the harrison act into the weed blog for comment on treatment of addicts ….. the innuendo goes without statement and is a passive aggressive action toward the legalized use of a vegetable because this is the weed blog not AMA central……

  20. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    you are attempt to create a reasoning for your point of view toward cannabis use on the comparison of alcohol or other white drugs….correct? ……. my statement is that cannabis is a vegetable and the science of producing medicine from that vegetable belongs specifically to the Kickapoo Nation In kansas it is from these beginnings that other people began looking at cannabis as a possible medicine IN THIS COUNTRY ON THIS CONTENINENT and that should reflect in your next idea of drug addicition. why well because before anyone told you … you were not addicted and now maybe you can understand an adult concept of proximity learning which is what the govenrment did to the Indian children and what does this have to do with addiction……all the bad stuff had to be TAUGHT out of the Indian children all of the Indian childrens parents were ADDICTS AND DRUNKS did you not know that was the push for land requisition west to SAVE THE SAVAGE kill the indian…… ROSEVELT said it about the same era THE ONLY GOOD INDIAN IS A DEAD INDIAN. and yes that was about alcohol and herione and morphine and all the other opiate use during the time. AND THE USE AND PRODUCTION OF MEDICINE BY KICKAPOO DOCTORS being exploited by agents of non-Tribal decent (whiteman). do you think they just floated across the missouri and suddenly everything was written?

  21. To broaden your knowledge base may I suggest a look into “PTSD genetics”.

    In humans it will be difficult to quantify the trauma variable. So that will be a confounding factor in the human research. There is at this time no way to measure PTSD. There was some hope a few years back that such a test would be developed (I think Raphael Mechoulam was involved) but I have not heard anything since.

    And just for your amusement – my field is aerospace engineering. And to top that off I’m self taught.

  22. What Umanoff fails to take into account is that about 20% of the population has the genetics and yet only 10% exhibit the symptoms. And yes. I would expect a bell curve although I did not predict it. My guess is that it is an interaction of variable genetics with variable trauma. Add in that the trauma effects are not necessarily permanent (decay over time) and you get a more complete picture.

    A proper large scale research study would of course settle the question or at least shed more light on it. Knowledge of the genetic factor alone would end the war on opiate addicts.

    Totally agree with a revolution must occur in the addictions field.

    BTW you need a trigger that decays over time to account for the 5% of addicts who spontaneously quit every year. They don’t do it by will power as Umanoff suggests. The PTSD recedes. I wish the Max Planck Institute study on mouse PTSD was still on line. It shows PTSD decaying at different rates depending on mouse genetics. I would guess that there is a threshold and that will power could change it some, but would not make it infinite. So will power might speed up “kicking”. It would not eliminate addiction.

    It is doubtful the research will get done in the US because of all the interests profiting from “addiction”. Especially all the “treatment” centers. What a bunch of crooks. The cure rate from these centers is probably about 5% a year. And on that basis the government shovels them billions and individuals shovel them billions more. Note: I have yet to see any cure rate stats from them.

  23. I must say, its actually nice to have a conversation about all this in an intelligent & respectful manner, even if there are some disagreements. I only point that out bc, like others, I’ve been at this for over a decade & in my experience that’s rare. So, many thanks….
    Umanoff’s Hypoism says that there’s a bell curve for those born w/ the brain disease (which he, of course, calls Hypoism) that causes the symptom of addiction(s). And from all the studies/research I’ve read, and been part of, it does seem quite clear that Leshner’s “Gateway drug / hi-jacked brain” hypothesis is very outdated, incorrect & damaging on just about every level (except maybe what happens w/ endogenous neurotransmitters when an exogenous addictor is used). Hypoism is supported by Hiroi’s work in regard to genetic critically low functioning reward cascade. I think a lot of what happens is ppl confuse associations w/ cause. No matter, a revolution must occur in the addictions field for the addictions mess to improve (however that must happen). I support unfettered legalization & just about every form of harm reduction (including seat belts : ). Autonomous thinking belief seems to play a significant role in stopping progress. Meanwhile, nothing changes. I for one hope discussions like this one continue. Enough w/ the “don’t confuse me w/ the facts, I’ve already made up my mind.”

