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Addiction is a disease. We should treat it like one | Michael Botticelli

Addiction is a disease. We should treat it like one | Michael Botticelli


Twenty-eight years ago,
I was a broken man. And you probably wouldn’t be able
to tell that if you met me. I had a good job at a well-respected
academic institution. I dressed well, of course. But my insides were rotting away. You see, I grew up in a family
riddled with addiction, and as a kid, I also struggled with coming to terms
with my own sexuality. And even though I couldn’t name it then, growing up as a gay kid just compounded my issues
of isolation and insecurities. But drinking took all of that away. Like many, I drank at an early age. I continued to drink
my way through college. And when I finally did come out
in the early 1980s, about the only places
to meet other gay people, to socialize, to be yourself, were gay bars. And what do you do in gay bars? You drink. And I did — a lot. My story is not unique. Like millions of Americans,
my disease progressed undiagnosed. It took me to people
and places and things that I never would have chosen. It wasn’t until
an intersection with the law gave me an “opportunity” to get care, that I began my journey of recovery. My journey of recovery
has been filled with love and with joy, but it hasn’t been without pain. Like many of you, I’ve lost too many
friends and family to this disease. I’ve heard too many
heartbreaking stories of people who’ve lost
loved ones to addiction. And I’ve also lost
countless friends to HIV and AIDS. Our current opioid epidemic
and the AIDS epidemic tragically have much in common. Right now, we are in the midst of one
of the greatest health crises of our time. During 2014 alone, 28,000 people died of drug overdoses associated
with prescription drugs and heroin. During the 1980s, scores of people
were dying from HIV and AIDS. Public officials ignored it. Some wouldn’t even utter the words. They didn’t want treatment. And tragically, there are many parallels
with our current epidemic. Some called it the gay plague. They called for quarantines. They wanted to separate
the innocent victims from the rest of us. I was afraid we were losing this battle because people were
blaming us for being sick. Public policy was being held hostage
by stigma and fear, and also held hostage were compassion, care,
research, recovery and treatment. But we changed all that. Because out of the pain of those deaths, we saw a social and political movement. AIDS galvanized us into action; to stand up, to speak up and to act out. And it also galvanized
the LGBT movement. We knew we were
in a battle for our lives because silence equaled death, but we changed,
and we made things happen. And right now, we have the potential to see the end of HIV/AIDS
in our lifetime. These changes came in no small part by the courageous, yet simple decision for people to come out to their neighbors,
to their friends, to their families and to their coworkers. Years ago, I was a volunteer
for the Names Project. This was an effort started
by Cleve Jones in San Francisco to show that people who died of AIDS had names and faces and families and people who loved them. I still recall unfolding
the AIDS memorial quilt on the National Mall
on a brilliant day in October, 1988. So fast forward to 2015. The Supreme Court’s decision to strike
down the ban on same-sex marriage. My husband, Dave, and I walk over
to the steps of the Supreme Court to celebrate that decision
with so many other people, and I couldn’t help but think
how far we came around LGBT rights and yet how far we needed to go
around issues of addiction. When I was nominated
by President Obama to be his Director of Drug Policy, I was very open about my recovery
and about the fact that I was a gay man. And at no point during
my confirmation process — at least that I know of — did the fact that I was a gay man
come to bear on my candidacy or my fitness to do this job. But my addiction did. At one point, a congressional staffer
said that there was no way that I was going to be confirmed
by the United States Senate because of my past, despite the fact that I had been
in recovery for over 20 years, and despite the fact that this job takes a little bit
of knowledge around addiction. (Laughter) So, you know, this is the stigma that people with
substance use disorders face every single day, and you know, I have to tell you it’s still why I’m more comfortable
coming out as a gay man than I am as a person
with a history of addiction. Nearly every family in America
is affected by addiction. Yet, unfortunately, too often,
it’s not talked about openly and honestly. It’s whispered about. It’s met with derision and scorn. We hear these stories,
time and time again, on TV, online, we hear it from public officials,
and we hear it from family and friends. And those of us with an addiction,
we hear those voices, and somehow we believe that we are
less deserving of care and treatment. Today in the United States,
only one in nine people get care and treatment for their disorder. One in nine. Think about that. Generally, people with other diseases
get care and treatment. If you have cancer, you get treatment, if you have diabetes, you get treatment. If you have a heart attack, you get emergency services,
and you get referred to care. But somehow people with addiction
have to wait for treatment or often can’t get when they need it. And left untreated, addiction
has significant, dire consequences. And for many people
that means death or incarceration. We’ve been down that road before. For too long our country felt like we could arrest our way
out of this problem. But we know that we can’t. Decades of scientific research has shown that this is a medical issue — that this is a chronic medical condition that people inherit
and that people develop. So the Obama administration
has taken a different tack on drug policy. We’ve developed and implemented
a comprehensive plan to expand prevention services,
treatment services, early intervention and recovery support. We’ve pushed criminal justice reform. We’ve knocked down barriers
to give people second chances. We see public health and public safety
officials working hand in hand at the community level. We see police chiefs across the country
guiding people to treatment instead of jail and incarceration. We see law enforcement
and other first responders reversing overdoses with naloxone
to give people a second chance for care. The Affordable Care Act
is the biggest expansion of substance use disorder
treatment in a generation, and it also calls for the integration
of treatment services within primary care. But fundamentally,
all of this work is not enough. Unless we change the way
that we view people with addiction in the United States. Years ago when I finally
understood that I had a problem and I knew that I needed help, I was too afraid to ask for it. I felt that people would think
I was stupid, that I was weak-willed, that I was morally flawed. But I talk about my recovery
because I want to make change. I want us to see that we need to be open
and candid about who we are and what we can do. I am public about my own recovery not to be self-congratulatory. I am open about my own recovery
to change public opinion, to change public policy and to change the course of this epidemic
and empower the millions of Americans who struggle with this journey to be open and candid
about who they are. People are more than their disease. And all of us have the opportunity
to change public opinion and to change public policy. All of us know someone
who has an addiction, and all of us can do our part to change how we view people
with addiction in the United States. So when you see
someone with an addiction, don’t think of a drunk or a junkie
or an addict or an abuser — see a person; offer them help; give them kindness and compassion. And together, we can be part of a growing movement
in the United States to change how we view
people with addiction. Together we can change public policy. We can ensure that people
get care when they need it, just like any other disease. We can be part of a growing,
unstoppable movement to have millions of Americans
enter recovery, and put an end to this epidemic. Thank you very much. (Applause)

