3 out of 4 stars
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The term “war on drugs” has dominated the modern vernacular for as long as I can remember. Also, noteworthy, the opiate addiction has recently been classified as a national emergency in the United States. The media is filled with stories of drug seizures. In addition, there are numerous documentaries and movies showing the lives of addicts and how the addiction affects them and the people around them. Often, those on the outside looking on may say to themselves, why did the person even start in the first place? We feel that the individual could quit if they really wanted to. But can they?
Why Can’t Johnny Just Quit by Kyle Oh (MD), is an insightful and thought-provoking work on understanding and hopefully, for an addict, overcoming their addiction. It provides an alternative viewpoint to the commonly held misconceptions surrounding addiction and why the majority overdose, sometimes ending in their death. Although the book deals mainly with opiate addiction, it also touches on other addictions such as alcohol and weed.
My rating for this book is 3 out of 4 stars. I found that the author handled a very serious topic from a personal and sympathetic perspective and not just in an academic way. I did not give the book a full 4-star rating because I felt the author was at times too repetitive, which lengthened the book unnecessarily.
Even though it is a solemn topic, and there was the use of medical terminology, I found the author simplified the material as much as possible. In addition, the manner of writing made it a welcome and interesting read, instead of being a chore.
The author’s approach to understanding and treating addiction was indeed novel, and some may say ground-breaking. It would help the reader to better appreciate the struggles that the addict goes through without having to go through the experience personally. It provided a different insight as to how an addict should be viewed for friends and family to be more compassionate to the plight of the addict. The aim of the author was to enable the reader to see an addict as someone who needs assistance and treatment and not vilification and incarceration. An analysis as to why an addict becomes an addict and why they can’t “just quit” is presented. Another interesting point the author elucidated on, was the subtle difference between an addict and an abuser of substances.
As stated previously, there was a lot of repetition in the book. The author himself acknowledged this early in the tome. In some ways, because of the subject matter, repetition was necessary to reinforce the author’s points. However, several phrases and sometimes it seemed liked paragraphs, were repeated within a short space, that would leave one with a feeling of déjà vu. Repetition had its place to emphasise the author’s points, but some of it was unnecessary. The book would then have been shorter, but the impact would have been the greater.
This book would, in my opinion, be an incredible benefit to anyone who is an addict or the friends, family, work mates or acquaintances of an addict. More importantly, those in the medical profession could use the book to aid them in recognising the signs of patients becoming addicted. It may even provide them with the tools to avoid a patient becoming an addict or to help someone already addicted, with overcoming the addiction.
As the author stated if we can deal with the root cause behind the addiction or the abuse, and if we can recognize the warning signs leading to addiction, we as human beings would be in a better position to start making a headway in the war.
Why can't Johnny Just Quit?
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