In response to a recent article (RSA Journal Oct 2007), I wrote this response, which in turn has elicited further comments by email that I have posted below, not in chronological order.
Does the article in the latest edition of the Journal mean that the RSA has abandoned any interest in an Unhooked exploration of the very notion of addiction?
The route you lay out is exemplary as a rejig of what’s there already – I particularly like “treat the person not the drug”, but underlying the whole approach is the acceptance of the myth that addiction is an illness, an illness that must be dealt with – if differently – in its own mythical terms.
OK you want to make “users” the centre of your plans, but they are still victims being treated for their illness. Look at the recent NTA confession that users are rewarded with larger doses of methadone if they stay off heroin – would your user-centred model stop that absurdity. Yes, it’s absolutely correct that it’s not the drugs, but the person – but surely if you go that far you should include some deep questioning of the very notion of addiction and of what function it serves for users, government, law enforcement and treatment industry?
Am I shouting into the wind?