In what appears to be an ongoing series commenter Thomas was spouting some popular misconceptions about drugs. I wanted to make more public my reply. With a few additions.


There is no such thing as addiction. If you are in pain you will take pain meds. When the pain goes away so does the desire for the meds.

Tolerance arises from two things: when you fill the receptors taking more drugs does no good. If you keep the receptors filled the body grows more. Thus the need for ever increasing doses. It is also why most people can’t get addicted. Their receptors are sufficiently filled by the body’s natural heroin – endorphins. Or in the case of pot annamides.

For habituation (the body’s need for continuous replacement of used drugs) we know how to fix that. It is called detox. For heroin it can be done in a few days to a few weeks. For barbiturates the treatment can run six months. But if you don’t fix the underlying pain you get what are euphemistically called “relapses”.

Seriously. Where did you learn your science? On a street corner?


Sadly the street corner is where most people get their knowledge about addiction. And surprisingly it seems DEA propaganda predominates. That and refer madness movies from the ’30s.

So let me make this prediction: the drug war will end once people’s superstitions about drugs are educated away. I think it will take about 4 or 5 more years.

Cross Posted at Power and Control