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The Globalization of Addiction

Toronto, Ontario
November 10, 2009

12:00 p.m.
East Common Room, Hart House, University of Toronto

The Toronto Harm Reduction Task Force November speakers series

Guest Speaker Dr. Bruce K. Alexander

Bruce K. Alexander is professor emeritus of psychology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. His research discoveries and communication skills have brought science-based facts and measured commentary to the intensely polarized discussion of drug addiction and its effects on people and communities. In his third book, The Globalization of Addiction: a study in poverty of the spirit, Alexander proposes a radical rethink of addiction which is particularly relevant in today’s economically volatile climate. Dr. Alexander believes unregulated capitalism or hypercapitalism spurs the globalization of addiction in financially turbulent times. He says stressors, such as market crashes, unaffordable housing and unemployment, exacerbate the relentless competition and self-seeking that already stress people in less troubled times, and explains how this generates a rising tide of addiction to many destructive habits, such as compulsive shopping, gambling, sexuality, and video gaming, as well as drug and alcohol abuse. He argues that the primary cause of rising addiction is the loss of long standing cultural traditions and values. This in turn, he says, causes whole societies to lose their identity and suffer a psychosocial dislocation that makes people vulnerable to addiction. In The Globalization of Addiction, Alexander criticizes electioneering politicians in Canada and the United States for promoting tougher drug laws and the abolition of supervised injection sites. He maintains that such harsh measures never have, and never can, halt the globalization of addiction.Copies of Dr. Alexander’s book will be available for sale. He will be pleased to sign them.

Please join us for this free presentation, and feel free to BYOC (that’s “bring your own….coffee”). There is no need to register in advance. Everyone is welcome.

For further information contact us at [email protected] or (647) 222-4420.

[Source: Canadian Harm Reduction Network mailing list,]