From: Vincent Campbell (VCampbell@dmu.ac.uk)
Date: Mon 26 Jan 2004 - 12:29:05 GMT
Great question. Personally I don't see drug addiction as a meme, but the
whole political, economic, social and cultural frameworks within which drug
use is represented is memetic. This is most evident in the toleration of
drugs with high toxicity, addiction levels etc. etc.- most notably alcohol,
alongside the demonisation and illegalisation of others within some
I've seen wildlife documentaries showing various organisms- principally
primates, eating or drinking stuff that appears to intoxicate them for brief
periods. I don't think it's a non-adaptive trait per se, and the jump from
occasional consumption to addiction doesn't seem that great to me to need
some alternative explanation.
One key seems to be that no scheme for ridding people of their addictions
have thus far proved to be universally successful, or even successful in a
reasonably large proportion of cases- anyone know of a method that stands up
This suggests it's something beyond our ability to intervene in memetically-
in other words, no matter what messages we send out (just say no and all
that) it's not going to stop people a) trying drugs which means we can't
stop people b) getting addicted to some of them.
However, what we can do is examine communication efforts to limit (a), and
explore how these have evolved over in relation to public habits in drug
use, and new kinds of drug.
This stuff would link to the s-curve diffusion of innovations article links
were provided for- a quick flick through refers to a study of the spread of
non-smoking in the USA. Was it down to effective communication of smoking
related health risks, or were other factors more important?
> From: Ray Recchia
> Reply To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2004 2:08 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: drug addiction as meme
> I'm off for a week to attend a judicial conference on setting up special
> drug courts that focus on treatment instead of incarceration.
> My question is for the lot of you is: if drug addiction is a meme, are
> there any insights that a memetic perspective can suggest on how to limit
> it's spread? A related question: how is this complicated by the
> involuntary nature of addiction itself?
> Raymond O. Recchia, Esq.
> This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
> For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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