Wednesday, May 03, 2006


A light in the Addict

I just finished up an article titled The Discovery of Addiction: Changing Conceptions of Habitual Drunkenness in America by Harry G. Levine. It was a pretty good article and it is useful for understanding both the public health and the medical/physiological definitions of terms like "habitual", "addictive", "substance abuse" and a variety of other terms that have evolved alongside the changing perception of addiction in America since the 1700's.

This sort of article is important because it gives us a sociological interpretation of the changing perceptions of purported habit-forming substances. Since the temperance movement of the early 1800's which climaxed with the prohibition, was the first group to discover addiction and the "disease" of alcoholism, this is useful for understanding how it was later applied to opium, heroin and cocaine, marijuana, and even tobacco.

It also provides a pretty solid and lengthy bibliography which I will soon be exploring. You can catch the article here or here.

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