Johann Hari is the author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.
One of my earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of my relatives and not being able to. And I was just a little kid, so I didn’t really understand why, but as I got older, I realized we had drug addiction in my family, including later cocaine addiction.
I’d been thinking about it a lot lately, partly because it’s now exactly 100 years since drugs were first banned in the United States and Britain, and we then imposed that on the rest of the world. It’s a century since we made this really fateful decision to take addicts and punish them and make them suffer, because we believed that would deter them; it would give them an incentive to stop.
And a few years ago, I was looking at some of the addicts in my life who I love, and trying to figure out if there was some way to help them.… Read the rest