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Ben Carson’s Stance on Addiction: Lack of Values & Principals, Continue War on Drugs

  • Ben Carson’s Stance on Addiction: Lack of Values & Principals, Continue War on Drugs

    Ben Carson’s Stance on Addiction: Lack of Values & Principals, Continue War on Drugs


    Republican hopeful Ben Carson addressed South Florida for the Black Republican Caucus on November 6th. During his address he glided over the issues of substance abuse as a mere lack of morals and principles. Think Progress quotes him,

    “There are all kinds of addiction and addictions occur in people who are vulnerable who are lacking something in their lives, so we really have to start asking ourselves what have we taken outside of our lives in America?

    What are some of those values and principles that allowed us to ascend the ladder of success so rapidly to the pinnacle of the world and the highest pinnacle anyone else had ever reached, and why are we throwing away all of our values and principles for the sake of political correctness?”

    In regards to the heroin epidemic, Carson asserts the War on Drugs should be continued to clean up the drug scene- even though research shows treatment over incarceration helps abate addiction rates.

    Although Carson is right on a few points, those who are more vulnerable are at risk for developing a substance use disorder, and disharmony with one’s community (values) may manifest an environment conducive to addiction, yet the disease of addiction is not as simple as that.

    Addiction is a medical disease, categorized as a neurological disorder. To remedy diseases, like cancer, people seek medical treatment- we don’t send them to jail.

    We have criminalized addictive substances in the hope those predisposed for substance use disorders would abstain out of the reprisal of the law. But the truth is substance use disorders begin as a response to feel normal, and to self medicate depression, anxiety,unhappy living environments, and a plethora of innumerable circumstances.

    Branding addiction- or any medical disease- as punishable by law is immoral, and does not help abate the societal issues arising from heavily addicted communities.

    While Carson’s intentions may be well-intentioned, they couldn’t be farther from the mark of what people struggling with addiction need to overcome the disease.

    If we are to aptly respond to the crisis of rising death rates attributed to rising rates of substance abuse, we will need to implement long term recovery solutions.

    The War on Drugs has decades behind it, and yet we are in the same situation.

    Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?


    What do you think about Carson’s stance on addiction?


    Featured image: Ben Carson by Gage Skidmore licensed under CC BY 3.0

    Further reading:

    Why the War on Drugs Is Failing

    Broward County Hosts “No Flakka” Panel

    Florida Study Working Towards Memory Based Addiction Treatment

    Anti-Marijuana Advocate Chris Christie Claims the Drug War Is a Failure

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