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The Business of… Illegal Drugs

No one knows its exact scale, but it’s thought to be one of the biggest industries on the planet, amounting to almost 1 percent of global GDP. Kipp takes a look.

November 29, 2010 3:48 by


This is a complex area. Scientific research into the various factors behind addiction is ongoing, but the gist is that prolonged exposure to drugs has an impact on brain function. The functions affected include control, reward and motivation. With those circuits fried, a person is less able to stop themselves.

According to US-based National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Because drug abuse and addiction have so many dimensions and disrupt so many aspects of an individual’s life, treatment is not simple. Effective treatment programs typically incorporate many components, each directed to a particular aspect of the illness and its consequences.”

Treatments may include withdrawal, medicines, and counseling to varying degrees, from outpatient to residential.


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