“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.”

We know that the way problems are framed has a huge impact on how we support people experiencing them.

“Chasing the scream: The first and last days of the war on drugs” is a new book that explores the complex nature of excessive drug use. It has also stirred a challenging of mainstream notions that addiction is a disorder that resides within individuals and that it is the addictive power of a particular drug that causes problems (check out this article as an example).

Its release prompts YoDAA to reflect that there is not universal agreeance on the nature and causes of drug related problems. Being in tune with our own perspectives and understand what perspectives others might be applying is important in effective Youth AOD work.

Influenced by our work with people experiencing both substance use and disadvantage YoDAAs point of view is clear.

Resources such as "understanding why I use" for young people and "will they develop a problem?" for family emphasise that there is no single cause of drug related problems in individuals. Instead, a complex interaction between social, psychological and biological factors effect a young person’s drug using behaviour. This is why there is such a strong correlation between disadvantage, vulnerability, experiences of isolation and substance use problems.

For more info, the Youth AOD toolbox has a comprehensive section exploring numerous perspectives on problematic drug use. We also recommend checking out this easy viewing comic strip representation of the famous Rat Park experiment, which challenges the assumption that drugs are seductively addictive.