Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari

One of my earliest memories is of trying to wake up
one of my relatives and not being able to. And I was just a little kid,
so I didn’t really understand why, but as I got older, I realized we had
drug addiction in my family, including later cocaine addiction. I’d been thinking about it a lot lately,
partly because it’s now exactly 100 years since drugs were first banned
in the United States and Britain, and we then imposed that
on the rest of the world. It’s a century since we made
this really fateful decision to take addicts and punish them
and make them suffer, because we believed that would deter them;
it would give them an incentive to stop. And a few years ago, I was looking at
some of the addicts in my life who I love, and trying to figure out
if there was some way to help them. And I realized there were loads
of incredibly basic questions I just didn’t know the answer to, like, what really causes addiction? Why do we carry on with this approach
that doesn’t seem to be working, and is there a better way out there
that we could try instead? So I read loads of stuff about it, and I couldn’t really find
the answers I was looking for, so I thought, okay, I’ll go and sit
with different people around the world who lived this and studied this and talk to them and see
if I could learn from them. And I didn’t realize I would end up
going over 30,000 miles at the start, but I ended up going and meeting
loads of different people, from a transgender crack dealer
in Brownsville, Brooklyn, to a scientist who spends a lot of time
feeding hallucinogens to mongooses to see if they like them — it turns out they do, but only
in very specific circumstances — to the only country that’s ever
decriminalized all drugs, from cannabis to crack, Portugal. And the thing I realized
that really blew my mind is, almost everything we think
we know about addiction is wrong, and if we start to absorb
the new evidence about addiction, I think we’re going to have to change
a lot more than our drug policies. But let’s start with what we think
we know, what I thought I knew. Let’s think about this middle row here. Imagine all of you, for 20 days now, went
off and used heroin three times a day. Some of you look a little more
enthusiastic than others at this prospect. (Laughter) Don’t worry,
it’s just a thought experiment. Imagine you did that, right? What would happen? Now, we have a story about what would
happen that we’ve been told for a century. We think, because there are
chemical hooks in heroin, as you took it for a while, your body would become
dependent on those hooks, you’d start to physically need them, and at the end of those 20 days,
you’d all be heroin addicts. Right? That’s what I thought. First thing that alerted me to the fact
that something’s not right with this story is when it was explained to me. If I step out of this TED Talk today
and I get hit by a car and I break my hip, I’ll be taken to hospital
and I’ll be given loads of diamorphine. Diamorphine is heroin. It’s actually much better heroin
than you’re going to buy on the streets, because the stuff you buy
from a drug dealer is contaminated. Actually, very little of it is heroin, whereas the stuff you get
from the doctor is medically pure. And you’ll be given it for quite
a long period of time. There are loads of people in this room, you may not realize it,
you’ve taken quite a lot of heroin. And anyone who is watching this
anywhere in the world, this is happening. And if what we believe
about addiction is right — those people are exposed
to all those chemical hooks — What should happen?
They should become addicts. This has been studied really carefully. It doesn’t happen; you will have noticed
if your grandmother had a hip replacement, she didn’t come out as a junkie.
(Laughter) And when I learned this,
it seemed so weird to me, so contrary to everything I’d been told,
everything I thought I knew, I just thought it couldn’t be right,
until I met a man called Bruce Alexander. He’s a professor
of psychology in Vancouver who carried out an incredible experiment I think really helps us
to understand this issue. Professor Alexander explained to me, the idea of addiction we’ve all
got in our heads, that story, comes partly from a series of experiments that were done earlier
in the 20th century. They’re really simple. You can do them tonight at home
if you feel a little sadistic. You get a rat and you put it in a cage,
and you give it two water bottles: One is just water, and the other is water
laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always
prefer the drug water and almost always
kill itself quite quickly. So there you go, right?
That’s how we think it works. In the ’70s, Professor Alexander comes
along and he looks at this experiment and he noticed something. He said ah, we’re putting
the rat in an empty cage. It’s got nothing to do
except use these drugs. Let’s try something different. So Professor Alexander built a cage
that he called “Rat Park,” which is basically heaven for rats. They’ve got loads of cheese,
they’ve got loads of colored balls, they’ve got loads of tunnels. Crucially, they’ve got loads of friends.
They can have loads of sex. And they’ve got both the water bottles,
the normal water and the drugged water. But here’s the fascinating thing: In Rat Park, they don’t
