TED Talk: Everything you know about addiction is wrong

In his TED Talk Everything you know about addiction is wrong, Johann Hari argues that addiction rates would radically drop if as individuals and societies we practiced love and social connectivity.  To make his case he reviews addictive drug research from the early 20th centuries.  In this research rats were placed in cages and given the option to drink from two water bottles, one that is laced with heroin.  Primarily, the rats preferred the heroin laced water, and often they’d die from overdose.

Later researchers realized that rats were self-medicating because they were stressed by their non-social, sterile, non-normal environment.  If you left rats in their typical environments, especially surrounded by their social network, they would nearly entirely avoid heroin laced water for regular water when presented the choice.

Hari argues that modern western society is the most socially unconnected society in the world and that drug use is a symptom of broken social relations.  If we loved and connected more, addiction rates of all types (drugs, food, pornography) would all precipitously drop.  Hari appeals to the case of Portugal which, since 2001, has decriminalized all drugs, with some interesting and potentially significantly positive results.  See more here and here.

About Taylor Halverson

I love learning. I love connecting. I love interdisciplinarity.
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