Congress is told porn addiction is similar to heroin or crack addiction

BY admin

November 20 2004 12:00 AM ET

Comparing pornography to heroin, a panel of antiporn advocates is calling on Congress to finance studies on "porn addiction" and launch a public-health campaign about its dangers. Internet pornography is corrupting children and hooking adults into an addiction that threatens their jobs and families, the panel told a hearing organized Thursday by Sen. Sam Brownback, chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Science. Mary Anne Layden, codirector of a sexual trauma program at the University of Pennsylvania, said pornography's effect on the brain mirrors addiction to heroin or crack cocaine. She told of one patient, a business executive, who arrived at his office at 9 a.m. each day, logged on to Internet porn sites, and didn't log off until 5 p.m. Layden called for billboards and bus ads warning people to avoid pornography, strip clubs, and prostitutes.

Brownback, a Republican from Kansas and an outspoken Christian conservative who has championed efforts to curb indecency on television and the Internet, said the public is beginning to realize "they don't just have to take it." But he acknowledged the First Amendment right to free speech has limited congressional efforts. In June the Supreme Court blocked a law designed to shield Web-surfing children from pornography, ruling that requiring adults to register or use access codes before viewing objectionable material would infringe on their rights.

Brownback said scientific data is needed to help his cause. Weaver acknowledged that research "directly assessing the impact of pornography addiction on families and communities is rather limited." But he pointed to studies that show prolonged use of pornography leads to "sexual callousness, the erosion of family values, and diminished sexual satisfaction."

Tags: Health

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