like the drug water. They almost never use it. None of them ever use it compulsively. None of them ever overdose. You go from almost 100 percent overdose
when they’re isolated to zero percent overdose when they
have happy and connected lives. Now, when he first saw this,
Professor Alexander thought, maybe this is just a thing about rats,
they’re quite different to us. Maybe not as different as we’d like,
but, you know — But fortunately, there was
a human experiment into the exact same principle happening
at the exact same time. It was called the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, 20 percent of all American
troops were using loads of heroin, and if you look at the news
reports from the time, they were really worried, because
they thought, my God, we’re going to have hundreds of thousands of junkies
on the streets of the United States when the war ends; it made total sense. Now, those soldiers who were using
loads of heroin were followed home. The Archives of General Psychiatry
did a really detailed study, and what happened to them? It turns out they didn’t go to rehab.
They didn’t go into withdrawal. Ninety-five percent of them just stopped. Now, if you believe the story
about chemical hooks, that makes absolutely no sense,
but Professor Alexander began to think there might be a different
story about addiction. He said, what if addiction isn’t
about your chemical hooks? What if addiction is about your cage? What if addiction is an adaptation
to your environment? Looking at this, there was another professor
called Peter Cohen in the Netherlands who said, maybe we shouldn’t
even call it addiction. Maybe we should call it bonding. Human beings have a natural
and innate need to bond, and when we’re happy and healthy,
we’ll bond and connect with each other, but if you can’t do that, because you’re traumatized or isolated
or beaten down by life, you will bond with something
that will give you some sense of relief. Now, that might be gambling,
that might be pornography, that might be cocaine,
that might be cannabis, but you will bond and connect
with something because that’s our nature. That’s what we want as human beings. And at first, I found this quite
a difficult thing to get my head around, but one way that helped me
to think about it is, I can see, I’ve got over by my seat
a bottle of water, right? I’m looking at lots of you, and lots
of you have bottles of water with you. Forget the drugs. Forget the drug war. Totally legally, all of those bottles
of water could be bottles of vodka, right? We could all be getting drunk —
I might after this — (Laughter) — but we’re not. Now, because you’ve been able to afford
the approximately gazillion pounds that it costs to get into a TED Talk,
I’m guessing you guys could afford to be drinking vodka
for the next six months. You wouldn’t end up homeless. You’re not going to do that,
and the reason you’re not going to do that is not because anyone’s stopping you. It’s because you’ve got
bonds and connections that you want to be present for. You’ve got work you love.
You’ve got people you love. You’ve got healthy relationships. And a core part of addiction, I came to think, and I believe
the evidence suggests, is about not being able to bear
to be present in your life. Now, this has really
significant implications. The most obvious implications
are for the War on Drugs. In Arizona, I went out
with a group of women who were made to wear t-shirts
saying, “I was a drug addict,” and go out on chain gangs and dig graves
while members of the public jeer at them, and when those women get out of prison,
they’re going to have criminal records that mean they’ll never work
in the legal economy again. Now, that’s a very extreme example,
obviously, in the case of the chain gang, but actually almost
everywhere in the world we treat addicts to some degree like that. We punish them. We shame them.
We give them criminal records. We put barriers between them reconnecting. There was a doctor in Canada,
Dr. Gabor Maté, an amazing man, who said to me, if you wanted to design
a system that would make addiction worse, you would design that system. Now, there’s a place that decided
to do the exact opposite, and I went there to see how it worked. In the year 2000, Portugal had
one of the worst drug problems in Europe. One percent of the population was addicted
to heroin, which is kind of mind-blowing, and every year, they tried
the American way more and more. They punished people and stigmatized them
and shamed them more, and every year, the problem got worse. And one day, the Prime Minister and
the leader of the opposition got together, and basically said, look, we can’t go on with a country where we’re having
ever more people becoming heroin addicts. Let’s set up a panel
of scientists and doctors to figure out what would
genuinely solve the problem. And they set up a panel led by
an amazing man called Dr. João Goulão, to look at all this new evidence, and they came back and they said, “Decriminalize all drugs
from cannabis to crack, but” — and this is the crucial next step — “take all the money we used to spend
on cutting addicts off, on disconnecting them, and spend it instead
on reconnecting them with society.” And that’s not really what we think of
as drug treatment in the United States and Britain. So they do do residential rehab, they do psychological therapy,
that does have some value. But the biggest thing they did
was the complete opposite of what we do: a massive program
of job creation for addicts, and microloans for addicts
