“It undermined their sense of themselves as individuals in control of their own destinies,” Mr. Sullum wrote in his 2003 book, “Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use.” “And so they stopped.”
I only read about these people. Patients who come to our methadone clinic are there, obviously, because they’re using. The typical patient is someone who has been off heroin for a while (maybe because life was good for while, maybe because there was no access to drugs, maybe because the boss did urine testing) and then resumed.
But the road to resumption was not unmarked. There were signs and exit ramps all along the way. Instead of heeding them, our patients made small, deliberate choices many times a day — to be with other users, to cop drugs for friends, to allow themselves to become bored — and soon there was no turning back.
Addiction does indeed discriminate. It “selects” for people who are bad at delaying gratification and gauging consequences, who are impulsive, who think they have little to lose, have few competing interests, or are willing to lie to a spouse.