The nation’s drug problem is commercial recreational pharmacology

The nation’s drug problem is commercial recreational pharmacology
Drs. Robert L. DuPont and Sharon Levy have written a brilliant paper that calls on us to view the drug problem as commercial recreational pharmacology, which they define as “the personally controlled use of psychoactive drugs that super-stimulate brain reward for pleasure.” Greater acceptance of drug use and its commercialization is exacting a toll on the nation’s public health. One example is a decline in US life expectancy, which fell three years in a row from 2016 and was driven by overdose deaths.

The researchers explain that until the 1960s, most drug use was confined to just a few drugs. But as the baby boom generation became adolescents, drug use began to be more tolerated, and an array of drugs gradually became available. This shift led to today’s opioid epidemic, marijuana legalization, and the youth vaping epidemic.

New drugs and new ways to consume them add up to huge profits for their makers. Americans spend $254 billion on alcohol, $125 billion on tobacco, and $150 billion on illicit drugs.  And thus, the acceptance of recreational pharmacology in the 60s has morphed into commercialized recreational pharmacology today.

The researchers advise “a seismic shift in our shared cultural understanding of recreational drug use from one promoted by both legal and illegal commercial interests to one based on public health science that recognizes recreational drug use as a major health risk behavior.”

We highly recommend this paper to our readers for the authors’ insights into the overall drug problem and their intelligent advice on how we can resolve it. Only the abstract is available for free, but you can “rent” the article for 48-hour online access for $7. It’s well worth the money.

Read Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly abstract here.

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