BOOK REVIEW: Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari

Publication Date: March 1 2016
Format: Kindle
Genre:  Government Social Policy

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA 
 400 pages
Buy: Kindle | Audio


What if everything you think you know about addiction is wrong? Johann Hari's journey into the heart of the war on drugs led him to ask this question--and to write the book that gave rise to his viral TED talk, viewed more than 62 million times, and inspired the feature film The United States vs. Billie Holiday and the documentary series The Fix

One of Johann Hari's earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of his relatives and not being able to. As he grew older, he realized he had addiction in his family. Confused, not knowing what to do, he set out and traveled over 30,000 miles over three years to discover what really causes addiction--and what really solves it. 

He uncovered a range of remarkable human stories--of how the war on drugs began with Billie Holiday, the great jazz singer, being stalked and killed by a racist policeman; of the scientist who discovered the surprising key to addiction; and of the countries that ended their own war on drugs--with extraordinary results. 


This is an extremely eye opening look into the world of drugs from the start of the "War on Drugs". Addicts weren't always treated as criminals shunned, ostracized and looked down on.  We did not lock them up in prison etc. This didn't start until one man on a crusade changed the drug laws in not only the USA but around the world.  He banned physicians from caring for the addicted from helping them withdraw, from keeping them monitored and safe. Instead what has happened is what happened during prohibition.  When the drug trade went from being legal to illegal it went from physicians to the black market creating a whole new problem.

Now you have drug cartels, drug dealers and a cycle of addiction that just keeps getting worse. As prices on drugs rise, so does crime to allow drug addicts to maintain their habits. When you make things legal and put money into mental health you see crime drop, addiction slow and less overdose rates. You see things get better. Portugal has recently made all drugs legal and have the data to back these policies up but the US still hasn't gotten on board. As someone who has lost a daughter to drugs I know something needs to be done. Something needs to change because it's not getting better its getting worse.  More and more people are dying. 

Do you want to know why there are more bipoc people arrested for drugs? Because they are the low hanging fruit.  The cops can't get to the people at the top of the drug markets so they scoop up all the low level dealers the people in impoverished neighborhoods where dealing will make them more money than a legitimate job. 

Read this book, do some research and advocate for change. 

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