Maia Szalavitz

There's A Better Way for American Doctors to Deal With Painkiller Misuse

When a patient recently came into the St. Paul, Minn., office of Dr. Mark Willenbring, the doctor already knew his history. Diagnosed in his 20s with a chronically painful disorder, James (not his real name) had done well on opioid painkiller Oxycontin for almost a decade.

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The New York Times Is Hooked on “Drug du Jour” Journalism

The stories we tell ourselves matter: As Joan Didion memorably put it, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” But journalists have a special responsibility because the way we frame our narratives doesn’t only affect us—it can influence readers and public policy. And the story we are telling about drugs isn’t working.

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Marijuana Addiction Is (Almost) All in Your Head

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Most People With Addiction Simply Grow Out of It: Why Is This Widely Denied?

When I stopped shooting coke and heroin, I was 23. I had no life outside of my addiction. I was facing serious drug charges and I weighed 85 pounds, after months of injecting, often dozens of times a day.

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Drugs Are Fun and That Should Figure Into Our Understanding of Addiction

How do you measure the pleasure that you lose when you end an addiction? To most formerly addicted people, the question makes little sense because by the time they quit, it’s often been years since the benefits of the drugs in any way outweighed their negative consequences. However, pleasure is an essential part of life: It’s not for nothing that the pursuit of happiness is highlighted in America’s founding document. Including measures of pleasure is critical to regulating addictive drugs, in fact—but only if it’s done right.

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How Much Did the Stigma of Mental Illness Harm Robin Williams?

Robin Williams has long been a hero to people in recovery. His drug humor always had the bittersweetness that comes from painful experience and his sheer brilliance and exuberance made many recovering folk proud to claim him as “one of us.” Watching him improvise, the presence of genius was visceral.

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10 Ways Addiction Is Different in America

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Teen Drug Dealers Should Not Be the Victims of Our Thirst for Revenge

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