to set up small businesses. So say you used to be a mechanic. When you’re ready, they’ll go
to a garage, and they’ll say, if you employ this guy for a year,
we’ll pay half his wages. The goal was to make sure
that every addict in Portugal had something to get out
of bed for in the morning. And when I went and met the addicts
in Portugal, what they said is,
as they rediscovered purpose, they rediscovered bonds
and relationships with the wider society. It’ll be 15 years this year
since that experiment began, and the results are in: injecting drug use is down in Portugal, according to the British
Journal of Criminology, by 50 percent, five-zero percent. Overdose is massively down,
HIV is massively down among addicts. Addiction in every study
is significantly down. One of the ways you know it’s worked
so well is that almost nobody in Portugal wants to go back to the old system. Now, that’s the political implications. I actually think there’s a layer
of implications to all this research below that. We live in a culture where people
feel really increasingly vulnerable to all sorts of addictions,
whether it’s to their smartphones or to shopping or to eating. Before these talks began —
you guys know this — we were told we weren’t allowed
to have our smartphones on, and I have to say, a lot of you
looked an awful lot like addicts who were told their dealer
was going to be unavailable for the next couple of hours. (Laughter) A lot of us feel like that,
and it might sound weird to say, I’ve been talking about how disconnection
is a major driver of addiction and weird to say it’s growing, because you think we’re the most connected
society that’s ever been, surely. But I increasingly began to think
that the connections we have or think we have, are like a kind
of parody of human connection. If you have a crisis in your life,
you’ll notice something. It won’t be your Twitter followers
who come to sit with you. It won’t be your Facebook friends
who help you turn it round. It’ll be your flesh and blood friends
who you have deep and nuanced and textured, face-to-face
relationships with, and there’s a study I learned about from
Bill McKibben, the environmental writer, that I think tells us a lot about this. It looked at the number of close friends
the average American believes they can call on in a crisis. That number has been declining
steadily since the 1950s. The amount of floor space
an individual has in their home has been steadily increasing, and I think that’s like a metaphor for the choice we’ve made as a culture. We’ve traded floorspace for friends,
we’ve traded stuff for connections, and the result is we are one of the
loneliest societies there has ever been. And Bruce Alexander, the guy who did
the Rat Park experiment, says, we talk all the time in addiction
about individual recovery, and it’s right to talk about that, but we need to talk much more
about social recovery. Something’s gone wrong with us,
not just with individuals but as a group, and we’ve created a society where,
for a lot of us, life looks a whole lot more
like that isolated cage and a whole lot less like Rat Park. If I’m honest, this isn’t
why I went into it. I didn’t go in to the discover
the political stuff, the social stuff. I wanted to know how to help
the people I love. And when I came back from this
long journey and I’d learned all this, I looked at the addicts in my life, and if you’re really candid,
it’s hard loving an addict, and there’s going to be lots of people
who know in this room. You are angry a lot of the time, and I think one of the reasons
why this debate is so charged is because it runs through the heart
of each of us, right? Everyone has a bit of them
that looks at an addict and thinks, I wish someone would just stop you. And the kind of scripts we’re told for how
to deal with the addicts in our lives is typified by, I think, the reality show “Intervention,”
if you guys have ever seen it. I think everything in our lives
is defined by reality TV, but that’s another TED Talk. If you’ve ever seen
the show “Intervention,” it’s a pretty simple premise. Get an addict, all the people
in their life, gather them together, confront them with what they’re doing,
and they say, if you don’t shape up, we’re going to cut you off. So what they do is they take
the connection to the addict, and they threaten it,
they make it contingent on the addict behaving the way they want. And I began to think, I began to see
why that approach doesn’t work, and I began to think that’s almost like
the importing of the logic of the Drug War into our private lives. So I was thinking,
how could I be Portuguese? And what I’ve tried to do now,
and I can’t tell you I do it consistently and I can’t tell you it’s easy, is to say to the addicts in my life that I want to deepen
the connection with them, to say to them, I love you
whether you’re using or you’re not. I love you, whatever state you’re in, and if you need me,
I’ll come and sit with you because I love you and I don’t
want you to be alone or to feel alone. And I think the core of that message — you’re not alone, we love you — has to be at every level
of how we respond to addicts, socially, politically and individually. For 100 years now, we’ve been singing
war songs about addicts. I think all along we should have been
singing love songs to them, because the opposite of addiction
is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari

