We have a handful of interviews specifically devoted to addiction books. Shazia Omar chooses her best books about drug addiction, including On The Road by Jack Kerouac and Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. She argues that “getting out of drugs has a lot to do with your frame of mind and the ability to become connected to something higher than yourself.”
Others take up a similar theme. Johann Hari discusses the war on drugs, arguing that it has completely failed by almost every single metric you care to use. His book choices include The murderers: the shocking story of the narcotic gangs by Henry Anslinger and Will Oursler and Murder City by Charles Bowden, which illustrate his argument that the illegality of drugs necessarily involves organised criminal gangs that compete for business by competing in the extremity of the violence they are prepared to use.
Hari argues that drug addiction is far more environmentally determined that is allowed for and points to Portugal’s successful programmes for reintegrating addicts. His last two choices, the Globalisation of Addiction: a study in Poverty of the Spirit by Bruce Alexander and In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close encounters with Addiction by Gabor Maté explore this.
Mark Kleiman, the professor of public policy at UCLA School of Public Affairs, talks about the pros and cons of prohibition, arguing that prohibition can work, or at least have benefits, provided it’s done well, which it isn’t at the moment. He gives us his best books on drugs, including Paying the Tab: the costs and benefits of Alcohol Control by Philip J Cook and An Analytic Assessment of US Drug Policies by David Boyum and Peter Reuter.
Louise Foxcroft chooses her best books on the History of Medicine and Addiction, looking at medical practices of the past, from treatment of madness and non-existent diseases, to drug use and the origins of hypochondria. Dr Matthew Green looks at the specific case of London and the history of the city’s addictions, including chocolate, coffee tobacco and tea. Meanwhile the Italian cardiologist, Tato Grasso, chooses his best books on Medicinal Marijuana.
Drug Addicts are Human Beings
by Henry Smith Williams
The Murderers: The Shocking Story of the Narcotic Gangs
by Henry Anslinger and Will Oursler
by Charles Bowden
The Globalization of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit
by Bruce Alexander
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
by Gabor Maté