November 8, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said over the weekend that he would address the problem of addiction "as a doctor" by improving the "values and principle" of the country.

CBS host John Dickerson told Carson during an interview on Sunday that a recent poll in New Hampshire found that the biggest problem facing the state was drug addiction.

"As a doctor, what's your sense of the human side of addiction?" Dickerson wondered. "Where does it come from, how should it best be treated?"

"Usually addiction occurs in people who are vulnerable, who are lacking something in their lives," Carson opined. "And so, we have to really start asking ourselves, what have we taken out of our lives in America, what is some of those values and principles that allowed us to ascend the ladder of success so rapidly to the very pinnacle of the world, and the highest pinnacle that anyone else had ever reached."

"Why are we in the process of throwing away all of our values and principles for the sake of political correctness?" the candidate asked.

Carson suggested that the problem of heroin addiction was caused by failing to secured the U.S. border with Mexico.

"This is not a good thing for us," he insisted. "We need to not give up on this war on drugs, and certainly not to facilitate it."

Unfortunately, Carson did not use his experience as a famed neurosurgeon to address the biological component of addiction.

And his assertion that addiction is caused by faulty morality does not square with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which defines addiction as "a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences."

"Addiction is a lot like other diseases, such as heart disease. Both disrupt the normal, healthy functioning of the underlying organ, have serious harmful consequences, and are preventable and treatable, but if left untreated, can last a lifetime," according to the NIH. "Scientists estimate that genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to addiction; this includes the effects of environmental factors on the function and expression of a person’s genes."

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