Health and Wellness

Addicted to Addicts: Survival 101

Denise Krochta

Addicted to Addicts: Survival 101 – Harm Reduction

What is “Harm Reduction?”  Does it work?  This week, Addicted to Addicts welcomes Dirk Hanson, a freelance science reporter and novelist.  Hansen talks about his latest book, The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction.  Hansen also discusses recent articles he’s written for and his Blog, Addiction Inbox.

“Let’s have some more!” said a young Dirk Hansen to his friend upon their first drinking experience.  Hansen discusses his first experience with alcohol and dishes out some facts on the age range typically associated with early onset alcohol dependency.  At the tender age of 13, Hansen had his first drink and, many years later, he was put into a position where he had to admit to himself that he had a problem.  “It led me to AA eventually,” Hansen admits.  From there, Hansen decided to dedicate his life to the science behind the disease of addiction.

But are Alcoholism and Drug Addictions really diseases?  Denise has a thing or two of her own to say on this controversial issue.

Hansen discusses the frustration that so commonly occurs in the recovery community.  Why can some addicts drop their addiction cold turkey?  Why do other addicts need to go through years of rehab and meetings?  Why can some people smoke socially (“Chippers”) while most of us are doomed to nicotine addiction?  There’s a scientific reason, and Hansen is willing to share!

“We’ve gone through a century of blaming the addict for the addiction–for the disease,” says Dirk Hansen.  But what have we done to help them?  What have we done to “fix” them?  If it really is a “weakness” rather than a disease–as so many have been taught to believe–then what is our responsibility as a society to these people?  Hansen compares the discrimination that alcoholics and drug addicts face to the discrimination many are facing right now in the recent Gay Rights movements.

Love it or hate it, this episode has something to say.  Are you ready to listen?