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Gabor Mate: The Addicts' Doctor

Jenny Asarnow
01/20/2011 at 8:00 p.m.

Gabor Mate is a doctor whose patients die young. They're hardcore drug addicts in Vancouver, BC. Dr. Mate is a staff physician at the only supervised injection site in North America, where addicts go to inject drugs and get medical care. "Nothing sways them from their habit," Mate writes. "Not illness. Not the sacrifice of love and relationship. Not the loss of all earthly goods. Not the crushing of their dignity. Not the fear of dying." Dr. Mate says drugs don't cause addiction, our brains do. He says we live in a society full of addicts and talks about his own slavish addictions to shopping and working, which, he says, stimulate his brain the way heroin stimulates others' — and result from his own mental illness. He explains why, if he had to come up with a way to keep drug addicts addicted, he'd invent the War on Drugs.

Dr. Gabor Mate is the author of several books including "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction." He spoke at Town Hall Seattle on January 14, 2010. His talk was presented as part of Town Hall's Future of Health Lecture Series with Elliott Bay Book Company.

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