Wonders of The Yukon // Music
Wonders of The Yukon are Andy Campbell and David Langdale. West coast harmonies. DIY punk ethos. Melody, riffs & country soul. Songs about the world & the human condition from the comfort & terror of mid-life.
‘Molecules of Love’ is the latest single and the essence of the song is about shining a light on addiction, illuminating an otherwise ‘shady’ issue in society.
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MOLECULES OF LOVE
The Band have provided the following statement by Andy Campbell, in relation to the story behind
‘I work as a drug and alcohol therapist, but I am also a musician and songwriter. This song combines
the two. The lyrics speak of the theory that some people could actually be predisposed to become addicted to drugs, as a result of adverse childhood experiences.
The reasons why some people become addicted to substances are obviously very complicated and highly nuanced, and while I have significant experience working within the field, I do not consider myself an expert and I’m certainly not claiming to fully understand the neuroscience of the brain – far from it – but maybe this song gives an alternative approach to the debate on drug policy and this particular theory.
Early childhood is a time when the circuitry of the brain is formed. A child’s neurological development is directly affected by their environment. This chemistry of the brain is responsible for developing feelings of happiness, comfort, pleasure and euphoria through the formulation of molecules such as dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin.
These are the Molecules of Love.
A child experiencing a warm, loving and nurturing home environment has the perfect conditions to develop a healthy brain chemistry, enabling the necessary molecules to produce ‘happy’ and content feelings and emotions. As such, they possess the mental armoury to form strong, secure attachments.
However, the opposite is also true. Adverse childhood experiences and traumatic events can result in a child developing a maladapted brain circuitry. The effects of which can continue into adulthood, resulting in a lack of neurotransmitters – an empty circuitry in the brain. This leaves an inability to naturally produce the chemicals needed to sooth the effects of trauma. There is an absence of Molecules of Love.
This is where the influence of drugs can be highly significant. When a person takes drugs such as heroin, cocaine or alcohol, which directly stimulate the neurotransmitters in the brain, the brain is flooded with chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins. This can elicit intense feelings of euphoria, confidence, relaxation, peace and well-being. For the person who has never been able to naturally produce these chemicals, to suddenly experience these sensations is immense and revelatory. This could be the first time that this person has ever experienced emotional warmth, comfort, elation or been at peace with themselves and their world – so why wouldn’t they take it again?
This is the kind of person who could be more predisposed to drug addiction.
The work of Dr Gabor Mate inspired me to write this song – he talks of addiction being the end product of years of suffering and trauma that can even begin in the uterus of a parent suffering stress. Through my own work, I know that all of the people I see in treatment are filled with regret, remorse and shame about their addiction, and at the root of it there tends to be trauma.
So do they have a biological predisposition to become addicted to drugs? It can certainly run in families, pass down generations, but it is not genetic. It is developmental. And it exponentially affects those people living in challenging socio-economic and emotionally dysfunctional environments.
The subject of drug addiction tends to elicit strong reactions in people – moralistically, legally, punitively and judgementally. But should these people be treated as criminals, as they so often are, or treated with compassion?
Through this song, I am not trying to explain or simplify addiction, or justify people’s actions, I merely hope to shine a light on these issues and this particular theory of drug addiction. Could the absence of essential ‘Molecules of Love’ actually take us in a different direction when looking at drug policy?
There is currently amazing work happening by LEAP (Law Enforcement Action Partnership) who have been looking at this particular aspect of drug addiction and the harmful consequences of current drug policy. Type ‘Neil Woods’ into your search engine of choice if you want to hear the incredible and inspiring experiences and wisdom of an ex-undercover cop who previously infiltrated drug gangs.
This brings us onto ‘The War on Drugs’ which is a great band... but a whole other song altogether...