Americans are dead set on finding a magic-bullet solution for addiction. And the leading experts in the field, including pharmacologists, neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists—adding their voices to the 12-step movement—are all clamoring to be recognized as the true messiahs leading us to this promised land.
But the new magic bullets are no better than the old AA one. To demonstrate this truth, I’ll deconstruct two monumental failures of modern therapy—one a leading-edge effort at splicing pharmacology and genetics; the other the most expensive psychotherapeutic clinical trial of alcoholism treatment ever conducted.
Both efforts didn’t just come up short. They produced nada.
But that is only bad news for those who want to administer addiction cures to people.