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February 5, 2014 - 8:38am

Today's Poll: Is drug addiction a brain disease or a choice?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
John Stone
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Wondering how parents forcing a 7 year old kid to start drinking alcohol and smoking pot is that child's "personal choice"... Evidently a prevalent misunderstanding...

Tim Miller
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Addictions such as drug and alcohol are physical things, not personal choices.

Getting to the point of addiction may be a different question....

tom hunt
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Any addictive drug or action ie; gambling,sex alcohol, etc, rewires the pleasure centers of the brain causing the individual to lose control of his/her free will.

alvin tufts
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The choice becomes harder the further down the rabbit hole one travels. Almost impossible, but still a choice.

Mark Brudz
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It is a choice to first use a drug, addiction is a physical reaction, Some people are far more prone to addiction than others, some narcotics are far more addictive than even those not normally prone to addiction realize. The unfortunate thing as you usually have no idea that you are prone to addiction until it happens.

So to me the answer is both, because someone addicted choice morphs from the choice to first seek the drug, to the choice to seek treatment to stop the use of the drug. To anyone ever addicted or been around people that are addicted realize, the choice to seek treatment is far more a difficult one than initially taking the drug in the first place.

Karlie Jones-La...
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I wish America would stop treating drug use as a criminal issue and start realizing its an illness.

Jeff Allen
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Karlie, just to clarify, drug use is not an illness, drug addiction is.

Don Lovelace
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I couldn't vote both, so i will do so here.

Jeff Allen
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I am quite surprised at the poll results so far. I think what needs to be separated from the equation is the word drug and deal with addiction. Drugs carry a negative connotation while the addiction to them is an issue all it's own. Many probably don't personally know someone who has gone or is going through drug addiction, but we all know someone who is facing an addiction whether it be alcohol, sex, drugs, food, pornography, smoking, etc.. Our brains function properly through a series of chemical and electrical reactions, so why is it hard to imagine that when those processes are interrupted that our brains then function improperly, robbing us of the ability to make rational, cognitive decisions? Addiction treatment begs for a clearer understanding so that treatment can be applied without prejudice.

RICHARD L. HALE
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Everything and anything starts with a choice.......addiction is a result of those choices.

C. M. Barons
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I agree completely with Mark. I would go a step farther. Most, if not all, drugs that are used/abused for recreational-self-medication mimic/enhance/duplicate chemicals produced by the body naturally. Even the benign product we know as chocolate is a treat because it contains about 300 chemicals that impact our bodies in various ways. The most significant are Tryptophan and serotonin, caffeine, Xanthines, Theobromine, Phenylethylamine, Anandamide, Flavonols; many of which are neurotransmitters associated with pleasure, satisfaction and relaxation. Most of what we do, our reactions, even our ability to assemble recognizable images from signals our eyes send to the brain rely on memory. We are indeed creatures of habit, and our bodies have built-in reward systems to let us know when we are doing something that feels good or results in satisfaction. The food processing companies have capitalized on this science to make us eat more of their unhealthy products instead of what we really need. To suggest that choice plays any significant role in addiction requires analysis of how much free will our brain chemistry actually allow us. What is really in question pertains to the acceptability of some addictions compared to others.

Kyle Couchman
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I agree with Mark and CM on this one. However the gambling, and porn, and sex addictions I believe are choices. Now thats not to say that the control cant be lost when you overindulge as you can get addicted to the adrenalin or endorphins. But that requires years.

I think its the generalization of addiction. I mean we call extreme sports enthusiasts adrenalin junkies. We call kids that like videogames a bit too much junkies as well. Its just a frame of mind/definition that needs to be clarified.

But again comments like Karlie there start to cross the line because users begin to hide behind the term addiction, just to continue to use. We all know people who use but arent addicted, but if they are caught/arrested they will claim addiction to play to the system of support in place to HELP addicts. This is where the true waste of time and resources lies in our way of dealing with this issue.

My personal hatreds lay with the dealer, who doesnt use but pushes his product whatever it is onto others to make his money. These people are the ones that are truly criminal as they know the products illegality, they make the money from it and they take advantage of poisoning and manipulating people by altering their product, sometimes even adding toxins. Just to make their bucks. Thats true criminality, and evil that needs to be punished.

Greg Rada
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Kyle, I'm right there with you.

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