Dr. Ben Carson: ‘Addiction occurs in people who are vulnerable’

Dr. Ben Carson says “addiction occurs in people who are vulnerable, who are lacking something in their lives,” and plans to address the problem if elected president by returning America to its “values and principles.”

On CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, Carson was asked for his professional opinion on addiction.

“As a doctor, what’s your sense of the human side of addiction?” host John Dickerson asked. “Where does it come from, how should it best be treated?”

“Well, there are all kinds of addictions,” the retired neurosurgeon replied. “Usually addictions occur in people who are vulnerable, who are lacking something in their lives. And so we have to really start asking ourselves, what have we taken out of our lives in America? What are 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 anyone else had ever reached?”


Carson campaigns in Colorado last month. (Photo: David Zalubowski/AP)

Carson continued: “Why are we in the process of throwing away all of our values and principles for the sake of political correctness?”

The doctor did not mention that addiction is a disease that can occur in all kinds of people, vulnerable or not.

Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors. … 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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 43,000 people died from unintentional drug overdoses in 2013, up from 38,000 in 2010.

The Republican hopeful, who sits alongside Donald Trump atop recent national polls in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, also suggested that America’s heroin epidemic has been caused by the U.S. government’s failure to secure the southern border with Mexico.

“I was down there with the sheriffs,” Carson said. “And you can purchase it so easily. This is not a good thing for us. We need to not give up on this war on drugs and certainly not to facilitate it. We can do this, but we have to have the national will to do it.”