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 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.

  • 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.

  • Corrections One – posted on January 12th 2015.

    As explained above, the quotes used in the book have been fact-checked several times. After the book went to press, as we were extracting these audio files from the much longer interviews to post them here on the website, one of the fact-checkers – the brilliant Liz Davidson – noticed a few more errors of transcription that weren’t noticed at any of the previous layers of fact-checking. I wanted to list them here, to be fully transparent, and they will be corrected in future editions:

    On p162, it says: “I remember picking her up and holding her in my arms like a little child and carrying her to her room.” It should say walking her to her room – she didn’t carry her.

    On p178, Bruce Alexander asks: “Why would Batman just hide there while they’re beating this junkie to a pulp?” It should say “Why would Batman just stand there while they’re beating this junkie to a pulp?”

    On p190, Bruce Alexander says: “We’re talking about learning to live with the modern age.” It should say: “We’re talking about learning to deal with the modern age.”

    On p218, where John Marks says: “maybe a few dozen lads, the occasional girl, who came and got their pot of junk. Workers, bargemen, all walks of life really.” It should say: “maybe a few dozen lads, the occasional girl, who came and got their tot of junk... railwaymen, bargemen. All walks of life really.”

    On p290, Philip Owen says: “I just get so sick and tired of bullshit.” It should say: “I just get so sick and tired… of bullshit.”

    It’s very important to me to get everything in the book 100% accurate, so if anybody listening to these clips spots any other errors like this, or any other kind of mistake, please do get in touch and I’ll correct it and give you a shout-out on the site for spotting it. I would appreciate any suggestions for corrections – please send to