  • Many people with addictions don't want help. You can't give help to people who don't want to get better. However this totally opened my eyes with the parallels between LGBT stigma historically and addiction stigma. Hopefully I can be more helpful and less judging in the future.

  • So if people have stopped using drugs obviously there is a cure. On Saturdays I like to go to children's hospitals and ask 10 year olds why don't they just quit cancer? addiction is not a disease

  • Great talk, but it all rings a little false as Botticelli is very much against the legalization of marijuana. Is the federal enforcement of a black market good public health policy? I should think not.

  • Many Genes Influence Addiction. … Like most other diseases, addiction vulnerability is a very complex trait. Many factors determine the likelihood that someone will become an addict, including both "inherited" and environmental factors. inherited is not a choice

  • All studies which have investigated the link between addiction and socio-economic status found evidence linking likelihood of addiction and mental health issues (which are closely tied to addiction) to socio-economic status.

    These studies also put forward the reasonable hypothesis that it's the poor and powerless who are most likely to find themselves struggling and dying to an addiction because the kind of help they need (hint: other people reaching out and lending them a hand to get out of their situation, which has been proven repeatedly to be the most effective method of treating addiction) doesn't come. So what do these people who refuse to lend a hand say "let them be addicted it's their own fault". No it is the fault of circumstance, modern day meritocraticy doesn't work when you are born 5 steps behind as a poor kid in a bad neighbourhood with 3 younger siblings and an absent mother or father. That kid will inevitably triy drugs to escape the pain of their circumstances or just to feel free like all their friends say they do when they do it and then they become addicted because the high was so much better having started at ground zero. When they do, you can't just sit back and say "Well look they deserve to crumble through the cracks of society it's not my fault I am completely unwilling to do anything to help them before or after their circumstances led them down this statistically likely pathway, but what I will do is publicly shame them for their now uncontrollable addiction and cut them off from me because addicts are 'bad' people and it fuels my ridiculous superiority complex to think that." It's the same reason we have a drastic suicide problem with our youth at the moment, people are suffering and there is no help being offered, only arrogant contempt disguised as apathy. Funny how you get the same utterly ridiculous responses for that issue too "oh she was raped and couldn't handle it weak, oh he was bullied at school and came home to a physically abusive father, my dad hit me too and I didn't kill myself" etc.