  1. i wish my mother would watch this. im that addict and she turned her back on me and we havent spoke since. but what she doesnt know is that im sober now for 2 yrs. but i need to forgive her just as she needs to forgive me….but i havent yet. n now its been 5 yrs since we last spoke………that felt good to get off my chest. thank you comment section;)

  2. I'm Portuguese and know the drug situation here. What you said here is NOT TRUE. What they did was give Methadone to stop criminality and destroyed Casal Ventoso which was the main source of heavy drugs. At some point, these rehab programs almost stoped. There was not a great help for job or somewhere to live. Simply, you would be identified (like it still happens now) and, if you where on the Methadone program, you could lower your sentence for some crimes you committed because of your addiction. Addicts would be beaten by the police, ashamed, taken their drugs (even if it was just a small amount that was obviously just for their own use).
    What you say here is what the government wants you to know because it looks good.
    Again, IT'S NOT TRUE!

  3. its important to note that in Portugal drug dealing is crime as well as possess drugs in larger quantities than the personal dose, and if a drug addicted is catched using drugs they will only be apriended and they will be encouraged to go to a reabilitation center. wat im tryig to point here is that the fact that the drug are decriminalized doesnt mean that is legal to sell and you will find them everywere

  4. “I love you and I don’t want you to be alone” is a phrase I’ve been begging to hear for so long… hearing it from him at least gives me hope that there are people who think this way about addicts. Thank you for this talk, I really needed it.

  5. I come back to this video everytime I need to tell someone why I decided not to use AA or other substance focused approach to deal with my addiction, and every time I watch it again I cry

  6. I have been a drug addict for years it was the life and friends I was addicted to. I've been clean almost a year I miss my friends and hope they are OK.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information with us all!
    Connect with addicts and love them despite everything – that's the most important lesson I've learned today 🙂

