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Topic: Addiction
Are addicts bad, unfortunate or sick? We sometimes pass judgement in terms of absolutes such as morality, will and disease. Yet what addiction is, which pleasurable habits are addictive, and how society should control such a variety of behaviours have been highly controversial issues. The balance between judgement, prohibition and persuasion remains unclear. The strong but confused feelings towards addiction are symbolised by attitudes to three substances: alcohol, tobacco and heroin. Alcoholism has been pitied, tobacco smoking discouraged and heroin banned. After the Second World War psychologists disputed individual and collective psychology and wondered whether there was such a thing as an ‘addictive personality’. Today concepts of body and mind are coming together under the rubric of the discipline of psychopharmacology, which deals with the effects of chemicals on our very complicated brains.
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Topic section: Alcohol
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Alcohol is the most common form of drug addiction. By far the most accepted drug in the western world it manages to have roles in both religious and anti-social life.  > more

Section 2: Tobacco
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The definition of a smoking as habitual or addictive has implications beyond health with decisions also being made in the courtrooms.  > more

Section 3: Drugs
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Drugs related to opium were widely available at the beginning of twentieth century; by the end of it they had become one of the main causes of poverty and crime.  > more
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