The Humanist Hour #159: The Failed War on Drugs, with Johann Hari

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In this episode, Bo Bennett speaks with author and journalist Johann Hari about the failed war on drugs, its history, and a proposed solution that has been tested. Hari’s new book, Chasing the Scream, explores the war on drugs through the stories of people across the world whose lives have been transformed by this war.


Johann Hari is a British journalist. He has written for many of the world’s leading newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Le Monde, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, the New Republic, the Nation, Slate, El Mundo, and the Sydney Morning Herald. He was a lead op-ed columnist for the Independent, one of Britain’s leading newspapers, for nine years.

He was born in 1979 in Glasgow, Scotland, and has lived in London since he was a baby. His mother is from the Scottish tenements and his father is from the Swiss mountains. He graduated from King’s College, Cambridge with a double first in Social and Political Sciences in 2001.

Johann was named ‘National Newspaper Journalist of the Year’ by Amnesty International twice. He was named ‘Environmental Commentator of the Year’ at the Editorial Intelligence awards, and ‘Gay Journalist of the Year’ at the Stonewall awards. He has also won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for political writing.

He is currently working on his next book, and he is a Visiting Fellow with Purpose, the New York-based progressive campaigning group.