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Randolph Nesse on Efforts to Prevent Drug Addiction

Summary:
Criminalization and interdiction have filled prisons and corrupted governments in country after country. However, increasingly potent drugs that can be synthesized in any basement make controlling access increasingly impossible. Legalization seems like a good idea but causes more addiction. Our strongest defense is likely to be education, but scare stories make kids want to try drugs. Every child should learn that drugs take over the brain and turn some people into miserable zombies and that we have no way to tell who will get addicted the fastest. They should also learn that the high fades as addiction takes over. New treatments are desperately needed.—Randolph Nesse, Good Reasons for Bad Feelings, in Chapter 13, “Good Feelings for Bad Reasons.”

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Criminalization and interdiction have filled prisons and corrupted governments in country after country. However, increasingly potent drugs that can be synthesized in any basement make controlling access increasingly impossible. Legalization seems like a good idea but causes more addiction. Our strongest defense is likely to be education, but scare stories make kids want to try drugs. Every child should learn that drugs take over the brain and turn some people into miserable zombies and that we have no way to tell who will get addicted the fastest. They should also learn that the high fades as addiction takes over.

New treatments are desperately needed.

—Randolph Nesse, Good Reasons for Bad Feelings, in Chapter 13, “Good Feelings for Bad Reasons.”

Miles Kimball
Miles Kimball is Professor of Economics and Survey Research at the University of Michigan. Politically, Miles is an independent who grew up in an apolitical family. He holds many strong opinions—open to revision in response to cogent arguments—that do not line up neatly with either the Republican or Democratic Party.

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