Initially, I was going to talk about Marijuana, but a recent conversation with my cousins over coffee (yes technically a drug as it induces an altered state) made me realize there are two items to further define.   One is an explanation of the stages of Addiction, which yields a definition we can use going forward.  The other is an explanation of what it is to be Impaired.  These are important as it provides a point of agreement amongst all and it can be a baseline for our exploration of various substances that can be addicting and cause impairment.

The stages of Addiction can apply to many things outside of chemical dependence.  But then again, as we discussed last week, where does the body leave off and the mind take over?  Is chemical dependence just a state of the mind, of its neurons and hormones?  Is it just “body thing” or “mind thing”; or some variety of combinations and/or permutations?  Regardless of the cause the result is what we look at for the stages.

  1. Substance “use” – defined as the use of a substance to get a “high”, “euphoric”, or “calming” effect
  2. Substance “abuse” – defined as continued use with negative legal, work, and personal consequences.   THE KEY OF THIS DEFINATION IS THAT STOPPING THE USE IS STILL POSSIBLE
  3. Substance dependence – occurs when the individual cannot stop using on their own, despite severe consequences.

So let us agree that an Addiction occurs when one cannot stop using on their own, despite severe consequences and it has negative legal, work or personal consequences.

I believe that any such substance can be addicting if a certain level of that substance is consumed over a period of time.  Makes sense right?  But don’t just take my word for it.

In reference to this article:

Author Malcolm Gladwell, wrote a best-selling book titled, The Tipping Point.  In it, he cites and interprets empirical data to show that once a certain level of nicotine is consumed, there is a higher propensity to become addicted to smoking.  A TIPPING POINT is reached.  Therefore, we should sell cigarettes with less nicotine to minors.

So in closing, I think it reasonable that if someone consumes too much of or too potent of a substance that is designed to provide an altered state; by interacting with the body and mind chemistry, they run the risk of addiction.