For two hundred years, addiction to opiates has seemed both dangerous and glamorous. Countless writers, from Coleridge and De Quincey to William Burroughs and Irving Walsh, have invested it with deep philosophical significance. Addicts are presumed to be in touch with profound mysteries of which non-addicts are ignorant. Dalrymple shows that doctors, psychologists and social workers, all of them uncritically accepting addictsâ€™ descriptions of addiction, have employed these literary myths in creating an equal and opposite myth of quasi-treatment.
Using evidence from literature and pharmacology and drawing on examples from his own clinical experience, Dalrymple shows that addiction is not a disease, but a response to personal and existential problems. He argues that withdrawal from opiates is not the serious medical condition, but a relatively trivial experience. He says that criminality causes addiction far more often than addiction causes criminality.
Romancing Opiates will make you wonder if the most obvious facts about addiction have been overlooked because of myths that suit the interests both of the addicts and the addiction bureaucracy that serves them.
Read more about Romancing Opiates at the Manhattan Institute website.