Monday, July 18, 2016

Does Drug Use Make You Bad?

 By Universal Pictures (Touch of Evil trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Study of Prison Inmates Suggests Yes

In a prior post we asked the question whether alcohol makes you sick. Long ago we asked whether alcohol makes you stupid. Now we ask whether drug use makes you bad.

People who can’t tell right from wrong often get arrested and incarcerated.  Now it turns out that repeated drug use may impair the region of the brain responsible for moral decision-making. In other words, heavy drug users may lose the ability to completely tell right from wrong, so they go on to commit crime.

Well, that's kind of the conclusion reached in a study of prison inmates, entitled Abnormal fronto-limbic engagement in incarcerated stimulant users during moral processing, and published in Psychopharmacology.

We’re not talking about all illegal drugs, but the stimulants cocaine and methamphetamines. Chronic cocaine and meth users seem to have difficulty integrating emotions into their moral processing. That would mean a decision concerning whether or not to perform certain immoral/criminal acts would not be limited by emotions or feelings of guilt, shame, sorrow, or remorse.

Okay, so long term cocaine and meth use doesn't make you bad, but it does seem to impair the part of the brain responsible for moral processing.  

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