Dr Gabor Maté’s view is that trauma may be the key to breaking addiction.
Ending the cycle of pain, silence, and stigma of addiction begins with asking for help. Maté holds on to the fact that this discomfort – which we are communally aware of – will force us to examine what’s gone wrong in our collective psyche, and to seek to correct it.
He is is known for supporting drug decriminalisation, a refers to the success in Portugal, where it is no longer illegal to possess a small amount of heroin or cocaine, where the country has seen a reduction of drug-taking, less criminality and more people in treatment.
He states, it’s not really the drugs that are being decriminalised, it’s the people who are taking them – and given that they are, in his view, always victims of trauma, and never merely “bad” or “dangerous”, that’s entirely logical.
Decriminalisation is only the beginning: reform must cut much deeper. “The whole legal system is based on the idea that people are making a choice,” he says. “This is false – because no one chooses to be an addict, or to be violent.”