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Interesting read

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I stumbled upon this old interview with Dr. Andrew Weil and thought I'd share. Weil is one of the pioneers of integrative medicine and founder of the Center for Integrative Medicine at University of Arizona. He's also written a lot of books about health and spirituality, and talks a lot in his books about his own experiences with drugs. I found this interview excerpt very insightful.

NEWSERVICE: So where did drug abuse come from in the first place?

WElL: I think a lot of it is directly a product of the medical profession. Every time it's gotten its hands on a powerful new psychoactive drug, it prescribes it very carelessly and people get strung out. Then, when it's called on that, it takes the position that it didn't have anything to do with the problem, that it's a bad drug. So they take it away, it's banned or put on restriction, which creates a tremendous black market for it. And that's been a pattern that's happened with everything, from morphine and heroin to cocaine and amphetamines, for the past hundred years.

NEWSERVICE: How do you resolve that?

WElL: I think it all comes down to better education and information. And I think doctors are in as much need of that as anybody else. And sometimes more, I'm afraid. I really think most of the drug abuse in this century has been created or started by doctors...Because psychoactive drugs really make people feel different--and often better, temporarily--and it's very rare in medicine to be able to do that. Drugs also have the great advantage of making people go away satisfied, so there's an enormous appeal to both doctors and patients. But unless you're also doing something to deal with the problems, drugs tend to be very bad medicine because when the drug wears off the person feels terrible again. So you invite repetitive dosing and that's the way you become dependent on things. It's not a good way to make people feel better unless you're also doing something for the underlying problem.

NEWSERVICE: It also reinforces the whole notion that a physician does something for people they can't do for themselves, that treating illnesses involves having to do something for someone.

WElL: And giving drugs. Patients play a strong role in that, too, because there is an enormous expectation to be medicated. A patient who goes to a doctor and doesn't get drugs, doesn't get a prescription, is likely to feel very disappointed and go to another doctor until they do get drugs. So doctors are under great pressure to do that. It's on both sides. I think doctors have been very badly informed and educated about a lot of mind-altering drugs that they've handed out and their tendency has been to give them for everything.

You can read the full interview here.

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