  • I do not agree with him and neither does Peter Hitchens: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/02/the-fantasy-of-addiction

  • Its not a disease everyone wants to label things as that, because then you lose responsibility. Then it isnt your fault. People arent being taught to be strong thats the issue. fix that and youll have less addicts. It's true genes, play a role but they make it more likley that doesnt mean! now they must take drugs and stick with it , it is something you can surpass.

    Your opinions are dangerous

  • We can do as we wish, but we can never pick what we wish. For an unlucky fraction of us, the hard consequences that come from slavish pursuit of a substance are the only things that will make us wish enough to pry loose the monkeys on our backs. And, like any organic process, the progress will be, more often than not, sawtoothed, with many relapses.

    (A book worth reading on the subject is Mate's In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, wherein he makes the persuasive case that stress on the mother and child around infancy sets a person up for derangement of the ability to self-regulate pleasurable pursuits.)

    You may rage at the addict, with justification, if the addict did you harm (most likely the addict has raged at himself with at least as much venom). But what's the point of rage? If the goal is to render an addict productive (which it should be), and the most straightforward way of straightening the addict out is a treatment bed, offered as many times as needed (which statistics show is the right way to go–Nixon, of all people, got that policy right) then pay for the beds. Build one less B2 bomber. Tax Exxon some more. Think of it as making the choice to get clean easier.

  • Why is no one in the comments mentioning this; every addict ive known has had a traumatic upbringing. And addiction is their shortcut way of coping.
    I see addiction as a disease, with a psychological bases. I'm no scientist but I see the brain trying to use the physiological & chemical state induced by the high to numb or soothe whatever pain/memory the body is trying to deal with.
    The person becomes addicted because with more use of their choice substance, the brain becomes even more dependent and less able to produce those chemicals by itself.
    Just my 2 cents.

  • Addiction is normally untreated psychological disease. I am for example nicotine addict and despite stopping few times i still have weak moments of relapse. But what i learned is that it is primarily mental problem, psychology. One must find why he smoke or drink before u try to cure yourself.

  • This reminds me of the time I got help and got diagnosed with ADHD not only was I trying to better life and those around me no one would really helped and no one understood around me that mental health problems shouldn't be negatively stigmatised as does addiction.

  • Finally! More people with talks like this please Ted! He is brave, but hopefully one day we will not be calling him 'brave' and he will simply be talking about an injury as easy as someone talks about a how they healed a broken bone. And I hope help will be given to those with mental health injuries as fast as those with physical ones.

  • are you not able to think for yourself? are you not able to no the consequence of drugs? its called being a responsible human being… if you were unaware of the consequences… then YES you need help.. however.. most people are aware.. so let them die

  • I don't think addiction is a disease more than I think loneliness is a disease. It increases the death rate, and lowers the production rate. But in a society determined that free will is an existing concept, It ultimately stands on the shoulders of the carrier to solve these issues and hold the responsibility for them.

  • He called addiction a disorder… Addiction isn't a disorder. Every human being has the potential and capacity to become addicted to something. If anyone consumes enough of an addictive substance (as an example), they will become addicted to it. That's not what a disorder is. A disorder is something physically 'out of order' in a persons brain that makes their behaviour / experience of life different from a 'normal' person's (a neurotypical person who doesn't have a disorder). I'm not saying all this to try and disvalue the struggle of people who suffer from addiction – but I'm saying that I think he has his techincal facts wrong. If anyone disagrees, feel free to correct me / make a counter point, but I think that there is a difference between disorder and addiction. Not everyone can have disorders, but everyone has the cognitive potential to suffer from addiction.

  • Why are we calling everything a "disease" now? Depression is a disease. Addiction is a disease. Is this to get disability benefits?
    Why are we creating so many new diseases?

