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Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari
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Chasing the Scream Quotes Showing 1-30 of 141
“It isn’t the drug that causes the harmful behavior—it’s the environment. An isolated rat will almost always become a junkie. A rat with a good life almost never will, no matter how many drugs you make available to him. As Bruce put it: he was realizing that addiction isn’t a disease. Addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you—it’s the cage you live in.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. It’s connection.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“It is a natural human instinct to turn our fears into symbols, and destroy the symbols, in the hope that it will destroy the fear. It is a logic that keeps recurring throughout human history, from the Crusades to the witch hunts to the present day.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“punishment—shaming a person, caging them, making them unemployable—traps them in addiction. Taking that money and spending it instead on helping them to get jobs and homes and decent lives makes it possible for many of them to stop.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“The opposite of addiction isn't sobriety. It's connection. It's all I can offer. It's all that will help [you] in the end. If you are alone, you cannot escape addiction. If you are loved, you have a chance. For a hundred years we have been singing war songs about addicts. All along, we should have been singing love songs to them.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“for each traumatic event that happened to a child, they were two to four times more likely to grow up to be an addicted adult.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“the core of addiction doesn’t lie in what you swallow or inject—it’s in the pain you feel in your head. Yet we have built a system that thinks we will stop addicts by increasing their pain. “If I had to design a system that was intended to keep people addicted, I’d design exactly the system that we have right now,”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“More than 50 percent of Americans have breached the drug laws. Where a law is that widely broken, you can’t possibly enforce it against every lawbreaker. The legal system would collapse under the weight of it. So you go after the people who are least able to resist, to argue back, to appeal—the poorest and most disliked groups. In the United States, they are black and Hispanic people, with a smattering of poor whites.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“Ethan Nadelmann, one of the leading drug reformers in the United States, had explained: "People overdose because [under prohibition] they don't know if the heroin is 1 percent or 40 percent...Just imagine if every time you picked up a bottle of wine, you didn't know whether it was 8 percent alcohol or 80 percent alcohol [or] if every time you took an aspirin, you didn't know if it was 5 milligrams or 500 milligrams.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“Addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you—it’s the cage you live in.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“Wouldn’t it be better to spend our money on rescuing kids before they become addicts than on jailing them after we have failed?”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“How do we start to rebuild a society where we don’t feel so alone and afraid, and where we can form healthier bonds? How do we build a society where we look for happiness in one another rather than in consumption?”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“Most addicts here, he says, come with an empty glass inside them;66 when they take heroin, the glass becomes full, but only for a few hours, and then it drains down to nothing again. The purpose of this program is to gradually build a life for the addict so they can put something else into that empty glass: a social network, a job, some daily pleasures. If you can do that, it will mean that even as the heroin drains, you are not left totally empty. Over time, as your life has more in it, the glass will contain more and more, so it will take less and less heroin to fill it up. And in the end, there may be enough within you that you feel full without any heroin at all.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“If your problem is being chronically starved of social bonds, then part of the solution is to bond with the heroin itself and the relief it gives you. But a bigger part is to bond with the subculture that comes with taking heroin—the tribe of fellow users all embarked on the same mission and facing the same threats and risking death every day with you. It gives you an identity. It gives you a life of highs and lows, instead of relentless monotony. The world stops being indifferent to you, and starts being hostile—which is at least proof that you exist, that you aren’t dead already. The heroin helps users deal with the pain of being unable to form normal bonds with other humans. The heroin subculture gives them bonds with other human beings.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“It took me a while to see that the contrast between the racism directed at Billie and the compassion offered to addicted white stars like Judy Garland was not some weird misfiring of the drug war—it was part of the point.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“child abuse is as likely to cause drug addiction as obesity is to cause heart disease.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“Problem drug use is a symptom, not a cause,20 of personal and social maladjustment.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“When Billie Holiday came15 to London in the 1950s, she was amazed. They “are civilized about it and they have no narcotics problem at all,” she explained. “One day America is going to smarten up and do the”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“For anybody who suspects that we need to reform the drug laws, there is an easier argument to make, and a harder argument to make. The easier argument is to say that we all agree drugs are bad—it’s just that drug prohibition is even worse.