Society For The Study Of Addiction

Addiction Lives: Harry Shapiro [Annotated Bibliography]

Key reading from Harry Shapiro’s body of work, annotated by the author.

Shapiro H. (2021), Fierce Chemistry: 100 Years of UK Drug Wars. Stroud, UK, Amberley Publishing.

Originally started in the early 2000s during DrugScope days, but abandoned when I realised I couldn’t do drugs morning, noon and night – and of course I’m now free to write what I want. The plural ‘wars’ is deliberate as UK drug wars have raged well beyond just cops v dealers and traffickers.

Shapiro H. (1988), Waiting for the Man: The Story of Drugs and Popular Music, London, Quartet Books. Subsequent editions published by Mandarin and Helter Skelter Publishing.

Rejected by some publishers who thought it would never make a book. I’m proud to say it was voted one of the best music books of the 20th century by the BBC Millennium website.

Shapiro H. (2003), Shooting Stars: Drugs, Hollywood and the Movies, London, Serpent’s Tail.

An overview on how the movies have dealt with drug issues going back to the early days of silent cinema. If there is an award for having to sit through hours of dreadful anti-drug movies aimed at 60s American kids, I claim it. The warning sign of a ‘ne’er do well’ aiming to seduce kids along a slippery path was apparently anybody in a roll-neck sweater playing bongos, aka ‘a beatnik’.

Shapiro H. (2020), Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020, London, Knowledge-Action-Change. Available at

Shapiro H. (2018) No Fire, No Smoke: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2018, London, Knowledge-Action-Change. Available at
Reports which I wrote and edited but really a magisterial effort by a great number of people at Knowledge-Action-Change and the new frontier in the battle for rational, evidence-based public health harm reduction.

Shapiro’s 85 articles for Druglink, covering everything from rehab to raves, are available online at
For a complete list of Shapiro’s books on music and other drug-related publications, go to

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