This video is a collaboration between the German animation house, Kurzgesagt and Johann Hari, author of the bestselling book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.
Hari’s analysis of addiction is a complete rupture from the way it has been approached by the State.
He says, “Addiction is just one symptom of the crisis of disconnection that’s happening all around us…
“The war on drugs we’ve been fighting for almost a century now has made everything worse instead of helping people heal and getting their lives together. We have cast them out from society, we have made it harder for them to get jobs and become stable. We take benefits and support away from them if we catch them with drugs. We throw them in prison cells, which are literally cages. We put people who are not well in a situation that makes them feel worse and we hate them for not recovering.
“For too long, we’ve talked only about individual recovery from addiction but we need now to talk about social recovery because something has gone wrong with us as a group. We are going to have to change the unnatural way we live and rediscover each other. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.”
Some people may complain that Hari’s analysis of addiction in this clip is too simplistic, that it doesn’t account for the proven role of genetics in addiction, that it overlooks the millions of people who have become addicted to painkillers as a result of their doctor’s prescriptions. With opioid addiction as the number one cause of death in Americans under 50 however, I find that the core of what he’s saying rings true.