  • FYI: To All Concerned – Press Release from DEA:

    DEA Continues Its Drug Abuse Prevention Efforts with Prescription Drug Take Back Day This Saturday – Disposing of Unused Medications Prevents Drug Thefts, Abuse, and Overdoses

    APR 24 – (Washington, D.C.) – Addictive prescription drugs that are thrown away or left untended on shelves and in drawers at home are often stolen and either abused or sold by family members and visitors. That’s why the DEA and thousands of its state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners are holding another Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, April 29, from 10 to 2 local time, at over 5,000 sites around the country. The service is free of charge, no questions asked.

    America is experiencing an epidemic of addiction, overdose, and death due to abuse of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers. 6.4 million Americans age 12 and over—2.4 percent of the population—abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last fall, more than abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine combined. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms. The majority of prescription drug abusers report that they obtain their drugs from friends and family, including from the home medicine cabinet.

    Last October, Americans turned in 366 tons (over 730,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 12 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 7.1 million pounds—more than 3,500 tons—of pills.

    The public can find a nearby collection site here or by calling 800-882-9529. Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites—liquids, needles, or other sharps will not be accepted. This event will go on even if the Federal Government shuts down this weekend.

  • The disease is not the consumption of the drug, but rather we cannot live with ourselves without drugs. The disease seems to be of a social, and mental disorder. Resources should be applied to prevention rather than after the fact when damage has already been done. However in the political climate of today, this would be a non-starter especially in North America.

  • What about those who do not want treatment? Often treatment for addiction is something that must be forced on a person in order to save their lives. But with cancer and the like treatment services are chosen by the person who is sick.

  • My father is a life long alcoholic. It is NOT a disease. My grandfather died of cancer. My grandfather couldn't decide to stop having cancer. My dad could decide to not shove booze in his face. It's a crime to call something a disease that is a CHOICE.

  • when addiction affects white people its called a disease , when it affect blacks its a crime wave

  • Religion is also an addiction and needs to be treated like one and people infected with this addiction needs treatment!

  • Addiction is not a disease you scuzz buckets. Leukemia is a disease. A 6 year old can't stop taking cancer, a heroin junkie CAN stop taking heroin. This entire idea of you junkies letting yourselves off the hook by calling it a disease disgusts me. Say what you will amongst fellow addicts call each other whatever you want, just know that good hard working non junkies think you are monsters.

  • What is this? Starts a very interesting conversation about about addiction and being a homosexual. Then it just turns into an aids and LGBT rights speech. Either would be fine, but don't mix them please.

  • I was addicted to online gambling and then playing video games for the past 9 years because I could not accept my failure and tried to escape reality.

    I am now 30 years old and in my first semester of my bachelor's computer science degree at my University here in Germany. I really enjoy my new life and my study because it is very interesting. I am working on to improve my rusty math skills but I am glad that my university already cut the math part by quite a bit. I think I can do it even tho it will be still hard. I am loving it and solely concentrate on it.

    Tho I regret my addiction every day because I wasted so much time. I sometimes fall in a whole when I think too much about the past so I try to stay busy. I do now sport 5-6 days a week. I am every day tired but I feel good

  • Addiction takes the lives of many young men and women whose families are left with no way to give them a proper service. If anyone here can spare anything to help the family of a young man who just past, please do. https://www.gofundme.com/help-my-family-at-this-tragic-time

  • there should be no shame connected to this disease. but there should also be SANE OPOID PRESCIBING LAWS!!! I'm sick of people rushing to change the laws for the majority who do not abuse their pain medication and REALLY NEED IT. This reminds me of everyone rushing to give out long prison sentences for people who were buying crack for themselves . just dime bags used to fill up our prisons and jails. i'm sorry that what I predicted about changing these laws turned out to be true–just driving people to the streets and them getting them hooked on heroin.

  • Lol, wrong analysis, addiction is often only the consequence of a deeper problem..

    Knowing thyself is the real solution..

    Again, liberals propose solutions that would only make the problem worse..

