by Kenneth Justice
~This past week researchers released the findings of a new study; OREOS (the cookie) it turns out are every bit as addictive as cocaine!
Of course, anyone who has ever eaten those black and white cream filled cookies probably knows they can be lethal when it comes to the addictive scale. I suspect that if researchers wanted to continue their study they could find plenty of other white sugar based food products that would rival cocaine and heroin in addictive power…
The phenomena of a food types being addictive is not something new, at least not in my own experience. When I used to work at the rehab clinic I observed an entire host of addictions that aren’t classified in the medical journals;
—) People addicted to falling in love
—) People addicted to fast food
—) People addicted to abuse
There are all sorts of addictions. My certification is in chemical addictions counseling so a large part of my life was spent studying the science of addiction and then working with people in real life and helping them to overcome their addictions.
One of the simple realizations that I came to early in my professional career is that you can’t make someone stop being addicted; they have to choose for themselves to change their behavior. However, once someone chooses to stop their addictive patterns….there is definitely a lot of hope at the end of the tunnel.
But what does this say about food’s such as OREO‘s? Should they be banned? Should retailers be forced to put WARNING labels on packages; “This cookie is extremely addictive”. Should boxes of OREO cookies have pictures of fat people on them with the slogan; “This could be you if you buy this box of cookies!”
While those suggestions seem outlandish its not too far off the mark from what most countries do with the regulation of cigarettes. In Australia cigarettes boxes have pictures of people with lung cancer, in the U.S. warnings cover the entire box…..and yet people still buy them.
A lot of people would like to see any ‘unsafe’ substance outlawed. Yet if anyone wants to see whether or not outlawing substances works; then just look at the United States and its war on drugs which has been a total failure in the decades long task. Billions of dollars have been spent ‘fighting drugs’, lives have been ruined, men and women tossed into jail….and the United States is no closer to ending illegal drug use than when the ‘war’ first began.
I don’t think outlawing products or drugs works. It seems as though history tells us that when you make a food or chemical illegal…..it only exacerbates the problem.
Others believe the answer is education; “People need to be educated about the negative effects of cocaine, cigarettes, alcohol, fill-in-the-blank”. Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock in Siberia for the last thirty years then you are just as aware, as everyone else in the Western World, as to the negative effect of drugs, alcohol, and whatever.
Whether you are the richest suburbanite or the poorest person living in a ghetto….you are fully aware of the dangers of cigarettes.
The same goes with fast food; there isn’t a rich or poor person alive that doesn’t know the average calories in a fast food meal will break even the strongest scales.
Don’t get me wrong….I detest fast food. Those who are close to me know that when I see the Golden Arches my blood pressure increases as I can’t stand the place. But putting aside my detest for fast food, if I’m going to be honest about the problem I have to admit that ‘banning fast food’ is not the answer to preventing addictive behavior.
Just as banning drugs didn’t work. Banning OREO’s or banning fast-food won’t make the slightest difference in helping to curb people’s addictive behavior toward white sugar and other food substances that are unhealthy for you to consume.
One of the things that frustrated me while I worked at the Rehab clinic was that the government would send us addicts as though we could wave a magic wand and make their addiction go away. The false belief exists that if you ‘send someone to a rehab clinic then they will come out healthy‘. Life simply doesn’t work that way. If someone doesn’t want to stop their addictive behavior there is nothing you or I can do about it; Ultimately, people need to become responsible for themselves and for their actions.
Until an addict wants to stop……they will remain an addict. I realize that is a tough pill to swallow but it is the truth.
And lets be honest…not every chemical substance is bad for you….take caffeine for instance…which reminds me; I think I’ll have another cup of coffee.
Categories: Culture & Society