I grew up with an 'up-close-and-personal' life experience of this problem. Not something that I write about, but I would have to say that it has influenced me in my approach here.
Over the past year, I've spent more and more time trying to understand the human brain and its effect on perception and spirituality. Addiction is a large component of this, since it is interwoven with so many systems within the brain.
There really are two forms of addiction: one is dopamine-related, and the other is endorphin/opiate-related. Alcohol and cocaine play off the former, while marijuana and heroin work on the latter.
My sense is that the opiates are the more difficult addictions to break because they trigger that sense of satisfaction and contentment that people so desperately need these days. Too much dopamine and you end up with OCD and chronic anxiety. I'm looking for a down side to too much endorphin other than not wanting to get out of bed ever again.
Satisfaction is hard to 'overcome.' People who live tidy and well-insulated lives, away from the turmoil of the world, are hard to convince that they need to repent and change.
The draw of opioids in today's culture is largely about how little satisfaction we have with what he have and how most of us now engage in work that has no real season or cycle. We live in the era of the perpetual, where nothing stops because there are no seasons and no lasting accomplishments.
We are endorphin-starved... up until the doctor gives us the script.
In America, things are relatively stable for the time being, but we could very well end up like Manchuria in the 19th century with an opium epidemic, just as I believe we are entering into a period similar to 'Gin Craze' of 18th century England. People are hungry for marijuana, and are quite willing to admit that they only want it to get high.
Something is missing from our modern life.