The Desire for Dopamine: Understanding What Drives Addiction with Dr. Daniel Z. Lieberman MD, Mike Long & Travis Lupick

Original Air Date Wednesday, August 19, 2020 

Drug overdose is the number one cause of death among people under the age of 50 in the US and Canada.

Effective treatment options for those afflicted with substance abuse issues are limited and lack government participation. But, why? All of us want to feel good and many people who become addicted are just trying to combat their depression and pain. Lisa’s guests, Dr. Daniel Lieberman, and Mike Long describe the upside of dopamine and its role in human existence. Then, Travis Lupick unpacks the story of how the city of Vancouver, Canada, defies the stigma of drug consumption and helps substance abusers get clean.

Dr. Daniel Z. Lieberman & Mike Long — The Molecule of More:
  • The role dopamine plays in a human’s desire for more. [3:17]
  • Is love an imaginary construct that only exists in our minds? [6:42]
  • What makes ADD and ADHD patients more susceptible to addiction? [11:15]
  • The dopamine system is behind both creativity and madness. [20:49]
  • The dissatisfaction component of dopamine is the engine of human progress, more is where the money is, and free will. [26:27]

Dr. Daniel Z Lieberman is a professor and Vice Chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University. He has provided insight on psychiatric issues for the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, the US Dept of Commerce and the office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and has discussed mental health interviews on CNN, C-Span, and PBS.

Michael E. Long is an award-winning speechwriter, screenwriter, and playwright. A popular speaker and educator, Mr. Long has addressed audiences around the world including a keynote at Oxford University. He teaches writing at Georgetown University where he is a former Director of Writing. Mr. Long pursued undergraduate studies at Murray State University and graduate studies at Vanderbilt University.

Book: Book: The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity— And Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race

The Molecule of More Website

@MoleculeofMore & #MoleculeofMore on Twitter

Molecule of More on Facebook

Travis Lupick — Is it Time to Decriminalize Drug Addiction?:
  • The fentanyl crisis and the addiction epidemic is an effort to reduce the pain caused by human suffering. [37:40]
  • With so many different types of learners, why do school systems not nurture neurodiversity? [32:02]
  • How Vancouver handles the public health crisis of substance abuse with harm prevention techniques, housing options, and offering prescription heroin. [39:50]
  • Travis Lupick describes how harm reduction sites, volunteers, and mothers work to end substance abuse. [53:58]

Travis Lupick is an award-winning journalist based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. He works as a staff reporter for the Georgia Straight newspaper and has also written about drug addiction, harm reduction, and mental health for the Toronto Star and Al Jazeera English, among other outlets. For his reporting on Canada’s opioid crisis, Lupick received the Canadian Association of Journalists’ prestigious Don McGillivray award for best overall investigative report of 2016 and two 2017 Jack Webster awards for excellence in B.C. journalism.

Book: Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction

Fighting for Space Website

@TLupick on Twitter

TLupick on Facebook

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life — A guidebook for learning how to harvest happiness through self-mastery. Happiness waits for no one and sometimes we all need support. What is getting in the way of your happiness right now?

“All drugs of abuse stimulate dopamine.” @MoleculeofMore on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“70% of the clients I see in my addiction recovery practice have ADD or ADHD. Click To Tweet“The bigger burst of dopamine you get the more important something seems.” @MoleculeofMore on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “Drugs are like a guided missile that outweighs anything nature is capable of giving us.” @MoleculeofMore on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “Being creative is associating things that don't normally go together.” @MoleculeofMore on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“One of the things that defines mental illness is the inability to stop connecting things that don't go together.” @MoleculeofMore on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “A creative brain is more like a mentally ill brain than a normal brain.” @MoleculeofMore on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “People who have highly dopaminergic brains seem to be very focused on achieving goals.” @MoleculeofMore on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“In order to balance ourselves out, in order to make ourselves not so obsessed with dopamine we have got to learn to spend some time in the present.” @MoleculeofMore on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “You are not at the mercy of the media unless you choose to be.” @MoleculeofMore on @HH_TalkRadio Click To TweetClick To Tweet is a drug overdose.” @TLupick on @HH_TalkRadio” username=”LisaKamen”]“Instead of forcing people to use drugs in an alley, they can use drugs in an environment where they feel safe. Where they establish connections.” @TLupick on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“It's really easy to get somebody off their drug of choice. It's really hard to keep them off it.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “Too often our approach to drug use and our policies around drug users are based on morals as opposed to science.” @TLupick on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “Addiction is a tricky thing to treat because you have to address all the different aspects.” @TLupick on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet



Awake and Aware: The Science of Becoming a Better Human and Society with Stuart Shanker & Jim Davies PhD

Awake and Aware: The Science of Becoming a Better Human and Society with Stuart Shanker & Jim Davies PhD

Purpose-driven and consciously prepared brain food from the beaches of Malibu, California. Join us on this week’s show focusing on being a better human and society. Guests Stuart Shanker and Jim Davies PhD discuss managing the constant barrage of distractions brought on by modern life, optimizing your life and taking back our productivity. To learn more visit

read more