• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Rational Addiction Model of Drug Use

  • By: Matthew W. Johnson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

The rational addiction model was proposed by economists Kevin Murphy and Gary Becker. The essential element of this theory that differs from other theories and lay perspectives on addiction is that addicts choose to consume drugs (or engage in other addictive behaviors, such as watching television or overeating) because engaging in the behavior maximizes discounted utility. Addicts are assumed to have full knowledge of the consequences of the addictive behavior, but calculate that there is greater benefit to using the drug relative to not using the drug. Future negative consequences are assumed to be discounted (their utility is reduced because they are delayed), but the drug is used because the sum of all discounted utility still favors drug use over abstinence. Therefore, addicts recognize that ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles