Myths of the Addiction Industry
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Published on Feb 21, 2018


Steven Slate, who once struggled with drug use himself, joins me to talk about whether what we think we know about addiction is really true. Is addiction a "disease"? Is "treatment" the only way to deal with it? Are people who believe that don't need treatment "in denial"? Is moderate consumption always off limits for people who have had problems? Subscribe to the Tom Woods Show:

Top Comments

Ed Waggoner Sr. | 4 months ago
My dad always said he was a drunk and that being a drunk was a sin. His sister referred to herself as an alcoholic and had a disease. My aunt was in treatment for her entire adult life. It was hard for my dad to give up the habit he had created but he did it (with a little tough love from my mom). My aunt spent a ton of money, both her own and from the STATE. My dad didn't spend a dime. My dad spent a lot of time on his spiritual life, priests work for free, my aunt spent a lot of time with expensive therapists.

Jimmy Catalina | 4 months ago (edited)
12 step programs are cults. First rule of cults: Thou shalt not disagree. They want you go to meetings for the rest of your life. At every meeting they reinforce the idea that they are all still addicts even if they haven't done any dope for years. They refuse to look at any evidence to the contrary. I smoked pot for 30+ years. Eventually l decided it just wasn't good for me and l stopped.

Charles L | 3 months ago (edited)
They actually teach you how not to "waste" your drugs and validate your "weakness" because it's not your fault, it is the addiction or disease. Additionally, if you for instance stop drinking / other annually for a month, two, three or even six months a year, then they just tell you, "Yeah, but you just can't maintain it by 'white knuckling' it. You have to go to AA forever." In rehab, ON THE FIRST DAY & EVERYDAY they tell you over 85% of you are going to keep relapsing.

jeffersonianideal | 3 months ago
16:34 "On the order of more than 90%. More than 90% of alcoholics will get over it." Did Mr. Slate arrive at his calculation by including death as an acceptable remedy? Could it be that Mr. Slate is either conflating or confusing his claim with the 2014 CDC study that found 90% of heavy drinkers are not considered to be alcoholics?

jeffersonianideal | 3 months ago (edited)
6:42 I've always been skeptical of the claim that an addiction such as alcoholism is merely a hereditary disease. (26:58) Also, while there may not be conclusive evidence to show addictive personality disorders exist, there is no disputing that some individuals for whatever reason are more susceptible to habitual behavior than other individuals. Any non-drinker who puts up with the antics of raging alcoholics knows this. Still, I can help but to conclude after listening to Mr. Slate's assertions that he's oversimplifying certain elements of the problem.

The Famed Hater | 3 months ago
Tom, can you do a video, or point me to one where you discuss patent and copyright laws and the role they play in forming and maintaining monopolies

DHRGrafix | 3 months ago
I've seen Steven Slate's commercials for a number of years and was intrigued. As someone who broke free of the addiction model myself I wondered what his take was. But having come to a balance in my own alcohol and drug use I wasn't in need of his services so I never followed up. I'm glad Tom ran this episode. Steven Slate and I came to similar conclusions about the disease model of addiction. I was particularly interested in the various studies Steven cited that seem to debunk many cherished 12 step program myths. I look forward to reading his book.

jeffersonianideal | 3 months ago
I'm surprised there was no mention of the code of self-ownership and the principle preserving someone's option to engage in unhealthy or dangerous behavior so long as they do not violate another individual's right to life, liberty, or property.

EgadsNo | 3 months ago
Use is different then abuse. If you take rats and put them alone in a small cage with two water bottles, one has opium laced water, and the other has water. They will eventually overdose. Take a large group of rats, and put them in a safe and stimulating environment, well fed and offer them the choice between opium laced water and plain water and they won't overdose. Some will periodically ingest the laced water though.

Rica The Hopeful Voluntarist | 3 months ago
Great show! Until the end... :(