  8. Yes, a thousand times yes! Real, flesh and blood connections create that bliss we wish to experience. There are so many ideologies that divide us. Identity (perceptions of ought versus is), religion (this god versus that god), racism (your color versus my color), the list goes on. Whatever ideology promotes the idea that some are less than others is a sad and terrible burden on the human condition.
    Taking the speakers analogy: God is the ultimate facebook celebrity. People handle his profile and how the masses are supposed to view him, he never reacts, but we let his minions interpret the world for us in a way that reflects the image they want us to have of him. They serve us That, nothing more than a framing device coz how could they, and make us feel oh so super special that we eat it up. Astonishingly many actually say "I know that guy, personally", with sincerity and conviction. We're then taught to perpetrate that idea on our children, to get them while they're young and impressionable. None of us will live to see the day, but some day i hope humanity will recover from highly communicable diseases such as racism and religion and develop resistences till they're gone and stay gone

  9. Don't buy it! I have a brain that tells me to stay away from things that will harm you no matter whose doing it! Been in the hospital, after surgery and had the sense enough to say NO to Oxy and instead Tylenol 3 for a very short time! It is self-inflicted! You know it could kill you but you keep on no matter what in spite of everyone's help. YOU DON'T CARE SO WHY SHOULD WE?????

  10. I've been through addiction myself and came through the other side. A lot of the truths I came to myself on my journey I see this man speaking about today. I see a lot of the programs that are running for addiction today, for example the 12 step program, are actually counter productive to beating addiction as they teach that an addict is an addict for the rest of their lives which having tried 12 steps, I know what this realization does to a persons mind. It solidifies the issue within the persons psyche that they are a drug addict for life and can only achieve maintenance in the long term.. Surely people must see the destructive nature of this concept. How can anyone overcome an absolute? I'll leave it there as this fallacy is self evident but people in the industry of recovery need to start pushing for social change which removes these fallacies of concern and the theory that punishment is effective in change as I know personally that I achieved change with no urges to use or triggers today because I was lucky enough to find people who new they had to give me my humanity back in order to become human again….

  11. i dont want to step on anyones toes… but what this dude is saying is pure bullshit made to make people "see the light"…

    im sry to tell you but negotine IS more addictive than eating apples… your body do urge for those chemicals… its not like eating pizza for 30 days and then try to stop eating pizza… sure it can be mental challenging to stop eating pizza and you can even feel the taste of pizza you want so bad when its not there… all that are the same… the psychological aspect is true…

    the difference is that you start sweating and puking when you stop smoking heroine… i didnt do that when i stopped eating fast food… i dont know the names of the chemicals and why they release the dopamin your body become independant on… im not gonna try to sound like a doctor… but it pisses me off that this dude is being sold as a saint when he really is a liar that doesnt respect peoples ability to make their own choices…

    some people believe the goal is all that matters… they dont care if you have another opinion than them… all that matters is that you forfill their goals in life… not your own… only theirs…

    those are called normal people…

  12. We all know something is wrong.
    Our society is broken and so are many of its citizens.
    We must stop breaking people and start rebuilding.

    We must fix the broken, and raise the fallen.

    Or the broken may just burn us all to the ground.

    "There's room for everyone at the rendezvous of victory"

  13. We all know something is wrong.
    Our society is broken and so are many of its citizens.
    We must stop breaking people and start rebuilding.

    We must fix the broken, and raise the fallen.

    Or the broken may just burn us all to the ground.

    "There's room for everyone at the rendezvous of victory"

  14. addiction is always linked to feeling good and easing pain, best way to get rid of addiction is to be at peace with the demon that feeds the pain in your Pandora's box that you keep buried in your subconscious. Any past pains and losses are to be eased by the freedom of addiction, these feelings are the demons that are actually on a different plain of existence and the can sense your pain and feed off it, pray to your guardian angel to keep these demons away they are always hearing you all around everywhere and they will hear you for the creator has many working for him, all you need to do is find that peace inside to forgive yourself and others for the pain we all cause.

  15. I couldn't agree more. The most significant thing that I heard him say is If someone wanted to make addiction worse the American model of rehabilitation and deterrence through legislation that criminalizes drugs and their use and abuse.

  16. 'I love you, whether you're using or you're not, I love you whatever state you're in, and if you need me, I'll come and sit with you,
    because I love you and I don't want you to be alone, or feel alone.'