  24. It is only against their will because of

    1. Laws
    2. Addiction is not recognized as a response to pain.

    BTW bad decision making, and poor evaluation are a known features of PTSD (the pain).

    wowFAD makes a very good point about schizophrenics. I would also point out that taking pain relievers after getting a tooth pulled is not against the will of the person suffering. And if we recognized other pains the whole idea of addiction goes away. It is superstition.

  25. The genetics if you look into it is about 20%. This can also be determined by the PTSD rates from vets returning from war. Their rate runs to 25%. Which probably means that the genetics has selection advantage for military service.

    In the general population only 1/2 get enough trauma to activate the genetics. So you get the 10% number. Given variations in the severity of the trauma and variations in genetics people use different drugs to deal with their condition. And the “addiction” lasts for different lengths of time.

    About 5% of opiate “addicts” spontaneously quit every year. Which says that the brain changes trauma produces are not necessarily permanent. Once the trauma is removed.

    BTW eating food generates the body’s natural opiates. Endorphins.

  26. Well I was using the term addiction in the technical sense. You are using it in the general sense. That sort of thing causes a LOT of confusion. Technically addiction is why some one who has no physical dependence will go back to using.

    There is no treatment for addiction. There is only treatment for physical dependence. There is an industry collecting billions from that misunderstanding. And they HAVE to know better. Because it is well documented in the literature and why there are two terms to describe the general condition.

    Prohibition is so corrupt in so many ways.

  27. I’m afraid you’re not quite correct. It’s not that 10% of the population *can* become addicts due to a genetic predisposition — it’s different for every person and every substance. If person A is an addict, it’s not that he can become addicted to anything under the sun. I gave the example of Freud to demonstrate this: he stopped using cocaine, cold-turkey, but kept smoking cigars until his jaw had to be removed due to the tumor. He was clearly addicted to one, but not the other, although I doubt there is a specific addiction gene for every potential chemical combination, which explains why rates of addiction are different substance to substance, as well as why a person who is a raging alcoholic might be able to quit smoking in a week, and vice-versa.
    I agree addiction is something that happens in the brain, but you’re still using far too broad a paintbrush. 10% of the population are not “addicts” or criminals, for that matter. Most of the time, the word “addict” gets thrown onto someone, unfairly, to justify something that’s being forced upon them. Schizophrenics who engage in drug-seeking behavior (literally trying to quiet the voices in their mind) are not addicts, although they fit all of your given criteria. I’d agree such a person certainly has a brain disorder — I’d even grant they have a genetic predisposition (for schizophrenia), but can you not see the systematic disservice your definition would do to such a person?

  28. LOL — The fact that you’re claiming your mind is centered while you’re belligerently lecturing someone who AGREES WITH YOU makes your anecdote quite incredible. You haven’t been able to follow this conversation from the beginning, my friend. Your mind is about as centered as a three-wheeled wagon. For the LAST time, we were not even entertaining the possibility that cannabis causes addiction OR physiological dependence (in the way I have described) — we were talking about OTHER substances. And I bet you’d know that reason if you READ the articles before you comment on them. Your other reply to me demonstrates you didn’t even bother reading the title, let alone the rest of the article. Re-center yourself, read the article, and maybe you can participate in an adult discussion.

  29. Well, smart guy, the title of this article was “Harrison Narcotics Act Still Fostering Violence, Addiction 100 Years Later”
    I sure wonder how ADDICTION even came up.

  30. I don’t think you fully understand what I’m saying although I don’t disagree with you. Come back to the thread and read all the material I have posted since your post.

  31. OK. K Kendler gets it. The one thing he leaves out which would make his point clearer is PTSD. Then you can add in veterans to his mix of parenting, and sexual abuse. The other things he mentions are symptoms.

