Deep brain stimulation has been put forward as a potential “cure” for intractable drug addiction. This is largely based on preclinical studies in animal models of addiction and small case series of positive, but short-term, effects on addictive behaviour in highly selected individuals. The history of neurosurgical treatment for psychiatric disorders suggests that we should be cautious in prematurely advocating invasive neurosurgical procedures on the basis of such limited evidence. Further research is required in animal models of addiction and in people treated for other neurological or psychiatric disorders before trials in addicted populations can be justified. Addictive disorders are among the most common mental disorders in many developed countries. Although many of these disorders remit without treatment in young adulthood, under the influence of increased responsibilities of marriage, mortgages, and children, addiction can become chronic and relapsing. People with more severe forms of addiction often seek help from specialist addiction and mental health services when they are in their early 30s. Psychosocial and pharmacological treatments can reduce the severity of problems in many cases but enduring abstinence can be difficult to sustain. Unresolved addiction lies at the heart of many social ills, sometimes driving people into crime or prostitution in order to support their habit, or onto the streets when they fall prey to it. Advocates of trials of deep brain stimulation in addiction argue that it is a potentially useful treatment for cases that fail to respond to existing treatments, citing evidence from preclinical and clinical studies. Deep brain stimulation is a neurosurgical intervention that has been used to treat intractable movement disorders in patients with Parkinson's disease. The technique uses a surgically implanted, battery-operated neurostimulator—a bit like a pacemaker—to deliver electrical stimulation that modulates electrical signals in targeted areas of the brain. The neurostimulator is normally implanted under the skin near the collarbone and connected to electrodes extending through a small hole in the skull to the desired brain area. The device can be removed at a later date. Deep brain stimulation is currently being trialled in the treatment of intractable psychiatric disorders such as Tourette's syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and depression . In this article, we review the evidence used to advocate the use of deep brain stimulation in the treatment of intractable addiction .