The Frontal Cortex

Prisons and Drugs

Did you know that more than 53 percent of the prisoners in Federal prisons are serving time for drug offenses? That’s crazy. When will our politicians realize that drug addiction is a mental illness, and that the War on Drugs is essentially a futile struggle against the dopamine reward pathway? Addicts need treatment, not incarceration.

This article remains one of the best things I’ve read on the failures of American drug policy.


  1. #1 Joel
    April 23, 2008

    Thank you for bringing up this important topic.

  2. #2 steve s
    April 23, 2008

    You make it sound like drug users are all addicts.

  3. #3 steve s
    April 23, 2008

    The vast majority or drug users I know smoke pot every now and then. What they need isn’t treatment, it’s for the government to stop trying to ruin their lives and let them live in peace.

  4. #4 Paradigm
    April 24, 2008

    And obesity, alcoholism and everything else that involves the rewardsystem – are these also illnesses? No, calling an unhealthy lifestyle an illness is silly. Unless you can find some real brain damage causing the behavior. And with obesity on the rise that seems unlikely. Have people’s brains all been damaged quite recently and coincidentally at the same time as large amounts of food has become available to the vast majority?

    Clearly the problem lies in a mismatch between the human brain and the modern environment.

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