  32. There is a comment on this page http://www.substance.com/why-liberals-love-the-disease-theory-of-addiction-by-a-liberal-who-hates-it/12116/

    September 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    That discusses poly-genetics. Very good. But that does not tell us why only about 1/2 the people with the genetics are addicts. The answer is trauma.

    It is too bad that addiction “science” does not know more about PTSD. But I do agree on the main point: Drugs Do Not Cause Addiction.

    And Fn Joe Biden. What scum.

  33. So let me see if I can shrink it all down.

    People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers
    If the pain is PTSD there is
    1. A genetic component
    2. A trauma component

    The trauma activates the genetics.

    There may be other pains but that is the main one.

  34. If the original Bayer experiment looked at 10 people there is about a 1 in 3 chance that they would miss the addictiveness of heroin. .9^10=.349

  35. Hypoism –> Yes. I discussed it with him years ago. I don’t fully recall our conversation but I do recall that he had one or two essential pieces missing. I’ll look at it again and see if I can recall what I disagreed with. — A quick look does not bring back any memories.

    It may be that his theory is strictly genetic and does not recognize the need for a trauma trigger.

    It is also possible that he may have modified his theory since our original discussion. On further examination he hasn’t.

    On top of that he believes in “recovery” from addiction. You don’t recover. The pain stops and you quit. What my theory says is that the drugs/behaviors are medication for undiagnosed pain. Think of how many apple carts that would upset if accepted. Acceptance will be slow.

    All he got right was the genetic component. Very good. But that is only half.

  36. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    controlling what people need to survive is an old world military ploy food is food poison is poison propaganda to control the masses and keep the working force stupid and vulnerable to exploitation

  37. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    well you did a good job of making an empty bucket statement…….cannabis is a vegetable and I am addicted to vegetables now you may be able to explain that simply enough without prejudice or undue concern right and since this is the WEED BLOG maybe your mind could make some really far fetched connection between pain killer addiction and the use of cannabis to resolve pain incur healing and provide clarity to memory. what I have found in my personal medical history is that the absolute continual use of cannabis either edible topical internal respire steam bathe sweat lodge ingestion or smoke the more centered and present my mind becomes and my body does as my mind directs it rests when needed active and strong without pain though deeply wounded emotionally strongly aware of trust issues. I am able to survive within my community with the direct support of my family and friends WITHOUT THE USE OF ANY WHITE DRUGS> period end of discussion.

  38. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    right ……so whats addiction got to do with cannabis since this is the WEED BLOG, was my point exactly bucket blogger you LOL

  39. K Blum’s Reward Deficiency Syndrome was ultimately flawed due to the incorrect monogenetic premise vs polygenetic reality. The overall basic concept was correct, however. K Kendler (MCV) along with Dr Hiroi (Albert Einstein Institute NY) have both since independently concluded that the poly-genetic addiction causation medical model is the “best fit.” All of which definitively debunks Leshner’s “hi-jacked” brain (HBH) addiction causation hypothesis which is still being used for prevention, treatment, recovery & public policy to everyone’s peril. Prohibition itself is based on this incorrect addiction causation hypothesis (HBH) and continues to do damage and destroy countless lives. This is why addiction causation matters so much.

  40. Neurophysiological Adaptation (tolerance/withdrawal) is physical dependence; Addiction is using a substance, behavior, belief/idea to change the way you feel AGAINST YOUR WILL. The two are very real yet very different. Anyone can become physically dependent whereas only those with the required genetics are addicts (roughly 10%). This distinction is very important. Understanding addiction causation is one of the most important issues of our time. It is this misunderstanding that is the cause of all the problems. Once this gets sorted out, prevention, treatment, recovery outcomes, as well as & public policy, will improve drastically. Those born without the necessary genetics, can use addictors with impunity. Addiction, however, is not a disease but a symptom of a disease. It goes like this:
    1. Addiction (symptom)
    2. Decision making disasters (symptom)
    3. Evaluation mistakes of self & others (symptom)
    Addiction is a symptom of a brain disease that roughly only 10% have, the rest can use addictors with impunity. Addiction causation must be understood for there to be any progress made. Unless and until this is acknowledged, the mess will continue unabated. One disease=one pathology and all the other fundamentals apply. Wrong premise = wrong conclusions, etc.

