The World War II “Wonder Drug” That Never Left Japan

For Workers and Soldiers, Taking Methamphetamine Was a Patriotic Duty That Hooked a Generation

Amphetamines, the quintessential drug of the modern industrial age, arrived relatively late in the history of mind-altering substances—commercialized just in time for mass consumption during World War II. In fact, the introduction of what is now Japan’s most popular illegal drug began as a result of the state promoting its use during the war.

With the possible exception of opium during the Opium Wars, no drug has ever received a bigger stimulus from armed conflict. “World War II probably gave the greatest impetus to date to legal, medically-authorized as well as …

How This Journalist Is Surviving Mexico’s Drug Wars

Act Like a War Correspondent, Think Like a Detective, and Dream Like a Poet

In early 2007 I lost a plane ticket that I had purchased to travel to Africa. My plan was to arrive in Nairobi and stay two months, since the World …

Long Before It Was Groovy, LSD Was a Medicine and a Weapon

How the Positive Side of Psychedelic Drugs Got Lost in the Mayhem of the 1960s

In the fall of 1965, a 33-year-old father of three named Arthur King—a patient in the alcoholics ward at Baltimore’s Spring Grove Hospital—swallowed an LSD pill and lay back on …

The Painful Truth About America’s Opioid Addiction

Our Craving for Comfort and Our Broken Health Care System Are Fueling a Deadly Epidemic

Lisa Girion, a Reuters top news editor for the Americas and the moderator of a Zócalo/UCLA panel on America’s opioid addiction problem, opened the discussion with some startling statistics. “Over …

Why Is It So Hard to Stop Rave Overdoses?

Heavy-Handed Calls to Ban the Music Events Have Done Little to Curb Their Drug-Related Deaths

When the music comes on at a rave, a synergetic feeling of mass escape and euphoria runs through the crowd. But this unparalleled collective high has come at a cost. …