DRUGS, DESIRE AND DISEASE: Neuroscience and our understanding of addiction – public debate

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DRUGS, DESIRE AND DISEASE: Neuroscience and our understanding of addiction – public debate

21st October 2016
6:00 pm

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC


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Addiction is a brain disease, and it matters

Alan Leshner’s 1997 declaration as director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse argued that the chronic use of drugs hijacks an addicted person’s brain, undermining their ability to control their drug use.

This insight promised to revolutionise the treatment of addiction and convince society that addiction is a real disorder warranting medical treatment.

Critics argue that the brain disease approach may undermine addicted individuals’ confidence in overcoming addiction, or justify the use of coercive medical procedures  to “cure” it.

Join a panel of experts to debate the potential impact on society of treating addiction as a brain disease:

  • Can people with an addiction control their drug use and make free decisions?
  • How does the brain disease approach impact the ability to overcome addiction?
  • Should people with drug addiction be coerced into treatment?
  • Can neuroscience reduce the stigma and discrimination around addiction?
  • What about other addictions – gambling, food, sex and the Internet?

This panel discussion will be hosted by Prof Murat Yücel and Dr Adrian Carter from the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences. The panel will be moderated by psychiatrist and broadcaster (774ABC, 3RRR) Dr Steve Ellen, and will feature:

Professor Marc Lewis, neuroscientist, former drug addict, and author of the international best selling books Memoirs of an Addictive Brain and The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is not a Disease

Professor Dan Lubman, Director of Turning Point, Australia’s largest addiction treatment and research service, and Professor of Addiction at Monash University

Associate Professor Helen Keane, Sociologist at the Australian National University and author of What’s Wrong with Addictionand co-author of Habit: The Remaking of Addiction

Gavin Crosisca, former Collingwood AFL football player, former drug addict and Director of Sober Living Housing

The panel discussion starts at 6pm sharp. Cash bar open from 5pm.

An initiative of the David Winston Turner Endowment Fund.