  41. There is no heroin menace. You are of course familiar with the initial Bayer experiments with heroin. The first 10 or 11 people they tried it on didn’t get addicted. And it was “AHA a non-addictive opiate”. Because they were operating on your assumption. The drug causes the addiction.

    So in 1914 we started a war on people in pain. It wasn’t until we understood PTSD better that a clear understanding was possible. The key for me was Dr Lonny Shavelson’s finding that 70% of female heroin addicts were sexually abused in childhood. Bingo.

  42. Get off your soap box, stranger. I’ve been posting on this blog for years, which is why I know you haven’t. You nosed into a conversation you *STILL* fail to understand. I never said cannabis is addictive. Quote me saying so, if I did say it. I said addiction exists. Addiction to alcohol exists. Addiction to tobacco exists. Addiction to opiates, ice cream, coffee, and sleeping pills ALL exist. My friend was claiming those things do not exist, and I told him he’s wrong and gave a detailed explanation of WHY.

    If you can’t wrap your head around these *simple* assertions, if you’re just trying to pick a fight, I’ll oblige you, but it’s going to be two weeks of me dragging you by the nose towards the point that’s already plainly stated above — there is such a thing as addiction.

  43. I’m quite familiar with the theory you expound. It is obsolete.

    This is much simpler and explains more: “People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers”

    BTW the “reward” you mention is relief from pain.

    Now your theory tells us nothing about why most people who try drugs don’t get addicted. What you are saying is that “drugs cause addiction”. There is NO evidence for that. Very few who try them get addicted. My simple explanation does answer that question: most people are not in pain.

    Let me add that I have been arguing/discussing this with people of your opinion for 12 years. No theory that opposes mine answers as many questions.

    BTW the “pain” is mostly PTSD. You might want to look up “PTSD opiates” and “PTSD veteran opiates” for some more background.

    There is a genetic component for long term PTSD. You might want to look up “genetics PTSD”. That explains why not everyone who has experienced a LOT of trauma gets addicted.

    My guess is that you were taught your explanation. I actually did my own original research. It all became clear to me about 2002. All the pieces fit. It is simple and easy to understand. The hall marks of a good theory.

  44. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    no you are attempting to make a comparison that does not exist. and I am stating that with increased use of cannabis product all addictive behaviors can be nullified. stop referring to cannabis use as any form of addiction unless you mean an addiction to good health and wholesome food. oh and FYI this is the WEED BLOG

  45. Correct. Physiological dependence as I’ve carefully defined it is PART of addiction. I already specified that I was NOT talking about physiological dependence in the sense that they need substance X to treat medical condition Y. I was talking, specifically, about continuously taking substance X to avoid the withdrawal syndrom of no longer taking substance X — medical condition Y doesn’t enter into it.

    For example, consider medical condition Y to be a broken leg that required surgery. The patient is prescribed substance X for the pain. The patient continues to take substance X, even after his leg has healed, not because it feels good, not because his leg hurts, but because it will feel VERY bad to stop.

    There’s a difference between that situation and someone who takes medication to treat PTSD or fibromyalgia. That’s why I was careful — and deliberate — when I said addiction has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Blanket statements inevitably lead to people getting addiction treatment when they don’t need it and jail when they need addiction treatment.

    I don’t know how I can express this concept any more clearly, and you’re getting defensive, so this conversation is over.

  46. We were talking about opiate overdoses, not cannabis. You can tell because we used the words “OPIATE” and “OVERDOSE” over and over and over. At no point did anyone imply cannabis is physiologically addictive. Slow down and READ — don’t jump to conclusions, pal. Your lecture on green beans was very unnecessary.

