Hypodermic Needle Anthology (2)

Syvertsen, Jennifer L. “Some Considerations on the Disease Concept of Addiction.” 2007. The American Drug Scene: An Anthology, edited by James A. Inciardi and Karen McElrath, 5th ed., Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 16-25.

This chapter of the anthology The American Drug Scene: An Anthology outlines an argument as to how and why drug addiction can and should be considered a disease. Syvertsen begins by stating that drug addiction is “a chronic and relapsing disease” which is characterized by changes in the brain, along with compulsive drug taking and drug behaviors. She then goes on to explain that the “initiation, development, and progression of drug addiction” are influenced by a variety of factors, being biological, psychological, and environmental. Then it is explained that although influenced by a variety of factors, the manifestations of drug addiction are the same among the sufferers, being “a loss of control, craving, distortions in perception and thought, and continued drug use” despite the consequences. Other aspects of drug addiction were also explained, such as its diagnosis and the rehabilitation of addicts, and the argument was formed of how all of the aspects of drug addiction make it a disease even though it is not generally viewed as such. This source connects to the other sources regarding drug abusers, and also to the other chapter of this anthology which is about the view and treatment of drug abusers within society. This source, especially when combined with the other anthology chapter, provides a fresh view of drug addiction which challenges the common beliefs of the public concerning addiction and drug abusers. A question that is produced by this source and its information is “how does the needle contribute to the disease of drug addiction?”.

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