    Damn, that hit me so hard man, if someone would actually say something like that in real life then i might actually see the world in a positive way again & make my window look less tempting.

  17. Thank you Thank you Thank you
    one of the hundrefs of utube i've seen-
    MightyThanks to You Tube also. Note this presenter.
    This vdo has helped me to learn and see clearly a lot about the addiction some of the people I knew.
    Makes me feel easier. And am glad I had the good sense not to be hard on them as others.
    Lots of love to all of you guys at TED too.

  18. Human Value and Love are absolute, not conditional; however, Love goes hand in hand with justice because anarchy is NOT freedom or love. WHO will answer the questions about: meaning, purpose, love, suffering, forgiveness, and hope? In relative worldview, all the above term's definition get distorted.

  19. It's probably not that the US government didn't know this… Someone/some people are/were making lots of money behind by maintaining the drug issue to a certain level… Who knows where the money is going, and how the money's being dealt? Only the ones who deal with that money, and a small group of people that are effectively silenced or considered ridiculous.

  20. This evening, a young black man, probably in his middle to late twenties, climbed up on a pole @ the O'Brien's Bar on King Street, & was balancing himself on this pole by leaning on an adjoining pole for 5 – 7 hours. The police finally got him down by spraying him with a fire hose blast of "Pepper Spray;" which would have made him fall to the ground; but he had also tied himself to the pole with the electrical wire that was attached to the pole. His sister was there trying to coach him down; but he was determined to stay up there! Obviously, he was under the "influence" of drugs &/or alcohol.

  21. I buy everything.. except that they didnt go through withdrawal. That's a physical process u cant get away from. If u add morphine to the body we stop producing endorphins. And it takes a few weeks for the body to acclimate to the new situation. That's withdrawl.

  22. You can stop the video at 5 minutes. Happy and connected lives. You are not alone and you are talented, unique, and special. It gets better.

  23. You've just confirmed what I already know, I always tell my friends I wouldn't do drugs if there were things to do in my area.

  24. There are two types of addictions .. physical and psychological. That "your body cant function without it" is the physical addiction. When you take opiates / opioids, your body stops producing endorphins which is the bodies natural pain killer and when released they go to the exact receptors in the brain that opioids (heroin] does. If you keep taking them, your body starts to depend on the opioids for pain killing instead of endorphins.

    If you stop taking the drugs right away, you will go into withdrawal. Withdrawal is the exact opposite of what the drug was doing .. withdrawal ends when the drug is out and your body starts producing endorphins again.

    And where exactly do you think all these heroin addicts came from? A VERY large % of them got hurt, started meds, got hooked and moved to cheaper heroin.

    Not to many started by just sitting there one day and thought "u know what? No ones home, Im going to go by some heroin today"

    So many lose everything bcuz of it.. jobs, family, house etc.. for a lot of ppl the connections were there when they started, they started fading away after..

