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Junk Medicine

Doctors, Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy

By Theodore Dalrymple

Out of Print

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About the Author

Contents Listing

Introduction

Chapter 1
Lies! Lies! Lies!

Chapter 2
The Literature of Exaggeration and Self-Dramatization

Chapter 3
The Show Must Go On

Appendix
A Short Anthology of Nonsense

Index
Introduction

Chapter 1
Lies! Lies! Lies!

Chapter 2
The Literature of Exaggeration and Self-Dramatization

Chapter 3
The Show Must Go On

Appendix
A Short Anthology of Nonsense

Index

Jacket Text

Almost everything you know about heroin addiction is wrong.

Not only is it wrong, but it is obviously wrong. Heroin is not highly addictive; withdrawal from it is not medically serious; addicts do not become criminals to feed their habit; addicts do not need any medical assistance to stop taking heroin; and contrary to received wisdom, heroin addiction most certainly IS a moral or spiritual problem.

Based on his experience as a prison doctor and as a psychiatrist in a large general hospital in Birmingham, Dr. Dalrymple argues that addiction to heroin is not an illness at all, and that doctors only make it worse. They deceive both the addicts and themselves by pretending that they have something to offer.

In this brilliant, entertaining and provocative book, Theodore Dalrymple explains how and why a literary tradition dating back to De Quincey and Coleridge, and continuing up to the deeply sociopathic William Burroughs and beyond, has misled all Western societies for generations about the nature of heroin addiction. These writers' self-dramatizing and dishonest accounts of their own addiction have been accepted uncritically, and have been more influential by far in forming public attitudes than the whole of pharmacological science. As a result, a self-serving, self-perpetuating and completely useless medical bureaucracy has been set up to deal with the problem.

With scathing wit, implacable logic and savage denunciation, Dr. Dalrymple exposes the mythology surrounding heroin addiction. Moving seamlessly between literature, pharmacology, history and philosophy, he demonstrates what happens when the nature of a social problem is so thoroughly misunderstood, and when human beings are regarded as inanimate objects rather than as agents of their own destiny. His scintillating, iconoclastic little book has an importance far beyond its immediate subject matter.

Professional Reviews

"A manifesto on addiction by a truth-telling psychiatrist who explodes conventional wisdom. With customary wit and literary forays into Coleridge and De Quincey, Dalrymple turns his raw experience into gems of clinical insight. Addicts are not passive, nor are they diseased; but they have managed, Dalrymple argues, to seduce a vast treatment bureaucracy into regarding them as medical victims." - Sally Satel, M.D., author of PC, M.D: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine

"Theodore Dalrymple is a brilliant observer of both medicine and society, and his book wittily engages with two versions of the current nonsense: orthodox medicine on drug addiction, and romantic poets on the wisdom you supposedly enjoy from getting high." - Kenneth Minogue, professor emeritus at The London School of Economics and author of The Liberal Mind


Media Coverage

The Adam Smith Institute

"This is unashamedly another plug for 'Junk Medicine: Doctors, Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy' by iconoclastic doc Theodore Dalrymple, which I first reviewed back in January, and which our ...

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Times Online

"Theodore Dalrymple is a retired prison doctor and author of 'Junk Medicine: Doctors, Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy'."

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Adam Smith Institute Blog

"For a very long time doctors who worked with drug addicts have stated that addiction to illicit drugs like heroin is not stronger than that to legal drugs like cigarettes. But this message has not ...

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Nursing Standard

Rated: 4/5

"This polemical text exposes what the author sees as the wilful misconceptions, lies and evasions of the past 200 years with regard to heroin addiction. Psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple ...

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The Adam Smith Institute

"More to my taste, though, is Junk Medicine: Doctors, Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy by iconoclastic doc Theodore Dalrymple. Almost everything you know about heroin addiction is wrong, he says. ...

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The Guardian

"This book blasts open with baleful force: "Addiction to opiates is a pretend rather than a real illness, treatment of which is pretend rather than real treatment." From his experience as a prison ...

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Nursingstandard.rcnpublishing.co.uk

Junk Medicine was featurd on the front cover of Nursing Standard27th August 2008

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Timesonline.co.uk

We must kick our methadone habit- Theodore Dalrymple, The Times30th May 2008

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Adamsmith.org

Is it a disease, or not?- The Adam Smith Institute, 13th May 2008

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Media Review

All healthcare professionals need to engage in practive thinking when providing care. This engaging book will help them do just that.- Nursing Standard, February 2008

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Books.guardian.co.uk

Steven Poole on Doctors, Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy- Steven Poole, The Guardian, 29th September 2007

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Women.timesonline.co.uk

Tough love or TLC?- Sarah Vine, The Times, 31st August 2007

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Bloggernews.net

I was thoroughly enthralled by the absolute brutal honesty of this book.- Andrew Ian Dodge, Blogger News Network, 23rd August 2007

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Mailonsunday.co.uk

Heroin addiction isn't an illness...and we should stop spending millions 'treating' itA leading prison doctor argues that his profession has totally misunderstood addiction- An extract from Junk ...

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Bbc.co.uk

Is heroin addiction real?- Dr Dalrymple was interviewed on Radio 4's Today programme, 14th August 2007

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Comment.independent.co.uk

It is a taboo-shattering, sacred cow-slaughtering, myth-destroying little gem of a book.- Dominic Lawson, The Independent, 2007

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