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Vienna | 5.10.2007 | 16:50 
God, what's happening in the world! A reality check on the web.

Chris, DaddyD, Zita

Maia's story
  We spotted quite a brilliant article written a couple of weeks ago in the Washington Post by Maia Szalavitz; she is a former drug-user. Now, in her forties she looks back twenty years ago and tries to reason what was going on with her back then when she was an addict. She relates her experiences of taking firstly cocaine and then heroine and puts the whole matter into some kind of perspective. Do her experiences match what scientists, researchers and governments tell us about addicts and addiction. Under the title "So what made me an addict?" she also examines the ongoing debate on whether addiction is a disease or a defect. Jill Zobel spoke with Maia and you can hear the whole interview on this Saturday's Reality Check. But in the meantime, here are a couple of excerpts from that interview:
  Jill Zobel: "Did you ever think about the whole nature of addiction when you were in the middle of taking drugs?"

Maia: "I had thought about addiction whilst taking them and I had defined it as - violating your own moral principles in order to get drugs and then not being able to enjoy them because you feel so guilty because you?ve violated your principles..."

Jill Zobel: "What made you take the leap to more serious drugs?"

Maia: "... Cocaine seemed very glamorous to me and very acceptable. The heroin did not and I did not get involved in heroine until I got suspended from school. Because of doing so much coke..."

Jill Zobel: "How devastating was it to get kicked out of school?"

Maia: "The thing that had driven so much of my addiction was this sense of unworthiness and self-hatred frankly and that's when I got into heroin because I just thought it was all over anyway!"

Jill Zobel: "What did these three years of extreme drug use do to you physically?"

Maia: "At the end of it I weighed about 80 pounds (36 Kilos) and I still have scars on my arms. Fortunately, someone used to give me clean needles. I'm in my forties now but at the end of my twenties when I stopped my addiction, I looked way worse than I do now..."

This Saturday's Reality Check
  Here more about Maia and other experts speaking about addiction on this Saturday's Reality Check at 12 midday on FM4 and as a Podcast soon after!
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