Junk Medicine: Doctors, Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy
Theodore Dalrymple

I have always found Dalrymple to be a boorish authoritarian who uses his medical past to encourage the banning or limitation of every bit of human behaviour. With that in mind I was rather shocked at the libertarian approach, well save the last few paragraphs where he come down on the anti-legalisation side, of this book. Just before this he quotes John Stuart Mill from On Liberty on the subject of personal responsibility.

Instead of taking the common meme of addicts, superficially heroin addicts, as victims. He makes his clear his belief that they are whinging connivers who seem to believe we should feel sorry for them because they were idiotic enough to become a smack addict. He clearly demonstrates that just because you are in a room with someone doing heroin does not mean you become an addict, neither does it necessarily follow on that if you do heroin you will become a hard core junkie.

Heroin is not a magical and satanic substance that draws it victims in. An addict or user has to decide to take the drug and then snort or inject himself. No other party is responsible for that act but them.

He does take to task both writers old and new who have romanticised heroin use whether it be Thomas De Quincey, Coleridge or Burroughs. He examine there attitude towards all that entails the consumption, addiction and withdrawal from the drug. He maintains, based on hard evidence, that unlike alcohol, coming down from heroin does not put one in physical harm.

He also has words about those that are part of the addict industry. Those who empower and gain from making addiction out to be a disease and malady deserving of our pity. He has quite a good bit of experience in the field having treated addicts in a prison. He holds that clinics that coddle addicts are dong more harm than good and may even be putting their addicts is almost as much danger as had they been continuing on the smack.

Oh yes and like instant jihad syndrome it isn’t only the poor and downtrodden that become addicts and try to make you feel sorry for them.

I was thoroughly enthralled by the absolute brutal honesty of this book. I shall refer to it the next time I am in a discussion about addicts where I am portrayed as uncaring and without proof.

Smack addicts do not deserve your pity. They, and those that coddle them, deserve your disdain, angst and scrutiny. Don’t fall for the carrying and sharing p.c. rubbish. They are the source of their own destruction.

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