For a number of years, I gave testimony to both Houses of the NJ Legislature on the causes of addiction! Addiction  like the individuals it affects are completely unique. Whether the addiction is derived from behavioral issues to Chemical compulsions, the answers lie in our brains, our genes, and the greater world around us.  I took leave of drugs, and testimony, as many of the younger people that I interacted with either died or finally came to terms with their life, and started to develop better life skills, except one now in his 40s!

He had it bad, though he had amazing work skills despite limited time in school.  He lost a girl friend to drugs, and then he found another and with whom he had two children.  I testified for him, and tried to get him and her off the street in this dying game, but it did not work.  He is again trying, and hopefully he wins this time, if one can win.

When you look at treatment, as for instance, AA the success rate varies from 5% to 50%, but many fall around 10%! The rate is no better with drug addiction, as it seems this disorder is triggered by a different chemical. We know that 14.8 million people or
5.4% of the population are dependent on Alcohol or abuse alcohol with 13,000 trying it for the first time every day! With drugs, it is about 8.1 million  and some 27,000 try it for the first time every day! Statistics are hard to take. I was a researcher and used statistics to see causation, and success, but success comes hard with addiction!

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I can tell you about the human genome and note that in  many cases; it is 99% replicated in everybody except for 1% that perform great things, and can also cause drug dependence. We know that some can drink in moderation while others cannot, and the same is true of drugs.  We need continued and better research on addiction, as the numbers grow and those addicted climb.  Today, we have OxyContin and Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid around, since the 1960s! I am hoping to get that 40 something, once a schoolmate of my son on the right track, as his kids do need him! We just cannot rely on (NO), as Mrs. Reagan noted long ago!

Bill Weightman,