Addiction can seem incomprehensible. Sverre Nesvåg, research leader at the Regional Competence Center for Drug Research (KORFOR), helps us understand why some people use drugs as a universal tool in life.

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This writes = Oslo on its website. Sverre Nesvåg is the research leader at KORFOR (Alcohol and Drug Research Western Norway). In the interview, he talks about what characterizes addiction to drugs and about what is good and less good treatment of drug problems. 


Drugs hijack the brain's motivational system

Sverre Nesvåg tells = Oslo:

The problem is not that you like intoxication. Everyone can do that. The description of the heroin's effect sounds great to me. The "liking of drugs" does not increase with dependence. On the contrary, the good feelings becomes less and less. What is increasing is the unconscious urge: "I just need it!"

He emphasizes that drug addiction is about much more than the purely physical urge to take a drug:

What characterizes the addict is a lock in very few subject positions. That is, few ways to define themselves, few roles they can play in society. In the end, there may be only one: "I'm a drug addict."

It also happens that the drugs hijack the brain's motivational system. Intoxication becomes not only a problem, but also a solution - in fact the solution to most things. "Intoxication is the answer to all questions."


Drug treatment must be much more than detoxification

Therefore, drug treatment must also be much more than just "detoxification", says Sverre Nesvåg:

There are interventions that do not aim at change and a better life: Measures that only maintain the status quo, and do not care about how people proceed. To assess whether an intervention is good for a person, we can ask: Does it expand the person's social repertoire, or is he or she still locked in?

He talks about what he thinks is the biggest mistake with society's treatment of drug addiction is the following:

We treat it as an acute disorder where the challenge is to become drug-free. We have not sufficiently taken in new knowledge about addiction. It is a long-lasting and complex disorder. The problem is not to become drug-free, but to remain so. We must help people to be able to remain drug-free in the long run.

This is just an excerpt from the interview. You can read the entire interview = Oslo's websites (in Norwegian).