The wires this week were not so much humming as soaring in full operatic splendour over the vexed subject of whether addiction is a brain disease (hereafter BDMA or Brain Disease Model of Addiction). It was sparked by a very interesting development in the addictions field, akin to the split among academics, clinicians and public health officials over safer nicotine products.
A fissure has opened between those who subscribe to the BDMA and those who believe that the phenomenon of addiction is far more complex than such a reductionist conclusion allows. While the American psychologist Stanton Peele has been challenging the BDMA for years, he has often been a lone figure in an addictions landscape where the BDMA has become the orthodoxy, promoted vigorously by the multi-million-dollar US addictions industry and by such august bodies as the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal agency which funds more addiction research than any other institution on the planet.Read More
Significant progress has been made in reducing smoking prevalence within the United Kingdom but the benefits have not fallen fairly across all groups. Smoking rates amongst those with personal incomes under £10,000 per annum is more than double of those with incomes over £40,000. However, there are other groups with rates higher still, for example people experiencing mental ill health have a smoking prevalence rate double the population average. Amongst those who are homeless or rough sleeping we see even higher rates, in many instances services report that all their clients smoke.Read More