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Chasing the Scream

The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
Written by: Johann Hari
Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Length: 14 hrs and 10 mins
5 out of 5 stars (56 ratings)

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Publisher's 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.

What members say

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Provides very good arguments

I think the information provided gives a good basis to find a good way to end this war that has cost lots of lives and money and has achieved nothing.

The last three chapters are the best where a solution is shown

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Eye opener

I have to say this book is amazing and such an eye opener. I see the world differently after this and now when I drive down east hasting (the part in Vancouver BC mention in the book) I will see it in a different light. Everyone needs to read this book. Thank you so much for opening my heart and eyes more

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Essential Reading

This book is extremely important in its revealing of the lies we have been told about the war on drugs.
Like all wars at it's heart is profit at the expense of the poor and marginalized. The lies perpetuated by profiteers in the guise of protecting us from the very souls they exploit.

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  • Leo
  • 2019-06-09

Pretty good book. Terrible narration.

The book itself is engaging and well-structered. I found it a little sappy at times, because the author frequently appeals to emotion.
The narrator would be fine if he didn't do such ridiculous accents when he reads quotations. It was annoying and even disrespectful.

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total non story

The book was kind of entertaining but only because of what you thought was coming. After it ended it becomes obvious that all of your time was wasted because nothing happens. Maybe fans of her youtube will like it but for me I just wonder why she wrote it in the first place. A whole book about nothing. Nothing happens.

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Excellent book Johann

Johann is a great writer and his personal experience and in-depth journalism affects you deeply. After reading his latest book - Lost Connections - the only drawback is the narration of Chasing The Scream may have benefited from his voice. The narration for factual books like this does not have to embellish accents and provide drama for the reader. The book is very well written and has no problem conveying its content without the distraction. This book is so important and has the potential to change minds affected by the criminalization of drugs. I recommend it - also think Audible should look into the narration style and how it negatively impacts the story being told. Great book otherwise!
Thanks,
B Hunt

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Shining light on drug use and addiction.

Loved this book. It breaks done addiction and drug use while using research and some statistical data to back up the conclusions.

This book gave me a fresh look at drug addiction and how to deal with it.

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Must read

Thank you for educating me on the drug war! If you for or against criminalization of drug read.

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  • Drake
  • 2016-04-24

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.

281 people found this helpful

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  • Gordon Jones
  • 2015-01-26

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.

56 people found this helpful

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  • P. Smith
  • 2015-02-04

A Must if the drug war has touched you at all

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This should be required reading for anyone directly involved in the drug war. It is told in an extremely compelling fashion, and in great detail. Despite this it never lags.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Chasing the Scream?

The history of how the US government destroyed medical treatment, for drug addicts WORLDWIDE.

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

Chino, the drug addict illegitimate child of an addict and her rapist father police officer.

If you could give Chasing the Scream a new subtitle, what would it be?

Truth is the first casualty in all wars.

Any additional comments?

If enough people read this book, and act on it, we can bring the problem of addiction under control, and restore a more peaceful society.

54 people found this helpful

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  • Keith Stout
  • 2015-02-17

Great factual story

I am very impressed with the authors research on this matter. It has opened my eyes and my heart to a new way of thinking about the so called "War on Drugs". Having grown up in the 60's,70's & the 80's I see how a different approach to this would have had much better results. I have lost friends to drugs and would love nothing more than to see it controlled in this manner. I suggest this read to anyone who has been or is effected by drugs for that matter anyone period!

33 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica
  • 2015-04-30

Blew my mind

after ensuring the bibliography wasn't filled with junk reports and checking facts with the drug guys and medical gals around campus for verification on dubious and surprising points, I can proudly proclaim that the big facts and figures are correct. I believe his worst infraction was screwing up someone's title or something insubstabtial like that.

So, I'm inspired and fired up. Can someone tell me where the revolution is scheduled to be and if they have coffee there? I'll carpool if needed.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Joan
  • 2015-02-17

Beautifully written

The book is powerful. Extremely well researched. Changed everything I thought I knew about drugs and addicts. The author engages the reader from the first sentence to the last

25 people found this helpful

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  • Teresa Stuart
  • 2015-02-02

Challenges many of my perceptions

As a recovered alcoholic and a clinical addiction counselor I'm having to look again at my own recovery and at the way I counsel others seeking recovery.

29 people found this helpful

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  • tony mancill
  • 2017-09-24

good source material but maddening narration

This book stands apart from others I have read on the subject - e.g. recently "Narconomics" - in that the author takes a very personal and humane approach to the interviewees and subject matter. This seems appropriate and makes the material more interesting than a strictly rational treatment of the subject.

However, the narration detracts greatly from the material in the book because the narrator insists upon reading passages in what he assumes would be the voice of the speaker. These voices range from grating caricatures to down-right insulting stereotypes. The narrator has a background in theater and maybe this is supposed to draw the listener in, but for me it destroys the pathos evoked by the stories in the book.

I recommend the book itself, but consider reading it instead of listening to it.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Deondre
  • 2015-02-06

Definitive story of "The war on drugs"

Full of great historical and current stories of the creators and victims of our centuries old war on drugs. Astonishing to find that one man, Harry Anslinger, had so much to do with this disastrous global campaign.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Karl
  • 2016-09-22

The most important book I have read in a decade!

MUST listen! MUST finish! Will challenge you and bring you to tears. If you are a thinking adult living on this planet this is required reading. Make up your own mind about it but please don't ignore it...

8 people found this helpful