  25. I am 40 years old. Through my early teens to my early 20s I Party Like a Rockstar. I had friends I had a social life I was a typical person. Somewhere in my mid-30s I began to isolate myself. I still don't know how or why it happened. I did spend a lot of time alone as a survival instructor and enthusiasts. I was very hard for right-wing nut American gun toting Constitution believing American. I recently just got out of a rehab center where I only spent 18 days. My goal was to detox off of medication that had just taken control of my life. Suboxone I truly believed I was chemically addicted. As I had no addictive personality prior in my life. The biggest problem with our society and addiction is the outdated 12-step program. Don't get me wrong if it is working for someone then let them use that. But as I sat through the classes in group meetings at rehab one thing came to mind they kept beating it and everyone's heads that they are a victim. To a disease that has no cure they can't help their selves. I interrupted a few different classes and was kicked out. Telling him that they are wrong that every one of us had a choice and we made the wrong choices. I believe the only reason addiction is classified as a disease is to back big Pharmaceuticals and doctors. During my time in rehab. There was a group of 16 people out of those 16 people 12 of them had been at the same facility and we're on their 4th to 7th attempt. Right there was enough to prove to me that their system was not working. I even started writing letters to the director counselors and stuff and they just dismiss me. This Ted Talk is by far one of the best for addiction. So anyone out there who has been told that you cannot help yourself that you are a victim to a disease that you cannot control. Know this it is psychologically proven that if you beat something into someone's head eventually they start to believe it. Neuroscience right now is on the verge of many breakthroughs. As long as no more funding is cut and are allowed to continue the research they're doing addiction amongst other many ailments will be cured by 70%. We are proven without a doubt that as an individual 70% of our own illnesses are manifested by our thoughts and actions. If you think your sick you will become sick. Our brains are very complicated. Sorry for the long continuous ramble but I just wanted to say what I had to say


  27. I like this guy but it’s commonly understood that Heroine on its own isn’t the total story of addiction, it’s the environment and association of pleasure that is what caused the addiction. If you take granny who associates pain relief with heroine she’ll exhibit the same behaviours if she’s in pain and not getting the medicine she associates with that pain relief, exactly like a heroin user.

  28. Although im not addicted to drugs, ive been addicted to exercise for years and recently have been struggling with anorexia. Addiction is so hard, and when people shame addicts it breaks my heart.

  29. "Not being able to bear to be present in your life."

    That's it right there. The most important, accurate and defining detail of addiction of all types. It's not even necessarily 100% of every day. But the more "addicted" you are, the less you want to be present in your life.

    This is why addiction is not a function of the drug itself. It's a function of the individual. In fact, addiction can be a great thing if the alternative is suicide because you can't bear to continue living. But like most things, it's generally only temporary, though it can last for a long time. The solution is to build a life you want to be present for. Which, unfortunately, is harder than it sounds and something that all humans everywhere struggle with even if it's a subconscious struggle.

    But the real takeaway is that Drug Prohibition is more harmful than the drugs themselves. You take someone who generally despises their life and then you make their life worse and make it harder for them to get a better life. I'm not sure how long it will take before the US finally understands that Drug Prohibition is as harmful to society as Alcohol Prohibition was.

  30. Finally…someone who makes perfect sense. This gentleman did this out of love for his family. Instead of treating addicts to feel like monsters, just the opposite, treats them like humans with a problem or a dis-ease. I salute this gentleman for his research and hard work to give a real solution to this horrible problem. Now if only our government and general society would embrace these truths we'd have something to be proud of.

  31. This is hands down the most powerful ted talk i've watched. it's not only because i think the topic is extremely relatable at some extent in this ever – growing modern & lonely society, but the amount of insight and knowledge he shares related to the topic, proving his years of dedication that he had put through in order to explain all of this to us (13:45). I respect him and deeply feel sorry for what happened to him that started this long journey yet thankful for the outcome that he make as a respond to that traumatic memories.

  32. No, actually, a lot of people become junkies after being in the hospital… You should check out the opiod crisis

  33. A great talk,most of it stuff Ive heard before but this was better organized also did any one else notice the way he had his notes on his hand? I just might try that some day

  34. I've been saying this for 35 years and most people think you're crazy when you explain that drug use is a humanity problem, not a criminal act. The one thing he misses is that there are a small percentage of the population with serious brain chemistry problems where no amount of connection will get them off their drug of choice. So, hmm, let's spend 1% of the DEA budget on brain research to then give those individuals highly vulnerable to addiction a cure. Problem solved.

  35. Very good talk but I have one issue with it. You can't hope to steer the conversation from a chemical remedy for addiction to a social one by completing disregarding the pharmcodynamics of addictive drugs. Changing your social environment is obviously important but you still have to acknowledge how addictive drugs affect the body.

