Nov 30 2011

Gabor Mate on Fostering Health in a Toxic Society

Feature Stories | Published 30 Nov 2011, 10:58 am | Comments Off on Gabor Mate on Fostering Health in a Toxic Society -

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New federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine went into effect last month, reducing the disparity in sentencing between crack and powdered cocaine from 100 – 1 down to 18-1. Mandatory federal sentencing for individuals caught with small amounts of crack cocaine were eliminated. The disparity swelled prison ranks with a disproportionately high numbers of people of color, and was not proved to be effective. Long jail sentences for non-violent offenders has been shown to be detrimental to the individual and to the communities from which the person is taken and then returned, often traumatized and destitute. The US remains the world leader in jail population with 2.4 million Americans behind bars in federal and state facilities, costing taxpayers $68 billion a year. Our bursting prisons are packed with drug addicts but, according to Dr. Gabor Mate, the social roots of addiction can be found in our culture, and addictive behaviors beset nearly all of us. In his bestselling book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Close Encounters with Addiction Dr. Mate writes, “[m]uch of our culture is geared toward enticing us away from ourselves in externally directed activity, into diverting the mind from ennui and distress.” Americans, he observers, spent $15 billion dollars on cosmetic surgery in 2006, 14 million tourists visited Las Vegas the same year, and our collective addiction to oil has ravaged the environment and motivated wars costing hundreds of thousands of lives. Years of experience working with serious drug users and with individuals managing terminal illness have led Dr. Mate to realize his patients, regardless of their affliction, had common histories of trauma and stress. Dr. Gabor Mate has won legions of readers and fans by offering a sound medical analysis of the environmental causes of illness. He will give a talk tonight in Los Angeles at the Immanuel Presbyterian church on Wilshire Blvd., entitled, “Fostering Health In A Toxic Society: The Social Basis of Illness and Well-Being.” The event is open to the public and listeners can buy tickets online through noon today or get tickets at the door starting at 5:30 pm.

Tickets are no longer available online. There will be tickets for sale at the door for $12 each, first come, first served. CASH OR CHECKS ONLY. Doors open at 5:30 pm.

Dr. Gabor Mate is the best-selling author of 4 books, including In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction, and When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection. A resident of Canada, Dr. Maté ran a popular family practice in East Vancouver for two decades. For seven years he also served as Medical Co-ordinator of the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver Hospital, caring for the terminally ill. More recently he worked for twelve years in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside neighbourhood with patients suffering from drug addiction, mental illness and HIV. In 2009 Dr. Maté received an Outstanding Alumnus Award from Simon Fraser University, and has recently been appointed Adjunct Professor in SFU’s School of Criminology. In 2011 he will receive an Honorary Degree from the University of Northern British Columbia.

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