Why Neuroscience Matters for a Rational Drug Policy

Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, 2010

14 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2009  

David M. Eagleman

Baylor College of Medicine

Mark A. Correro

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 9, 2009

Abstract

Drug addiction reflects abnormal operation of normal neural circuitry. More than physical dependence, addiction represents changes in the brain that lead to increased craving and diminished capacity for the control of impulses. Given the growing biological understanding of addiction, it is critical for scientists to play an active role in drug policy because, as neuroscientific understanding develops, we will, to a much greater degree, be able to target specific behavioral, pharmaceutical, and neurological treatments for specific addictions. It is important to emphasize that biological explanations will not become equivalent to exculpation. Instead, the goal of explanation is to introduce rational sentencing and the opportunity for customized rehabilitation. This approach is likely to show more utility and less cost than incarceration. The neuroscientific community should continue to develop rehabilitative strategies so that the legal community can take advantage of those strategies for a rational, customized approach to drug addiction.

Keywords: drug, addiction, dependence, craving, impulses, biological, policy, neuroscience, neuroscientific, pharmaceutical, neurological, treatment, sentencing, rehabilitation, rehabilitative

Suggested Citation

Eagleman, David M. and Correro, Mark A., Why Neuroscience Matters for a Rational Drug Policy (April 9, 2009). Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1375495

David M. Eagleman

Baylor College of Medicine ( email )

One Baylor Plaza
Houston, TX 77030
United States

Mark A. Correro (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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