Summary

It is now 100 years since drugs were first banned in the United States. On the eve of this centenary, journalist Johann Hari set off on an epic three-year, 30,000-mile journey into the war on drugs. What he found is that more and more people all over the world have begun to recognize three startling truths: Drugs are not what we think they are. Addiction is not what we think it is. And the drug war has very different motives to the ones we have seen on our TV screens for so long.
In Chasing the Scream, Hari reveals his discoveries entirely through the stories of people across the world whose lives have been transformed by this war. They range from a transsexual crack dealer in Brooklyn searching for her mother, to a teenage hit-man in Mexico searching for a way out. It begins with Hari's discovery that at the birth of the drug war, Billie Holiday was stalked and killed by the man who launched this crusade - and it ends with the story of a brave doctor who has led his country to decriminalize every drug, from cannabis to crack, with remarkable results.
Chasing the Scream lays bare what we really have been chasing in our century of drug war - in our hunger for drugs, and in our attempt to destroy them. This audiobook will challenge and change how you think about one of the most controversial - and consequential - questions of our time.
©2015 Johann Hari (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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Critic reviews

"Wonderful. I couldn't put it down" (Noam Chomsky)
"An absolutely stunning book. It will blow your mind, and blow you away" (Elton John)
"Superb journalism and thrilling story-telling" (Naomi Klein)
"Intoxicatingly thrilling ... It will change the drug debate forever" (Russell Brand) "This book is, forgive the obvious phrase, screamingly addictive. The story it tells, jaw-droppingly horrific, hilarious and incredible, is one everyone should know: that is all true boggles the mind fascinated and infuriates by equal measure. Johann Hari, in brilliant prose, exposes one of the greatest and most harmful scandals of the past hundred years" (Stephen Fry)
"Johann Hari's book is the perfect antidote to the war on drugs, one of the most under-discussed moral injustices of our time. It combines rigorous research and deeply human story-telling. It will prompt an urgently-needed debate" (Glenn Greenwald)
"Johann Hari has written a drug policy reform book like no other. Many have studied, or conducted, the science surrounding the manifold ills of drug prohibition. But Hari puts it all into riveting story form, and humanises it ... It's a fascinating tale" (Norm Stamper, former chief of the Seattle Police Department)
"In this energetic and thought-proving book Johann Hari harnesses the power of personal narrative to reveal the true causes and consequences of the War on Drugs" (Professor David Nutt DM FRCP FRCPsych FMedSci, former chairman of the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to the UK government)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Stephanie on 09-02-15

Captivating and thought provoking

I am a fairly liberal person, not a drug user per-se but I have had my experiences and run-ins with drugs and the system in which they are demonised and scape-goated. This book forced me to review the way I viewed drugs, drug use and drug addicts and drove home some difficult to digest truths. Incredinly interesting, moving, disturbing, liberating, everyone should read this book no matter how they feel about drugs, and I think we as a society will get there in the end - to the place this book so convincingly argues us to go.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Renata on 27-04-16

Important, essential, informative.

If you could sum up Chasing the Scream in three words, what would they be?

Important, essential, informative.

What did you like best about this story?

Johann Hari gives us an in depth look at how badly we have handled the situation with illegal drugs and the damage it has done to too many people. This book isn't about encouraging recreational or across the counter drug taking - He doesn't advocate drug taking at all but tries to give us a balanced look at what the War on Drugs really is and where it went wrong right from the outset.

Which character – as performed by Tim Gerard Reynolds – was your favourite?

The reading was well balanced and I thought I was listening to the author most of the time which I deduced as a good thing?

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I tried to remain unemotional about this subject but did find some of the stories sent me into a frustrated tizzy of hair-pulling for all sorts of reasons too long to detail as the stories were many.

Any additional comments?

Whether you adamantly believe in the War on Drugs or believe in legalisation this book really will help you make an informed opinion on the subject. It is a very rational debate on the subject and the book should be an essential read for all those of reading and drug-taking age.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Drake on 24-04-16

This is worth your time....

Any additional comments?

I am a physician who has practiced a specialty of internal medicine for over 30 years.if you want advice: you should absolutely hear this book.The author makes a compelling case that most, if not all, drugs should be legalized and regulated.I believe that marijuana, opiates, cocaine and methamphetamine cause more harm than good when used recreationally.(Methamphetamine is especially harmful and is a common cause of heart failure and death in long-term users.)Nevertheless, the author has persuaded me that the harm caused by Prohibition and the War on Drugs is not worth the social benefit.Increasing numbers of young people are dying of narcotic overdoses. (Read the excellent Dreamland by Sam Quinones.) With enlightened policies that have worked for example in Switzerland – this can be stopped.Drug-related crime of all kinds – from the many thousands of horrific murders caused by the Cartels to petty theft to help support a habit – could be markedly reduced by legalization. The police could concentrate on criminals doing real social harm. The prisons would not be overflowing with those being brutalized for largely victimless crimes. The money spent arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning drug users could be spent with much greater social benefit. You will learn that many of our drug policies have been founded on ignorance and prosecuted with ulterior motives.There are aspects of this book that I disagree with. The author is not a physician and he has chosen his medical experts selectively. I believe he underestimates the power of "chemical hooks” to disrupt the human reward system and subvert the will.On the whole, he gives much credence to a lack of social connection and past psychotrama as the cause of drug abuse and addiction. I think he probably overemphasizes this influence. There are significant genetic factors that predispose to substance abuse and addiction – this is clearly true with alcohol for example. When susceptible humans meet easily available drugs there is likely to be trouble —and we must accept and be ready to cope with that fact. He freely admits that ending prohibition will probably increase the use of drugs of all sorts. But the drugs will probably be less potent and less dangerous. And the conditions of their use can be better regulated.Mental Health Services (which have not achieved the same scientific foundations or effectiveness as the rest of medicine) and other social services would be significantly challenged by legalization. They could at least be better funded and possibly evolve their effectiveness with the windfall of money not wasted on prohibition.All this said, he has convinced this skeptic that legalization and regulation is the better path. I suspect he will also convince you.

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192 of 201 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Gordon Jones on 26-01-15

Absolutely magnificent

A more inspiring and insightful book I cannot imagine. Brilliantly presented and truly earth shattering. I do so hope the influences of this well researched work reach far and touch the key people who are in positions to make changes in our society.

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37 of 40 people found this review helpful

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