PositiveThe Wall Street JournalA contributing writer at New York magazine chronicles several dubious enthusiasms that permeate our culture. Along the way, he tries to show why they are so widespread ... Even if fad originators were sincere at first, and most appear to have been, they often become too personally invested in what they are promoting ... Each chapter of The Quick Fix presents accessible explanations of the research that was eventually shown to be \'half-baked,\' as Mr. Singal puts it. The problems, he shows, often derive from dodgy statistical analysis or faulty experimental design ... Mr. Singal’s analysis is thus a quick fix for readers who want to be more enlightened and thoughtful consumers of psychological science. It is also a bracing reminder that social realms in which there are Big Problems—such as crime, education and poverty—are beyond the reach of fads and quick fixes, no matter how seductive.
Carl L Hart
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal... provocative and enlightening ... Thus his book represents a calculated risk—namely, that by portraying drug use as so potentially rewarding for responsible users, it may inadvertently seduce non-grown-ups into hazardous use ... has the soul of a manifesto ... As persuasive as Mr. Hart can be, it is impossible to avoid certain doubts or cautions. The vexing paradox is that the very individuals who feel compelled to use intoxicants to excess are often those least psychologically equipped to handle them. One has to keep in mind, too, that Mr. Hart, in his experiments, administered pharmaceutically pure drugs at controlled doses in a safe environment—conditions not to be taken for granted in real life ... Mr. Hart promotes treatment and harm reduction (e.g., clean needles, safe-injection rooms, testing for contaminants), but he doesn’t offer a detailed blueprint for keeping drugs away from the people whose lives can be ruined ... On Feb. 1, Oregon will implement its new law. For its citizens and the handful of states now considering a similar ballot initiative, Drug Use for Grown-Ups is an excellent guide to what can go right with such a move. The question is how to address the individuals who can’t handle the freedom the author envisions for them.
PositiveThe Washington Post... a highly readable account where events unfold in ticktock and the scenes are set cinematically ... While Death in Mud Lick contains little commentary or interpretation, it raises lots of delicate questions. For example, how to reconcile the structural causes of addiction—poverty, low-paying jobs, social malaise—with personal agency? ... A powerful subtext of the book is the irreplaceable role of local journalism. Not simply to inform—an essential task in itself—but to help serve justice through investigation ... a searing spotlight on the scope and human cost of corruption and negligence.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalWhy did it take so long for the nation to wake up to the opioid epidemic? Why did it happen in the first place? These questions are at the core of Beth Macy’s Dopesick ... As a resident of Roanoke, Va., and a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, Ms. Macy focuses on southern and western Virginia, though the lessons of her narrative apply broadly ... Like many journalists, Ms. Macy writes about the tenacity of addiction as if it were a purely physiological process. \'Nothing’s more powerful than the morphine molecule,\' she writes and refers elsewhere to a \'morphine-hijacked brain.\' She paints drug withdrawal, or \'dopesickness,\' as the primary engine of sustained use. One begins to wonder: How could anyone ever stop using?
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal[Schwarz] makes a persuasive case that too many children have been swept into the vortex of a perfect cultural storm ... ADHD Nation doesn’t attempt a broad cultural analysis. But Mr. Schwarz’s disciplined focus gives his book clarity and even utility.