  • What a waste of 10 minutes, not ONE tangible solution offered. Spent most the time talking about his feelings. The reason why addicts don't get treatment is not because it's not there. It's because they don't want it. It's the path of least resistance to live out their current way of being, we're genetically hardwired to avoid discomfort. It's a survival mechanism. I was an addict, and want know how I broke my disorder? By going against the grain, breaking the cycle, both the thought cycle and the cycle of actions. WHICH TOOK OWNERSHIP. It's funny how once I took responsibility for my life and circumstances, ever since then I look around in the world we live, all I see these days a weak minds looking for anyways to take the blame away from their own actions.  We should go back to the times where the stigma was embraced. STOP telling addicts that there's nothing wrong with them, STOP sugar coating a fucking lie. You people claiming this is a disease are wiping the board clean of all self-responsibility. Enablers and you don't even know it. There's nothing wrong with telling someone they're weak if it's the truth. Because within that truth lies the power to change it. You don't have to be weak. You CAN change that. But it's highly doubtful someone will take action on that when they've been spoon fed lies from their friends, family, and even some "professionals" their whole life,, telling them it's not their fault, that they aren't weak minded. You're all doing a disservice claiming addiction to be a disease, both to the addict themselves, and people who unwilling contracted a REAL disease.

  • Addiction isn't a disease and I don't care how they twist it. A disease is something with no choice and people with addictive personality have a choice. Yes they may need help but the addiction starts with personal responsibility and calling it a disease deflects from that personal responsibility.

  • They always will An have been treating it like a disease….one thing people need to learn is what makes a disease a disease…progression to worsen ones health in life an death…that's it…that is the only thing that makes or breaks it….Progression…

  • I could be wrong and someone please tell me if I am but by saying it's a habit is just about the same as calling it an addiction… You most likely have a habit/addiction of looking at your phone, computer, etc. tens, even hundreds, of times per day. Seems like it could be an addiction, but many don't see this as a negative problem in society. Therefore, it's not an addiction to a plethora of people, and many people would simply say "I have a habit of using my cellphone, and I'm not addicted I could go (insert amount of time) without my phone." We all know there is no truth in that, and that person would be dying for some form of technological interaction to replace the phone. In comparison to drugs/alcohol, if you take away illegal substances from what someone described as a "drug dependent addict" depends on, they could go through withdrawals or look for another way to get their "fix."

  • As somebody who suffers from many addictions, I still feel like labeling it as a disease takes power away from the people like myself with a problem. I know its a matter of willpower and at the end of the day, I am not afflicted with a disease that I have no control over, I just don't have the inner strength to better myself.

  • Thank you for sharing the truth about the disease of addiction and alcoholism!

  • It's a choice. You can't choose most diseases, but you certainly have a choice if you participate in drug abuse or not. The whole "addiction is a disease" is just an excuse to make people feel sorry.

  • As an ex addict addiction is very much a disease and a chronic one at that, if you are a real deal addict. It is genetic and our brains are indeed wired a different way I was an addict before I ever touched drugs and alcohol, I either did something 110% or not at all. There are reasons colleges have addiction centers: Texas techs addiction program students have the highest GPA in the school. I've met addicts with genius IQs doctors lawyers ect. It is a disease and it doesn't discriminate. I didn't want to use drugs towards the end of my addiction. I didn't like letting my loved ones down 24/7 or lying to everyone or losing my job. I was a good kid. The first time I had any drugs was my first knee surgery and then I had my second. I used my knee surgeries and knee pain as excuse to get High. When my doctor wouldn't prescribe me opiates because my age I turned to the street for oxy. My life became unmanageable and I became powerless over drugs. If you are saying you addiction is not a disease you're ignorant. Wait till you have a loved one become addicted and despite all consequences threats how much you try to wish them to stop, if they are a real addict they wil not be able too.

  • Wow am I supposed to sympathize or criticise. I would rather you people. Allow unbiased research and testing of marijuana and and all prescriptions. To see the real data good and bad . Yet you always blame pot in the end . You insult me and you are afraid you will be seen for the hypocritical tool of big pharma and big insurance. You have become complacent and incompatent in your duties to those you have singled out . Yet the children that survived this recent act of terrorism called the oxicotton epidemic fiasco under you and your predecessors leadership. You have lied by not showing the good data in marijuana and let this new epidemic happen
    Under you and cohorts watch . More people dead then 9-11 Vietnam, World War 1 and still counting. By going after the little guy growing some weed or selling some weed is a waste of resources on the front lines of the opioid crisis. You can't talk your way out of this . You are protecting the most deadly drug dealers in our nation's history. You are failing those people who have died and will die from your lack of focus and ability to protect and save the public of the 50 states who are still waiting for some form of truth and justice. You are out of touch and we need better agents or none . I dont know witch . I guess we will see wont we .

