We could cut the opioid death rate by 50% – but we’re not

As more and more people die, drug companies keep reaping in a massive profit.

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  • Drug companies make huge profits by flooding the market with overly powerful — and highly addictive — drugs.
  • Some high profile deaths over the last several years have brought this problem to the headlines. It's everyone, not just middle America, who is getting hooked.
  • Why do we let Big Pharma rule over? Journalist and author Maia Szalavitz investigates.
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What's worse than drug addiction? The cruelty of drug treatments.

Drug treatment centers pose potential threats to drug addicts.

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  • Many drug treatment centers are run as for-profit institutions. Making a buck off of treating people's addictions often runs counter to actually helping addicts.
  • Some Chinese drug centers are experimenting with removing an addict's nucleus accumbens, which saps them of their ability to feel pleasure.
  • The solution to drug addiction may be creating better drugs to use, says author and journalist Maia Szalavitz.
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Drug prevention advice for parents

How to talk to kids responsibly about drugs.

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  • The majority of kids are going to experiment with drugs at some point in their lives, mostly in their teens and early 20s.
  • While many parents might balk at allowing their children to experiment, it's important to remember that not all drugs are the same.
  • There are some warning signs, however. Neuroscience journalist Maia Szalavitz walks us through some of the signs to look out for.

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Understanding addiction: Why your brain gets hooked on gambling

The brain of a gambling addict mimics that of a drug addict. But no outside chemicals are involved. How does that happen?

Surprising Science

Author and neuroscience journalist Maia Szalavitz says that your brain doesn't necessarily choose to become addicted to gambling. Rather, it just really wants to figure out a pattern. This 'want' doesn't need any foreign chemicals in order to make it work. In the mind of a serious gambler, their brain wants to find order in the game's structure so bad that it will keep the person playing, telling itself that it will figure it out and that it's just one step away from becoming rich. This doesn't happen to everyone — on the contrary, addictive gamblers are a small yet potent percentage of all gamblers — but their brains mimic that of a severe drug addict trying to get their next fix. Maia's latest book is Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction.