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Crime File: Drug Addiction

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This video presents a panel discussion of the biological causes and effects of drug addiction, with a focus on cocaine, and examines treatment principles and the characteristics of those most likely to benefit from treatment.
Dr. Frank Gavin of the Substance Abuse Research Unit at Yale University reports on scientific experiments that have analyzed cocaine and other drug addiction in rats. He indicates that addictive drugs have the common action of stimulating the pleasure center of the brain upon first use, followed by an increased deadening of the brain's response, leading to increased craving for the drug. Dr. John Chappel, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, describes what must occur in the treatment of addiction, i.e., the reordering of behaviors to stimulate the brain through nonaddictive means. Dr. David Smith, medical director of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics discusses motivation for treatment and treatment techniques, including the use of pharmacological intervention in combination with group therapy, role modeling, and the application of the 12 steps of recovery that parallel those of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Date Published: January 1, 1990