  • The life of a human being is worth saving no matter what disease they do or don’t have. Thanks for sharing your story. God bless.

  • No, dope is NOT a disease. Addicts are the funding source for dealer and cartel trash — who in turn use dope to kill their own funding sources, and the families of those funding sources AND our nation. What a gig. An attack on the United States of America, and the human garbage has Americans funding and supplying their damned weapon — dope. This crap IS TREASON.

    It's past time for the Police to have Shoot on Sight orders, the DEA should be fully empowered AND all USA military units empowered to take down that scum. Enough is enough and I mean that.

    As for Botticelli, he IS an ENABLER, he is part of the problem and that is evidenced by his outrageous ideas "to make their voices heard" and "encouragement". ENABLING SHOULD BE CLEARLY DEFINED AND DECLARED A FELONY, A SERIOUS FELONY, TREASON.

  • We all agree that addictive drugs are a serious problem, but to label it as a disease, suggests that the individual is in no way responsible for a biological organism that is attacking the person. My question is, does relabiling a chemical affliction/dependency, somehow benefit the suffering of those involved? Or does it rather deflect from the individuals responsibility to take charge of there own willpower and make the decision to be in control of their own destiny. This is one of the base problems with our society today. There is a tremendous lack of personal accountability for our actions. This goes to liberal doctrine. So surrender your liberty because the government will take care of you.

  • Why are we using disease, dosorder, and condition interchangeably? I mean, it may be semantics, but at the end of the day, aren't these things supposed to be distinguishable?

  • Keep in mind that a few decades ago there was a stigma towards anxiety and depression just as there is towards addiction now. People literally said being depressed was a moral weakness. A few decades from now society will catch up with the science

  • My doctor today told me that “Addiction is not a disease, it’s your choice” I’m losing my mind, I’m beyond confused, if anyone can set me straight with the scientific’s that would be great, I don’t understand why she would say that

  • Michael Botticelli you are a warrior! So here’s an invitation. Please come join our ‘Stigma Be Gone Be A Friend of Mind’ Facebook group!
    Whether you are active in advocacy currently or just interested to learn more about advocacy, this may be just the community for you.

    Our goal is to have a safe and supportive place for advocates and members diagnosed with a mental illness who want to make a difference to share ideas, information, and resources, and to collaborate, brainstorm, network, or just hang out to learn and grow. The ultimate outcome from all of this is to in some way improve mental health care and services around the world by reducing stigma attached to mental illness and more and to change the language.

    Advocacy requires collaboration, innovation, education, awareness, and action. I think you’ll find all of these in abundance in our group.

    Here is the link to our group:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/beafriendofmind/

    .

    Hope to see you there soon! And invite your friends, too!

  • We should allow adults the choice to do what they want with their own lives as long as they are not hurting anyone else. If they cannot admit they are an addict or dont want help then let them destroy their own lives.

  • Addiction is not a disease. Addiction is a choice. You can choose to keep clean or stay dirty. There is no cure for an addict

  • It is a choice to start using, but when it becomes a full blown addiction then it dies need to be treated as a disease. Addicts need to be treated for mental illness. Get to the root of the problem of why they can’t seem to live with themselves without the drugs.

  • Addition is not a disease.  It is a voluntary process.  No one forces you to have a drink.  It was pushed and lobbied for by several people years ago.  Look up Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob Smith (founders of Alcoholics Anonymous), Marty Mann, E.M. Jellinek.  After much lobbying the AMA endorsed the proposition that alcoholism was a disease and that its treatment was a legitimate part of medical practice.  As a result, the treatment of alcoholism is now a billion dollar industry.  It's a self-created addiction, not a disease.  The next thing you know we're going to start calling cigarette smoking a disease.  The bottom line —  $$$.  Plain and simple.  Wake up, America.

  • This man is an intellectually dishonest political propagandist working to serve the institutions which have created the problems he claims to care so much about. Remember when he couldn't admit meth was more dangerous than cannabis? These are not the leaders we need in this fight.

  • It’s a social construct… it definitely has biological associations but no real proof of a biological aetiology.
    It can be viewed as a disease and this seems fitting because it does cause symptoms (dis-ease) but I’m not sure this approach is working, we don’t seem to be improving outcomes despite lots of research. Just my thoughts

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