Embraced by the Needle

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Summary of “Embraced by the Needle”

In his essay “Embraced by the Needle”, Gabor Maté sets out the stages of drug addiction and its consequences, its effects bring many torments to people who are vulnerable to drug dependences. At first, he explains the physiological effects of using drugs. Then, he reflects upon different degrees of stress that cause emotional youths are easily involved in substance abuse.

Mate is a physician; he lives in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside which he considers as the drug capital of Canada. He also estimates addict population in Vancouver is around 3,000 to 5,000 individuals. Mate uses scientific research to identify the essence of “high”, which is condition under the influence of drugs. He defines addiction as the state of “emotional anesthetic and numbing pain” (273) caused by opiates like cocaine, heroin, tranquilizer, or any combination of chemicals. And Maté says the human brain has opiate receptors that interact with endorphins; natural opiate-like substances that can reduce pain and regulate mood. In particular, he confirms opiates can develop a “high” excitement which can induce users to temporarily escape from depressions and to feel better (273). Moreover, he insists that drugs can instantly make people become addicted after a few attempts. As an expression of an addictive twenty-seven year-old sex trade worker: “it felt like a warm, soft hug” (273), Maté suggests this feeling is one of the reasons why people become addicted. Besides, Maté points out the importance of “interaction of parenting figures” (274) as it releases endorphins in infant brains, which helps children control stress and tension. Therefore, he informs that endorphins play a role as an important substance in promoting the development of children brains. In contrast, he also emphasizes on the fact that children who grow up with less parenting connections could not release sufficient endorphins for brain development; they tend to be more...
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