Recommended Books

Learn about drugs, the history of the drug war and drug policy with these recommended books from leading experts in the reform movement. Our list is updated regularly.

There Are No Dead Here: A Story of Murder and Denial in Colombia
By Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno

Colombia's drug-fueled cycle of terror, corruption, and tragedy did not end with Pablo Escobar's death in 1993. Just when Colombians were ready to move past the murderous legacy of the country's cartels, a new, bloody chapter unfolded. In the late 1990s, right-wing paramilitary groups with close ties to the cocaine business carried out a violent expansion campaign, massacring, raping, and torturing thousands.

Taking readers from the sweltering Medellín streets where criminal investigators were hunted by assassins, through the countryside where paramilitaries wiped out entire towns, and into the corridors of the presidential palace in Bogotá, There Are No Dead Here is an unforgettable portrait of the valiant men and women who dared to stand up to the tide of greed, rage, and bloodlust that threatened to engulf their country.

Shop for the book. 


When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir
By Patrisse Kahn-Cullors and asha bandele

From one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, who helped turn a hashtag into global movement, comes a poetic memoir and reflection on humanity co-authored with award-winning author, journalist and activist, asha bandele. When They Call You a Terrorist takes an intimate look at Khan-Cullors’ childhood in in Van Nuys, California—an epicenter of the drug war. Surrounded by a devoted family and supportive friends, Khan-Cullor’s experience is woven into a larger narrative about the constant and hostile presence and actions of law enforcement against primarily young Black and Latino people. From the harsh actions of the police, to the lack of basic social and medical services, Khan-Cullors and bandele show how the absence of personal security and dignity makes daily life an act of survival.

Shop for the book.


Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World
Baz Dreisinger

Baz Dreisinger goes behind bars in nine countries to investigate the current conditions in prisons worldwide. Beginning in Africa and ending in Europe, Incarceration Nations is a first-person odyssey through the prison systems of the world. Professor, journalist, and founder of the Prison-to-College-Pipeline, Dreisinger looks into the human stories of incarcerated men and women and those who imprison them, creating a jarring, poignant view of a world to which most are denied access, and a rethinking of one of America’s most far-reaching global exports: the modern prison complex.

Shop for the book.


Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America's Largest Criminal Court
By Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve

Americans are slowly waking up to the dire effects of racial profiling, police brutality, and mass incarceration, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities of color. The criminal courts are the crucial gateway between police action on the street and the processing of primarily black and Latino defendants into jails and prisons. And yet the courts, often portrayed as sacred, impartial institutions, have remained shrouded in secrecy, with the majority of Americans kept in the dark about how they function internally. Crook County bursts open the courthouse doors and enters the hallways, courtrooms, judges' chambers, and attorneys' offices to reveal a world of punishment determined by race, not offense.

Shop for the book. 


Woman of Substances: A Journey into Addiction and Treatment
Jenny Valentish

Journalist Jenny Valentish investigates the female experience of drugs and alcohol, using her own story to light the way. Her travels around Australia take her to treatment facilities and AA groups. Mining the expertise of leading researchers, she explores the early predictors of addiction, such as childhood trauma and temperament, and teenage impulsivity.

Drawing on neuroscience, she explains why other self-destructive behaviours – such as eating disorders, compulsive buying and high-risk sex – are interchangeable with problematic substance use. Valentish follows the pathways that women, in particular, take into addiction – and out again. Woman of Substances is an insightful, rigorous and brutally honest read.

Shop for the book. 


The Ketamine Papers
Edited by Phil Wolfson, MD, and Glenn Hartelius, PhD

The Ketamine Papers opens the door to a broad understanding of this medicine’s growing use in psychiatry and its decades of history providing transformative personal experiences. Now gaining increasing recognition as a promising approach to the treatment of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological conditions, ketamine therapies offer new hope for patients and clinicians alike. With multiple routes of administration and practices ranging from anesthesia to psychotherapy, ketamine medicine is a diverse and rapidly growing field.

The Ketamine Papers clarifies the issues and is an inspiring introduction to this powerful tool for healing and transformation—from its early use in the 1960s to its emerging role in the treatment of depression, suicidality, and other conditions. This comprehensive volume is the ideal introduction for patients and clinicians alike, and for anyone interested in the therapeutic and transformative healing power of this revolutionary medicine.

Shop for the book.