Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Three Journalists Worth Reading

Maia Szalavitz is a columnist for Substance.com and one of the nation’s leading neuroscience and addiction journalists. She blogs for Healthland.com, and has contributed to Time, The New York Times, Scientific American Mind, The Washington Post and many other publications. She has also published three books, including Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids (Riverhead, 2006).

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and Reason.com and a nationally syndicated columnist.See his reason archive here.
He also blogs about drug policy for Forbes magazine.

Quite frankly, Sullum is among the best journalists covering the war on drugs. His view of drug policy closely mirrors my own, which is a libertarian approach to drug policy (that means ending prohibition with little to no regulation of the drug markets).

While Sullum doesn't discuss addiction as much as Szalavitz, when he does occasionally turn his focus to addiction, it is often with a skeptical look at claims of addiction being a chronic brain disease  (see here for one example). His writing on this topic often reminds me of other critics of official claims of addiction as a disease like Stanton Peele and Thomas Szasz.

Sullum calls himself a conscientious objector to the war on drugs, and his writing reflects someone who has a clear understanding of the absurdities (and more than a few tragedies) that result from our drug laws.

Sullum is also the author of Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use, a truly excellent book. One I own, but haven't gotten around to reviewing.

Radley Balko is a former contributing editor at Reason magazine and Reason.com. He currently blogs for the Washington Post.

Previously, Balko was a policy analyst for the Cato Institute specializing in civil liberties issues, where he published a paper on alcohol policy and a groundbreaking study on paramilitary police raids.

Balko has been covering civil liberties, focusing on issues of law, police and prosecutor abuse, and the drug war. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces."

While Balko doesn't focus on drug policy as much as Sullum and Szalavitz, his coverage of the US criminal (in)justice system is unsurpassed by any other journalist I am aware of.