  36. How do you explain addiction to cigarettes then? They don'treally do anything for you and give you cancer. Lots of people with good lives smoke but are physically addicted.

  37. I love pain killers, it's the person not the pills I am fine don't have to take 1 every day ,been taking them 10 years..v for vicodin…😁😁😁😁😀

  38. I find it impossible to believe that the soldiers that were doing 'loads of heroin' just stopped. No fucking way man. Either they weren't doing enough, it wasnt any good, and/or the study is horseshit. Heroin is EXTREMELY physically addictive, and it's a medical impossibility to do it for a long period of time without withdrawal. Doesn't matter if you're an 'addict' or not.

  39. He's 50% right….it IS partially about an emotional bond. BUT opiates ARE PHYSICALLY addictive. You DO get horrible… HORRIBLE withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms CAN push you to suicide. I KNOW FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE and I didn't have any drug experience until I was 29yrs old and it infact started with a car accident that gave me OXY for my neck and back injury!

  40. What. A Pile of💩 Crap. This guy is a absolute idiot. He obviously knows zero about 👿 Satan. Get lost man.

  41. Its a deep ohilosophical question. Many answers written hundreds of years ago. This approach isnt just benefitial to addicts but of many mental disorders. Its hard when someone says its not theyre fault and ita a chemical imbalance, because at that point, theyre not able to change in their minds. Because its not there fault. "It is what it is." I find if someone is unwilling i shouldnt speak on anything, to help. I think the most crucial step to being healthy, is realizing you have no excuse, you simply havent wanted ti change. Just like me! I was very willimg to change and felt terrible that i couldnt. Until i saw changes outside of myself. The outter worlds reactions confirms growth. I had to want that. I had to want that despite of everyone else. Now i have to understand the percepton of my past, so is not to be held back by a lack of faith

  42. This is an interesting perspective and proposal to address the matter. Having worked in addictions as a mental health professional, and having done so for 15 years, I can authoritatively say that much of the addictions milieu falls outside of this presenter's perspective.

  43. This guy is wrong at times. The examples are case specific and don't tell the full conditions.. Good message and goal though thank you.

  44. From looking at all the comments, and also how he delivered this talk… Johann Hari I hope you look back at this once in a while and remind yourself that you changed a lot of lives and millions of perspectives, and allow yourself to call it a victory – i truly believe it is.

  45. I really wish id of seen this along time ago. I had an addict in my family someone i loved with all my heart ,this person had been an addict for since early teenage life and we as a family slowly cut this person out of our lives. 4 weeks ago this person was found dead at the wetlands just behind my house. All though the course of death is written as inconclusive upon the coroners report i wonder if death was due to lonliness. My heart is so broken with this loss my family has had and i know i shall never heal from it ill just learn to live with it. Maybe if id of known this was the best way to deal with an addict i could of prevented my broken heart and the broken hearts of my family and this person would be living a wounderful life with us. Listen to this people because yes having an addict in your family is hard on your lives, but your lives become harder to live without them.

  46. The only friends I've ever kept that I communicate with mainly over technology are the ones who I met and developed a deep connection with in person, and then they moved away.

  47. Nice talk, I gave it a thumbs up, however it’s not always that simple to reach out and offer love and support. Many addicts are actually happy to stay in their misery as the challenge to change requires a lot of hard work and effort that not everyone is up for or even capable of. Also, a lot of addicts have an innate misanthropic and nihilistic mindset, and many enjoy being the proverbial victim.

  48. So true! Im only tempted to eat candy at work when I'm doing something that doesn't interest me… Otherwise I have no problem eating healthy!

  49. All addicts should have an ultimatum. Get clean or be purged. Stop this bullshit compassion. We need DUTERTE'S
    way of dealing with these fuckers.
    These Addicts rob, steal, and murder. Get rid of this scourge, and crime will drop 99%. What a beautiful world we would have if there were no more assholes

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