We have a handful of interviews devoted to books about addiction. Memoirs about addiction are recommended by Matt Rowland Hill, an expert on the genre (he read dozens of them while undergoing rehab himself) and author of Original Sins. If you're looking for a celebrity memoir on what it's like to be an addict, American-Canadian actor Matthew Perry's memoir is a very readable one (it's like hearing a funny friend telling you about the hell he's going through—Perry had no ghostwriter).
For a nonfiction book that sheds light on the prescription drug crisis in the US, and how that came about, look no further than Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe, which reads like a thriller.
The Bangladeshi novelist Shazia Omar recommends novels 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. Hari argues that drug addiction is far more environmentally determined than is allowed for and points to Portugal’s successful programs for reintegrating addicts. Mark Kleiman, a 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 currently.
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. Her own book, The Making of Addiction, looks at the use and abuse of opium in 19th-century Britain.
The author and recovering addict Matt Rowland Hill dissects the ‘addiction memoir’—its literary potential, its formal conventions and its offer of hope and catharsis—as he recommends five books that exemplify the form, from Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater to Mary Karr’s bestselling Lit.
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
Everything we have been told about drugs and drug addiction and how society should deal with them is wrong, says the British author and journalist Johann Hari. He chooses the best books on ‘the war on drugs.’
The social historian argues London is an intrinsically addictive city. He charts its history through its dependencies on chocolate, tobacco, coffee, and tea.
Historian and author Louise Foxcroft prescribes reading on medical practices of the past, from treatments of madness and non-existent disease, to drug use and the origins of hypochondria.
The Italian cardiologist and fellow of the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine proposes five books on Medicinal Marijuana and explains why we should be reading them.
The Professor of Public Policy at the UCLA School of Public Affairs talks drugs and selects the best books on the subject. Enlightening discussion around drug policies and potential benefits of hallucinogens
Author and social psychologist discusses the nature of drug addiction and the problems associated with it. Discusses books by Coelho, Welsh and Kerouac