Perry Halkitis on Methamphetamine Addiction

“The drug, methamphetamine, interests me because its use transcends race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, and level of education,” says Perry Halkitis. Halkitis’ Methamphetamine Addiction: Biological Foundations, Psychological Factors, and Social Consequences (American Psychological Association, 2009), is one of the most comprehensive books in print about methamphetamine addiction.

“There is no simple, linear path to methamphetamine addiction,” Halkitis says. “Trajectories to addiction vary from person to person.” He notes that biological, psychological, and social vulnerabilities are a powerful call, and that those who are depressed, live in poor economic situations, and transact in social circles where the drug is used are clearly at greater risk.

“In my view a treatment that encompasses the totality of a person’s biological, psychological, and social life is the most beneficial. Such an approach meets the person where he or she is, examines the realities of his or her life, and tries to understand why the addiction has developed and looks for strategies to counter it.

Perry Halkits is Steinhardt’s associate dean for research and doctoral studies and a professor of applied psychology & public health.