Is it right to profit from addiction? Part 1

Written by Warren Whitfield. Posted in Articles

The Addiction Action Campaign

The Addiction Action Campaign

How is it possible, that after gazillions of multiple currencies were made by multinational companies and governments for literally millennia gone by, that this question has not been asked or answered?

I find it absolutely amazing that the sheeple of planet earth have stood by and watched companies and governments literally rape our economies of their wealth under the disguise of free market capitalism. Does it make any sense at all not to ask questions like these?

Please don’t misunderstand me now, I am not saying that alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco or pharmaceuticals are good or evil. Neither am I challenging their right to exist as products and services in the free market system. I am also not saying that it is wrong to profit from the sale of these products or services either. I am simply asking a question, is it right to profit from addiction?

Let’s have a look at an issue like gambling for instance. According to National Responsible Gambling’s Chairperson Dr. Roger Meyer, 5% (five percent) of gamblers are problem gamblers**. That doesn’t sound too bad does it? But how much does that 5% contribute to the gambling industry’s turnover? In my opinion as the Chairperson of The Addiction Action Campaign, this small percentage of problem gamblers contributed to at least 30% (thirty percent) of the R15.6 billion turnover that was generated for 2008. That means quite simply, that at least R5 billion of their turnover came from people who cannot control themselves.

When you consider that this industry gave R15 million to National Responsible Gambling’s harm reduction purposes in the last year***, do you end up at the same conclusion as I have? Why was only R15 million spent on harm reduction when the gambling industry is clearly profiting immensely from addiction?

At this point we have to ask the same questions of all of the other industries. Well, that’s just fair isn’t it?

  1. What percentage of their consumers cannot control their consumption?
  2. How much is made from addicted consumers?
  3. Why doesn’t harm reduction spending match the exploitation of this vulnerable section of consumers?

Most importantly, how is it that the Industry Association For Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA) have never asked this question publicly or presented it to the Constitutional Court for a verdict? Is it because ARA is funded by the alcohol manufacturers and has completely lost their objectivity and ability to speak or think freely out of fear of losing their funding?

Clearly, somehow the truth to these questions has been masterfully avoided since forever and a day. But one final question must be asked at this point; now that I have asked these questions, will the answers be forthcoming? It seems once you begin asking the right questions, so many more present themselves. And if they are actually ever answered, will our Supercalafragilistic Constitutional Court have the balls or the wisdom to rule what is right and fair on this issue? Oops, that was another question, sorry.

Well, time will tell because The Addiction Action Campaign is asking these questions now and we want decisions.

Okay I promise that this is the last question… If it is decided that it is either okay or not okay to profit from addiction, then what is the fair level of financial accountability for anyone who profits from addiction?

So much exploitation, so much money, so many unanswered questions, and one South African addiction epidemic not taken seriously enough.

** Dr. Meyer stated this statistic in a television debate with me on SABC Africa, African Views in November 2008.
*** Prof. Peter Collins, founder and Executive Director of National responsible Gambling Program in S.A. in a reply email to my questions.

The Addiction Action Campaign

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Warren Whitfield

Warren Whitfield is the founder and CEO of the Addiction Action Campaign. He is also the author of “Addict Nation – The epidemic of addiction in South Africa today”. He founded NADA S.A. and has his own auriculotherapy practice in Northcliff, Johannesburg. He envisioned the concept of addiction harm reduction in South Africa and birthed the Addiction Harm Reduction Compliancy Initiative. Besides treating people for many ailments, he also created and owns various other businesses which include, AffiliatePro Marketing, &


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