  47. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    not just human … this is planetary…. STRESS creates a marker and anthropologist use these mARKERS TO IDENTIFY GENITIC CHANGES WITHIN AN ANIMAL SPECIES OR PLANT GENOME.

  48. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    you are not completely reading the article before you comment” no evidence of opiate addiction” is in reference to the institutions providing rehab care……THEY have no public evidence of opiate addiction within a community no practical studies yet shotgun blast a community with CANNED CARE…. just short of jail….nothing to help mental thought processes begin to form habits of thought and produce habits of action. with the idea … provide THIS CARE ( counter productive support) gte funding and provide more of the same because this shows the public something Now for 6 months… most meth users die in that time frame. using cannabis is not using opiates, it is not using heroine it is not using downers or uppers or WHITE DRUGS…………at all. now if we as a people on this continent demand that if you are addicted to white drugs you must use cannabis continually during awake hours until the addiction to white drugs is publicly and privately stopped by community examination and support. I believe folks would find a permanent cessation of white drug addiction and develop good mental health through the association with gardeners and learning to grow their own medicine a harmless vegetable flower with a beautiful appearence. But what would happen to all the self important TheRapist therapists that need those jobs and define this industry.
    what we need as a people is to educate our children how important eating vegetables is cannabis is a vegetable not a drug.

  49. You are confusing physical dependence with addiction. Not surprising if you haven’t studied the subject in depth. Which is why I like commenting on these type articles. The more people know the better they can argue the issues with prohibitionists.

    So I agree there is dependence. Addiction is made up. People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers.

  50. The genetics is built in. About 20% of the population has it. About 10% get enough trauma to activate it. In Iraq about 100% got it activated. Rough place.

  51. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    wowFad: why are you clouding the current issues of cannabis with your drug abuse familial history … or are you talking about another person ………….
    the point is CANNABIS IS A VEGETABLE can you overdose on green beans …. yes but it … well I don’t know if too many green beans can hurt you I tell you what wowFad how about your see if you can overdose on green beans and get back to us while your eating maybe you should do some reading cause you will be in a good place to do it.

  52. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    I agree with your concern expressed toward WOWFAD obviously another non reader attempting to voice what everyone everywhere feels…………….until a few years ago nobody knew what PTSD was or is still.
    folks think its because of stress …they are correct however it is more than stress it is the beginning of genetic change…….
    those of us that recognize will be able to prosper and those that attempt to express greed and lust will expire……..

  53. seriously, m. simon? you must not be very good at research. look up reward deficiency syndrome, the reward cascade and the genetic predisposition towards ADDICTION, as well as compulsive and impulsive behaviors due to a dysfunction in the production of dopamine…the world is about to be introduced (finally) to what makes addiction a disease (of the brain), as well as to a non-pharm product that can return proper brain function and eliminate cravings…it’s very frustrating to read so many misinformed ‘opinions’ stated as facts on the subject of addiction…that’s what has lead to things like the harrison act, mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenders and the over crowding of jails…people with no credentials or experience, being given a forum to speak as if they know a thing or two, and all of the sheeple buying into it…

  54. Do you understand PTSD? It is chronic pain. Look up “opiates PTSD”. Also “veteran PTSD opiates”. Which I already suggested and which you evidently haven’t done.

  55. I know people that if they stop their pill addiction get the shakes, so don’t sit there and tell me their is no evidence of opiate addiction, bull shit

  56. I’m not sure we’re talking about the same thing, then. Addiction isn’t caused by chronic pain. People who eat a gallon of ice cream every day aren’t treating pain, and I don’t think Freud was treating chronic pain with his cigars. Nor can addiction be solely qualified by whether or not a detox occurs. Again, Freud never detoxed, and the morbidly obese don’t need to first lose the weight to know they’re addicted to food.

    I’m addicted to caffeine — I don’t drink coffee to stay awake nearly as much as I drink it to avoid the headache I’ll get if I don’t have at least two cups a day.

