Journalist, author

Maia writes about: Health, Society

Maia Szalavitz is the author, most recently, of Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction, which is the first history of the movement aimed at focusing drug policy on minimizing harms, not highs.

Her previous New York Times bestseller, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction wove together neuroscience and social science with her personal experience of heroin addiction. It won the 2018 media award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

She is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and has written for numerous other publications including TIME, Wired, Elle, The Nation and Scientific American.

Her 2006 book, Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, was the first to expose the damage caused by “tough love” youth treatment and helped spur Congressional hearings.

She has also authored or co-authored five other books, including the classic on child trauma, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, with Dr. Bruce D. Perry. She lives with her husband and two squeaky cats in New York City.

Harm reduction is radical empathy. The basic idea is that regardless of whether people continue to use illegal drugs or engage in other problematic behaviors, their lives have value.


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