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“The United States now imprisons more people16 for drug offenses than Western European nations imprison for all crimes combined. No human society has ever before imprisoned this high a proportion of its population.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“If I had to design a system that was intended to keep people addicted, I’d design exactly the system that we have right now,” Gabor would tell me. “I’d attack people, and ostracize them.” He has seen that “the more you stress people, the more they’re going to use. The more you de-stress people, the less they’re going to use. So to create a system where you ostracize and marginalize and criminalize people, and force them to live in poverty with disease, you are basically guaranteeing they will stay at it.” “If”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“Harry Anslinger is our own darkest impulses, given a government department and a license to kill.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“To the prohibitionists, Hannah is a failure, because she continued using drugs. To the Portland, she was a success, because she knew she was loved. One day, a very senior government minister came to visit the safe injection rooms, and to meet the addicts. He asked Liz: “What percentage of people who use this place would you consider to be write-offs?” She paused and looked at him, trying to figure out how to tell him that the answer is none.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“At times, as I read through Harry’s ever-stranger arguments, I wondered: How could a man like this have persuaded so many people? But the answers were lying there, waiting for me, in the piles of letters he received from members of the public, from senators, and from presidents. They wanted to be persuaded. They wanted easy answers to complex fears. It’s tempting to feel superior—to condescend to these people—but I suspect this impulse is there in all of us. The public wanted to be told that these deep, complex problems—race, inequality, geopolitics—came down to a few powders and pills, and if these powders and pills could be wiped from the world, these problems would disappear. It”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“So Bruce came to believe, as he put it, that “today’s flood of addiction27 is occurring because our hyperindividualistic, frantic, crisis-ridden society makes most people feel social[ly] or culturally isolated. Chronic isolation causes people to look for relief. They find temporary relief in addiction . . . because [it] allows them to escape their feelings, to deaden their senses—and to experience an addictive lifestyle as a substitute for a full life.” This isn’t an argument against Gabor’s discoveries. It’s a deepening of them. A”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“Yet all over the United States—all over the world—police officers were noticing something strange. If you arrest a large number of rapists, the amount of rape goes down. If you arrest a large number of violent racists, the number of violent racist attacks goes down. But if you arrest a large number of drug dealers, drug dealing doesn’t go down. Another”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“The addicts started to insist on being at every meeting where drug policy was discussed. They took a slogan from the movements of psychiatric patients who were fighting to be treated decently: “Nothing about us, without us.” Their message was: We’re here. We’re human. We’re alive. Don’t talk about us as if we are nothing.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“Prohibition—this policy I have traced across continents and across a century—consists of endlessly spreading downward spirals. People get addicted so we humiliate and shame them until they become more addicted. They then have to feed their habit by persuading more people to buy the drugs from them and become addicted in turn. Then those people need to be humiliated and shamed. And so it goes, on and on. But in Portugal after the drug war, the state helped people to get better, and then those people helped more people to get better, and then they helped still more people to get better—and so the downward spiral of the drug war has been replaced by a healing ripple that spreads slowly out across the society.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“With a few of his colleagues, he built two sets of homes for laboratory rats. In the first home, they lived as they had in the original experiments, in solitary confinement, isolated except for their fix. But then he built a second home: a paradise for rats. Within its plywood walls,11 it contained everything a rat could want—there were wheels and colored balls and the best food, and other rats to hang out with and have sex with. He called it Rat Park.12 In these experiments, both sets of rats had access to a pair of drinking bottles. The first bottle contained only water. The other bottle contained morphine—an opiate that rats process in a similar way to humans and that behaves just like heroin when it enters their brains. At the end of each day, Bruce or a member of his team would weigh the bottles to see how much the rats had chosen to take opiates, and how much they had chosen to stay sober. What they discovered was startling. It turned out that the rats in isolated cages used up to 25 milligrams of morphine a day, as in the earlier experiments. But the rats in the happy cages used hardly any morphine at all—less than 5 milligrams. “These guys [in Rat Park] have a complete total twenty-four-hour supply” of morphine, Bruce said, “and they don’t use it.” They don’t kill themselves. They choose to spend their lives doing other things. So”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“The first tugs towards prohibition were about power, and purity of belief. If you are going to have one God and one Church, you need to stop experiences that make people feel that they can approach God on their own.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

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