| "Addicts are the scapegoat of our age."|
--Reverend Terence E. Tanner, London, 1979
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Paying The Piper
Norman E. Zinberg, M.D.,Drug, Set, and Setting, The Basis for Controlled Intoxicant Use. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984.To order, click here.
Norman Zinberg looked at addiction calmly and sensibly. He was a leading psychiatrist, researcher, teacher, and Harvard Medical School professor. Much of his research involved person-to-person contact with those involved in all aspects of the drug culture, including junkies and chippers. It was his fearless investigation of the latter and equally honest reporting on the results of his research that caused the greatest anguish among his traditional medical colleagues, not to mention the myriad supporters of a harsh war on drugs.
It is conventional wisdom within the medical profession, and within almost all elements of the drug-control Establishment that the taking of any amount of an addicting drug almost inevitably leads to addiction. Following from that rock-hard precept, it is also writ in stone that once a person becomes a junky he or she is destined to remain a junky and use drugs until death do us part.
This world-renowned medical giant (who like Ed Brecher gave me enormous encouragement when I was thinking of starting the Drug Policy Foundation) shattered those core drug-control ideas in several decades of research, summarized in this book, which is also out of print. This scholarly treatise is not easy reading in parts but it is full of wisdom, even though most of it is uncomfortable wisdom. Here we have documented in full human detail the stories of ordinary, decent people who were using powerful addicting drugs, such as heroin, in controlled, nondestructive ways. The book explains what they did and how they achieved control as well as how they lost control sometimes but then regained it, once again.
Both traditional medical science and the rationale for the war on drugs would have to deny that such beings exist, or even could exist, on this planet. Many recovering addicts will likewise be made uncomfortable by this book because they deal with their recovery and continuing abstinence by treating any intake of intoxicating substances, legal or illegal, with horror. On a personal and practical level, I agree with them. On another level - perhaps I shall label it "intellectual" - I know that Norman Zinberg speaks the truth, however uncomfortable that may be. At the very least, addicts and their friends, like everyone else, have to take these ideas into account.
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This site and its contents, unless otherwise indicated, Copyright Arnold S. Trebach, 2000-2001-2002-2003