Johann Hari: Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong
Johann Hari - Journalist
Johann Hari spent three years researching the war on drugs; along the way, he discovered that addiction is not what we think it is. Full bio
one of my relatives and not being able to.
so I didn't really understand why,
drug addiction in my family,
partly because it's now exactly 100 years
in the United States and Britain,
on the rest of the world.
this really fateful decision
and make them suffer,
it would give them an incentive to stop.
some of the addicts in my life who I love,
if there was some way to help them.
of incredibly basic questions
that doesn't seem to be working,
that we could try instead?
the answers I was looking for,
with different people around the world
if I could learn from them.
going over 30,000 miles at the start,
loads of different people,
in Brownsville, Brooklyn,
feeding hallucinogens to mongooses
in very specific circumstances --
decriminalized all drugs,
that really blew my mind is,
we know about addiction is wrong,
the new evidence about addiction,
a lot more than our drug policies.
we know, what I thought I knew.
off and used heroin three times a day.
enthusiastic than others at this prospect.
it's just a thought experiment.
happen that we've been told for a century.
chemical hooks in heroin,
dependent on those hooks,
you'd all be heroin addicts. Right?
that something's not right with this story
and I get hit by a car and I break my hip,
and I'll be given loads of diamorphine.
than you're going to buy on the streets,
from a drug dealer is contaminated.
from the doctor is medically pure.
a long period of time.
you've taken quite a lot of heroin.
anywhere in the world, this is happening.
about addiction is right --
to all those chemical hooks --
They should become addicts.
if your grandmother had a hip replacement,
it seemed so weird to me,
everything I thought I knew,
until I met a man called Bruce Alexander.
of psychology in Vancouver
to understand this issue.
got in our heads, that story,
in the 20th century.
if you feel a little sadistic.
and you give it two water bottles:
laced with either heroin or cocaine.
prefer the drug water
kill itself quite quickly.
That's how we think it works.
along and he looks at this experiment
the rat in an empty cage.
except use these drugs.
that he called "Rat Park,"
they've got loads of colored balls,
They can have loads of sex.
the normal water and the drugged water.
like the drug water.
when they're isolated
have happy and connected lives.
Professor Alexander thought,
they're quite different to us.
but, you know --
a human experiment
at the exact same time.
troops were using loads of heroin,
reports from the time,
they thought, my God, we're going to have
on the streets of the United States
loads of heroin were followed home.
did a really detailed study,
They didn't go into withdrawal.
about chemical hooks,
but Professor Alexander began to think
story about addiction.
about your chemical hooks?
to your environment?
called Peter Cohen in the Netherlands
even call it addiction.
and innate need to bond,
we'll bond and connect with each other,
or beaten down by life,
that will give you some sense of relief.
that might be pornography,
that might be cannabis,
with something because that's our nature.
a difficult thing to get my head around,
to think about it is,
a bottle of water, right?
of you have bottles of water with you.
of water could be bottles of vodka, right?
I might after this -- (Laughter) --
the approximately gazillion pounds
I'm guessing you guys could afford
for the next six months.
and the reason you're not going to do that
bonds and connections
You've got people you love.
the evidence suggests,
to be present in your life.
are for the War on Drugs.
with a group of women
saying, "I was a drug addict,"
while members of the public jeer at them,
they're going to have criminal records
in the legal economy again.
obviously, in the case of the chain gang,
everywhere in the world
We give them criminal records.
Dr. Gabor Maté, an amazing man,
a system that would make addiction worse,
to do the exact opposite,
one of the worst drug problems in Europe.
to heroin, which is kind of mind-blowing,
the American way more and more.
and shamed them more,
the leader of the opposition got together,
ever more people becoming heroin addicts.
of scientists and doctors
genuinely solve the problem.
an amazing man called Dr. João Goulão,
from cannabis to crack, but" --
on cutting addicts off,
on reconnecting them with society."
as drug treatment
that does have some value.
was the complete opposite of what we do:
of job creation for addicts,
to set up small businesses.
to a garage, and they'll say,
we'll pay half his wages.
that every addict in Portugal
of bed for in the morning.
as they rediscovered purpose,
and relationships with the wider society.
since that experiment began,
Journal of Criminology,
HIV is massively down among addicts.
is significantly down.
so well is that almost nobody in Portugal
feel really increasingly vulnerable
whether it's to their smartphones
you guys know this --
to have our smartphones on,
looked an awful lot like
was going to be unavailable
and it might sound weird to say,
is a major driver of addiction
society that's ever been, surely.
that the connections we have
of parody of human connection.
you'll notice something.
who come to sit with you.
who help you turn it round.
who you have deep and nuanced
Bill McKibben, the environmental writer,
the average American believes
steadily since the 1950s.
an individual has in their home
we've traded stuff for connections,
loneliest societies there has ever been.
the Rat Park experiment, says,
about individual recovery,
about social recovery.
not just with individuals but as a group,
for a lot of us,
like that isolated cage
why I went into it.
the political stuff, the social stuff.
the people I love.
long journey and I'd learned all this,
it's hard loving an addict,
who know in this room.
why this debate is so charged
of each of us, right?
that looks at an addict and thinks,
to deal with the addicts in our lives
if you guys have ever seen it.
is defined by reality TV,
the show "Intervention,"
in their life, gather them together,
and they say, if you don't shape up,
the connection to the addict,
they make it contingent
why that approach doesn't work,
the importing of the logic of the Drug War
how could I be Portuguese?
and I can't tell you I do it consistently
the connection with them,
whether you're using or you're not.
I'll come and sit with you
want you to be alone
of how we respond to addicts,
war songs about addicts.
singing love songs to them,
is not sobriety.
About the speaker:Johann Hari - Journalist
Johann Hari spent three years researching the war on drugs; along the way, he discovered that addiction is not what we think it is.
Why you should listen
British journalist Johann Hari is the author of the New York Times best-selling book Chasing The Scream, from which his talk on addiction was adapted and for which he spent three years researching the war on drugs and questioning the ways in which we treat addiction.
He has written for many of the world’s leading newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Le Monde, The Guardian, New Republic, The Nation, Slate.com, and The Sydney Morning Herald. He was a columnist for the British newspaper The Independent for nine years.
Hari was twice named National Newspaper Journalist of the Year by Amnesty International, was named Gay Journalist of the Year at the Stonewall Awards -- and won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for political writing.
Johann Hari | Speaker | TED.com