    Likewise, there are patients who continue taking medications simply to avoid suffering through the withdrawal. Perhaps I wouldn’t call that addiction, necessarily, but that’s certainly a physiological dependence born out of the need to avoid the pain of not having that substance, anymore. Not the pain of an underlying condition resurfacing — the pain of withdrawal sickness.

    The same is true of most types of medications, as well (not just opiates). I had a friend who was taking Paxil simply because she thought stopping would be too painful. She considered herself physiologically dependent, not because her mood depended on it, not because the legal system said so, but because she knew, with certainty, she couldn’t stop taking it without making herself terribly sick.

    Medication continues, tolerances build, doses increase, and eventually, our bodies just can’t take it, anymore. Over 33k overdose deaths per year. 15k per year overdose on opiates, alone. The caffeine will kill me, eventually, as well.

  57. As to tobacco dependence. I’d bet that could be solved by substituting cannabis. With its anti-cancer properties it might work really well.

  58. Well I had a reply for you and it went into moderation and now seems to be gone.

    Science doesn’t decide anything. Evidence decides.

    I have looked high and low for evidence of addiction and have failed to find any. I have found evidence of dependence. But that can be solved with detox.

  59. Addict is what they call some one they don’t understand. The understanding is fairly good now. PTSD. Mild cases use pot. Severe cases use opiates. Look up “opiates PTSD”. Also “veteran PTSD opiates”.

    You are confusing the necessity for detox with addiction. Addiction is when a user goes back to using after detox. And “addiction” is caused by chronic pain. Just because the pain is undiagnosed does not mean it is not real. Look up “fibromyalgia opiates”. Before they found out fibromyalgia was a real condition they called those folks addicts.

    I’m not buying the war on opiates any more than I’m buying the war on cannabis. I’m have not studied stimulants. I would expect the same sort of thing.

  60. That’s for science to decide. Addiction is not a simple subject to discuss. Sigmund Freud was a habitual user of cocaine, but he was able to quit using it cold-turkey when he learned that it wasn’t healthy to use it. However, he kept smoking cigars until his jaw had to be removed because of the tumor he developed — a tumor he hid from his friends and family for three years, as he knew they’d make him give up cigars. IMHO, I’d say he was addicted to cigars but not addicted to cocaine. Addiction is something that must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

    Perhaps the rates of opiate dependence have been exaggerated, but I would not go so far as to say opiate addiction is a myth. Again, that’s for science to decide in a politics-free zone.

  61. There is no evidence of opiate addiction either. People in Chronic Pain Chronically Take Pain Relievers.

    About 70% of female heroin “addicts” were sexually abused in childhood. Chronic pain enough for you?

    Look up “Dr Lonny Shavelson heroin”

  62. Stressing that addiction in the United States should not be handled by the Justice System is vitally important, but we must be wary of past lessons learned. We might end up swapping one label (criminal) for another (addict) with all the same societal trimmings, included.

    Most folks involved in cannabis activism are aware of the monstrously overstated case for cannabis addiction. There is little evidence of physiological dependence. There is no appreciable withdrawal syndrome — maybe some trouble sleeping and some irritability, both temporary. Not to say cannabis cannot be habit-forming, like ice cream, but you will not risk injury/death if you stop consuming cannabis cold-turkey after years of habitual use (unlike heroin or alcohol).

    One would hope that science would dictate policy, if we were to start treating addiction as a medical issue. But I have my sincere doubts. Keep in mind “addiction is a medical issue” is the same line “Rehabitionists” like Kevin Sabet use. They envision a new era of the Drug War in which tax payers no longer pay for lengthy prison sentences, but instead, the “addict” is court-ordered to enroll into and pay for an expensive treatment program they probably don’t need.

    Large private equity firms are buying up and consolidating rehab clinics for a reason: they’ve placed their bets on Kevin Sabet getting the job done. They want to turn addiction treatment into a for-profit industry, which means they’re going to want all the “customers” Kevin Sabet can wrangle. Ensuring *actual* addiction gets treated under the health system while also ensuring cannabis consumers aren’t lumped in with them will be very difficult.

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