KEYC - Synthetic Drugs And The Fluid Understanding Of Addiction

Synthetic Drugs And The Fluid Understanding Of Addiction

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The 51st Nobel Conference turns their eye toward addiction, and in doing so, have invited a lot of experts that are challenging the status quo of what we consider addiction to be.

Which tied in with the question we wanted to ask them - what is behind the shift toward synthetic drugs, bath salts, etc.?
 
Sheigla Murphy, a medical sociologist and director of the Center for Substance Abuse Studies at the Institute for Scientific Analysis in San Francisco, says, "What I call the weird drugs, like bath salts and salvia - in some ways, particularly with young people, I think they're searching for a way to have drug experiences and reduce their risk."
 
Marc Lewis, a neuroscientist at Radboud University in the Netherlands, says, "I'm not sure about bath salts. It's somewhere between a stimulant and a psychedelic, I guess. Why do people take it - probably because they are looking for something new. They're looking for novelty. And drug-taking can become pretty boring, taking the same thing all the time."

Lewis, a professor in the Netherlands, doesn't think the science supports treating addiction as a disease

Lewis says, "We're not going to go into the brain and do neurosurgery for addiction. So we have to translate that knowledge into a social approach - a therapeutic approach."

And he's not alone. Tomorrow the Nobel conference will feature Carl Hart of Columbia University and his controversial research that allowed people to either take drugs, or receive a gift card.
 
Scott Bur, director of the Nobel Conference and professor of Chemistry at Gustavus says, "There's this idea that an addict just can't pass up an opportunity to take a hit. But it turns out they can make really rational choices. So he's going to turn some of the stereotypes on their heads and talk about why you have to watch who stands to gain financially from addiction studies."
 
Peg O'Connor, a professor of Philosophy and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at Gustavus and chair of this year's Nobel Conference, says, "When we think about it that way, we need to talk about public concerns, public policy, legal concerns, the economic impacts of addiction. As well as the health concerns of addiction. And this conference, with the experts we have brought together, we expect to traverse those different layers of addiction."

-- KEYC News 12.