Excerpted from FilterMag
The drug death crisis has seen a leap of 600 percent since the 1990s—and 350 percent between 2013 and 2017. These leaps correspond with the rise of the chronic relapsing brain disease theory presented by Alan Leshner when he was director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Leshner’s hugely influential article, “Addiction Is a Brain Disease—And It Matters,” appeared in Science in 1997. Nora Volkow has expanded this view worldwide since her ascendancy to the NIDA’s leadership in 2003. In 2007, NIDA under Volkow created the HBO Addiction Project to bring the HBO brain disease documentary into every school curriculum in America. Volkow’s theme for the NIDA, “Addiction is a Disease of Free Will” (built on Leshner’s popular “hijacked brain” meme) was published in 2015.
Meanwhile, according to the CDC, “From 1999 to 2017, more than 702,000 people have died from a drug overdose.” That number continues to grow apace.