Questions & Corrections

I have worked really hard – alongside my editor, fact-checker, and lawyers in the US and UK – to make sure everything in the book is accurate. If there are any errors left in the text, I’d be grateful for your help in correcting them for future editions and for the record. If you spot any mistakes, please email me at the address above. I’ll post corrections on the same date, and give you a shout-out for spotting them.

If there was anything the book left you wondering, please do message me at and I’ll be happy to try to figure out the answer.


  • Corrections VIII – posted February 27th

    Alison Wrbik emailed to point out two typos:

    On page 276, I wrote: “The cops demanded to know:  Where do you buy your marijuana? What suppliers to you know?” The ‘to’ in the last sentence should of course be ‘do.’

    On page 293, where it says “I looked him just now,” it should say “I looked at him just now”.


    And Ron Dodd emailed to point out some more typos.

    On page 51, where it says “he said was broke” – it should say “he said he was broke.”

    On page 70, where it says “And yet sometimes Chino went looking for Deborah, in the park, on the benches, or on the corner where should could be looking for business, because Chino wanted her.” It should say: “And yet sometimes Chino went looking for Deborah, in the park, on the benches, or on the corner where she would be looking for business, because Chino wanted her.”

    On page 76, where it says “sent to back to prison,” the first ‘to’ should be cut.

    On page 191, where it says “if I can just stay enough long enough”, the first ‘enough’ is a mistake.

    On page 296, when it says “When I learned from Chino and Bud is…” it should say “What I learned from Chino and Bud is…”


    Also, there is an error in Chapter Six that was picked up in my fact-checking conversations with Leigh Maddox and was supposed to be fixed but – due to an editing mistake – appeared incorrectly in the final edition. On page 86, it refers to Leigh’s dad as having been in the US Army. He was in fact in the US Navy.


    In addition, Stuart Rodger spotted that I forgot to post one of the audio clips from the book. It is of Chino Hardin saying an act “actually made us look weaker” – I have found that audio clip and it will be posted soon.


    Seth Mnookin, writing in the New York Times, suggested an attribution in the book should have been clearer and taken out of the footnotes and inserted into the main text. On reflection, I have concluded he is right. On page 213 I write: “Research published in the Proceedings of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh compared Widnes, which had a heroin clinic, to the very similar Liverpool borough of Bootle, which didn’t.” This sentence should be clearer, and in future will read: “Research published by John in the Proceedings of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh compared Widnes, which had a heroin clinic, to the very similar Liverpool borough of Bootle, which didn’t.”

    Thanks to Alison, Ron, Stuart and Seth.

    If you are reading the book and you spot any other errors please do email me – chasingthescream - because it is important to me to make sure everything about the book is entirely accurate.

  • Corrections VII – posted February 17th 2015 Clare Barlett and Charles Cairns both emailed to point out a typo on page 231 – where it refers to the “patents” of Dr Hal Vorse, it should say “patients.” Thanks to both of you for spotting this.
  • Corrections VI – posted 8th Feb 2015 There is a typo on page 268. It says: "When you ban a drug, it's very risk to transport it - so dealers will always choose the drug that packs the strongest possible kick into the smallest possible space." It should of course say 'risky', not risk. Thank you to Erin Klassen for pointing this out.
  • Corrections V – posted February 8th 2015 On page 183, I state that menthol cigarettes are less addictive than tobacco cigarettes. Ben Richards got in touch to let me know this is based on outdated science, and this claim is now strongly scientifically contested and may well be wrong - indeed, the US Food and Drug Administration says research suggests they are significantly more addictive.  I will remove this line from future editions. Thanks to Ben for pointing this out.
  • Corrections IV – posted 31st January 2015

    On some computers, when you click to look at the corrections, it is only displaying the first few hundred words of each new entry, and appears to cut off abruptly in mid-sentence. If your computer is displaying in that way, just click on the headline for the post - for example, where it says 'Corrections IV' - and it will display the full text.

    Patrick Riesterer emailed to point out a mistake. In the book, there are three places where I have changed somebody's name to protect their identity. Each time I do so, I explain in the text that I am doing it. They are: 'Dee', the stripper Chino has a relationship with in prison, who was raped by a prison guard (because I felt I shouldn't disclose her sexual assault to people who might know she was in prison in Riker's at that time - it would be a violation of her privacy); 'Hannah', one of Liz Evans' clients, who has subsequently died (because Liz asked me to preserve her client's anonymity); and 'Jean', one of the addicts who is prescribed heroin in the clinic in Switzerland, and who described to me his past smuggling drugs (an offence for which he could still be prosecuted if he was identifiable through the book).

    The decision to change the name of 'Dee' was suggested late in the editing process by one of the lawyers who worked on 'Chasing The Scream.' By that time, I had already written the 'note on narrative technique' that appears at the end of the book. In that note as it currently stands, I say that I have altered the names of two people in the book. It should say three people, and I should have updated that reference. I'll do so in all future editions. Thanks to Patrick for spotting this - I really appreciate it. If you spot any mistakes in the book, please do email me - chasingthescream -at-

  • Corrections III – posted 28th January 2015

    This is to one of the articles linked to from this site. In the original version of my Huffington Post article headlined ‘Addicts’ Lives Matter’, there were two details that were wrong. The meeting Eric Sterling attended was incorrectly described as being with Senators, when it was in fact with members of Congress; and the subject of the meeting was not specifically clean needles, but about the heroin epidemic more widely. I apologize for this error.


    This is to the book. On page 92, I describe the undercover drug raid that led to Ed Toatley’s death, which – as the book explains – is based on Leigh Maddox’s recollections of the event in her interviews and subsequent fact-checking with me, and on news reports covering his murder and the subsequent trial. One detail of the description I gave based on this seems to be incorrect: it states that Ed was given “three thousands dollars to buy a kilo of cocaine” by his superior officers. A reader called Mansfield Frazier emailed to say this couldn’t be right – the cost would have been significantly greater. I went back to Leigh, and she said she is confident of her recollection of the $3000 sum, but may on reflection have been mistaken about the amount of cocaine Ed was sent to purchase. (This is natural when remembering events from over a decade before.)


    To resolve this, Leigh suggested getting hold of the plea agreement with Kofi Orleans Lindsey, Ed’s killer, which she believes will contain both figures. I am going to put in the request to do that, and will keep readers posted here. In the meantime, I will take out the reference to buying a kilo from future editions of the book, so instead it says Ed was given “three thousand dollars to buy cocaine.” Thanks to Mansfield Frazier for bringing it to my attention.


    If you spot any other errors in the book, please do email me at chasingthescream –at- – it is important to me to make sure every detail in the book is correct.