Corrections Two – posted 19th January 2015

This is a correction to the website, rather than the book.

Due to a technical glitch at our end, on the first day the audio clips went live on this website, the ones for chapter 18 were posted in the wrong order. They have now been posted in the right order – apologies for the error, which might have led people to believe Tonia Winchester has a very deeply and manly voice. She does not. Also, for the first few days they were live on the website, one audio file for a quote in chapter five, and a few of the audio files for chapter seventeen, were – due to a technical snafu – shorter than they should have been, and didn’t include all the material I wanted to post online. They have now been posted at the correct length. And, finally for this part, also in chapter seventeen, when it came to one quote from Joao Figeuira, the wrong audio file was posted – the right one is up now. Thank you to Liz Davidson and Frank Wynne for fixing this so promptly.

Concerning the book itself

Two further small transcription errors have been spotted. On page 241, where Nuno Capaz is quoted as using the word “parents”, it should in fact say “mothers and fathers.” Thanks to Stuart Rodger for spotting this. It will be corrected in all future editions.

On page 64, Chino is quoted as saying: “It’s almost like in the animal kingdom – in our minds it’s no different.” It should read: “It’s almost like the animal kingdom – it’s no different in terms of how our minds are.” Thanks to Liz Davidson for noticing this.

I will also be asking my publishers to expand a footnote in the next edition to give a little more context and information on one point. It is to footnote 177, on page 343. The current footnote says:

“DuPont himself did not use the imagery of hijacking or chemical slavery in his speech, and does not like these metaphors, but they recurred at the conference many times.”

The expanded footnote will say:

“Robert DuPont is the founder of the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), the body which has done more than any other to popularize the notions of addiction as ‘brain-hijacking’ and ‘chemical slavery.’ I wanted to put the points raised by Bruce Alexander, Gabor Mate and others – suggesting that addiction has radically different causes that render these metaphors inaccurate – to the current head of NIDA, Nora Volkow, but she declined my interview requests. (She was one of only a handful of people who did so, through the whole process of writing the book.)

I believed it was nonetheless important to give a full response to these points in the book from a distinguished scientist who is broadly aligned with NIDA and the NIDA world-view. Given that I could not get the key NIDA scientist to talk on the record and respond to these claims, I weighed carefully who would be the next best person to put these points to. Robert DuPont personally does not use the specific metaphors of hijacking and slavery, and does not like them, because he believes they undermine the idea that addicts are personally responsible for their recovery. I concluded he was nonetheless the best person I could get on the record to respond to these points from a NIDA-aligned perspective, for three reasons.

One: he is the founder of NIDA. Two: he was the key speaker at a conference and a movement which uses this way of thinking about addiction as a reason to prohibit drugs, and he understands that milieu better than anyone else I can think of.

Three, most crucially: The core point I wanted to test was whether NIDA scientists had engaged with the radically different theories about addiction that Alexander and Mate have been laying out. It was very clear from speaking to DuPont that this is not the case; this was further confirmed by the fact that I could find no evidence of NIDA engaging with them anywhere, which suggested to me that he is representative of NIDA in this respect. In addition Bruce Alexander and all the dissident scientists I interviewed demonstrated to me that these ideas are systematically ignored. If Nora Volkow would like to reconsider and to offer me an interview, I would be very happy to include the response of the current head of NIDA to these theories, alongside those of the previous head that are described here. I am keen to offer the fullest possible response, and to explore all sides of this really important debate about what causes addiction.”

I grateful to John Harris, writing in the Guardian, for suggesting more explanation was needed of this point in his review for the newspaper: he was right.

And one final note – not a correction, but a clarification – for some reason, when I recorded my initial interview with Tonia Winchester from Skype, it recorded her voice but not mine. If the audio clips from that interview posted on the site sound odd – because there are silences while I was speaking – that’s why. But I have posted them so you can hear all her words being said, and she has confirmed their accuracy in my recorded fact-checking conversation with her.

If you spot any other errors in the posting of the audio or the transcribing of it, or any other points where you feel I should put up a correction of any kind, please email us at and we will get it corrected right away.

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