Science of addiction could offer alternatives to punishment of addict

The Society for Neuroscience runs a fascinating feature in its April issue called "Addiction and Brain Circuits." There's no "new" news here, but it's a very concise, clear feature on what is now known about the human brain and the way addictive substances can change its chemistry and alter behavior. "For a long time, society viewed addiction as a moral failing," the article says. "The addict was seen as someone who simply lacked self-control. Today, thanks to new advances in brain imaging and other technologies, we know that addiction is a disease characterized by profound disruptions in particular routes--or circuits--in the brain...Disruption to the brain's reward system is only part of the reason why drug addictions are so difficult to overcome and why relapses can occur even after years of abstinence." The article also contains links to further reading. Article