An inquiry into a neighbor's suicide leads a man to discover links between heavy marijuana use and psychosis among people who suffer from mental illnesses:
"One afternoon recently, I met Dr. Roger Roffman, professor emeritus at the University of Washington's School of Social Work, in his office up on Roosevelt Way. He has a calm demeanor and a cozy office set up for counseling sessions: He has been studying marijuana dependence for nearly 30 years. I had sent him the police report about Rosado in advance. He offered me some tea and then sat on the couch under his third-floor window and said, 'The research would tend to indicate that she was loaded for an explosion.'
"The moment he began to speak, it began to rain.
"He said what loaded her for an explosion was being sexually abused as a child and then using marijuana heavily and then experiencing psychosis. Citing data from UK researchers published in Psychological Medicine in 2011, he said, 'In some case examples where forced nonconsensual sex occurred during childhood, there was a risk from that experience for later psychotic illness, and that risk was exaggerated, made even greater, if the individual used marijuana.' In the data, researchers found that if an individual's sexual trauma and marijuana use both began before the age of 16, their chances of being diagnosed with psychosis later on was 'over seven times' greater. The researchers wrote that among other stress factors thought to contribute to psychosis—like ethnicity, employment, drug use, and family history of mental illness—sexual trauma was one 'few researchers had acknowledged.'"
PUBLISHED: Aug. 21, 2012
LENGTH: 26 minutes (6578 words)
2012 Pulitzer Prize winner: A woman testifies about her rape and the rape and murder of her partner:
"She understood, sitting up there on the witness stand, why people might need to imagine her window coverings. But this is not what the survivor of the South Park rapes and murder had come to talk about. The mechanics, both psychological and practical, of how the attacks might have come to pass were now well beside the point. In any sense that would satisfy, they are probably unknowable.
"The reason for her sitting on the witness stand of a packed and sweltering eighth-floor courtroom at the King County Courthouse on June 8, in jeans and a short-sleeved black blouse, hands clasped over knees, a jury of strangers taking notes, a crowd of family and friends and strangers observing, a bunch of media recording, was to say: This happened to me. You must listen. This happened to us. You must hear who was lost. You must hear what he did. You must hear how Teresa fought him. You must hear what I loved about her. You must know what he took from us. This happened."
PUBLISHED: April 16, 2012
LENGTH: 21 minutes (5349 words)
Retracing the steps of a Marine who went missing in the Montana wilderness. Family, friends and fellow Iraq veterans struggle to understand what happened to 30-year-old Noah Pippin:
"Pierce remembers the stranger as none too friendly. Pippin kept his back turned when Pierce started asking questions and said curtly that he’d hiked in from Hungry Horse. Seeing the fatigues, Pierce asked if he was military, and Noah told him he was a vet.
"'You been over in Iraq?'
"'Got back a little while ago.'
"'I was in Vietnam,' said Pierce, hoping to break the ice. 'Navy.'
"Noah didn’t answer.
"'If you’re going hiking in these parts, you need a gun,' said Pierce. 'Do you have one?'
"'Yes, sir,' he said. 'Just a .38.'
"'That ain’t much to stuff in the face of a grizzly when he’s chewing on your foot.'
"'It’s all I got.'"
PUBLISHED: April 9, 2012
LENGTH: 44 minutes (11100 words)
My father moved back to Nigeria one month after I was born. Neither I nor my sister Ijeoma, who is a year and a half my elder, have any recollection of him. Over the course of the next 16 years, we did not receive so much as a phone call from him, until one day in the spring of 1999, when a crinkled envelope bearing unfamiliar postage stamps showed up in the mailbox of Ijeoma's first apartment. Enclosed was a brief letter from our father in which he explained the strange coincidence that had led to him "finding" us.* It was a convoluted story involving his niece marrying the brother of one of our mother's close friends from years ago. As a postscript to the letter, he expressed his desire to speak to us and included his telephone number.
PUBLISHED: July 5, 2011
LENGTH: 9 minutes (2396 words)
One day, I bought a small stack of acid house records from a stand in Camden Market. I listened to them, read about the movement in the music papers, and got a rough picture. If there were some way of returning to Harare and reconvening the crew (at the time, I was the only one who had left the country to attend college), I would have explained that acid house was indeed house music, but in the condition of a virus. It actually came from Chicago, from cats like Phuture and the great Armando, but it had taken on a life of its own in the streets of London.
PUBLISHED: May 31, 2011
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3252 words)
On April 29, Dorothy Parvaz disappeared. A former reporter and columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Parvaz now works as a correspondent for Al Jazeera, and she’d flown to Syria to cover the latest uprising in the Arab Spring. After Parvaz disappeared, no one knew exactly where she was, or if she was safe, until 19 days later when she was released from an Iranian detention center and sent home to Vancouver, BC.
PUBLISHED: May 26, 2011
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6103 words)
Pure fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine, and doses are measured in micrograms instead of milligrams: Unless it's mixed very precisely and very evenly, the strength of the drug can vary dramatically—dangerously—from one hit to the next. A few years ago, the Midwest and East Coast saw at least 1,000 heroin overdoses after a lab in Toluca, Mexico, produced fentanyl that was then cut into the heroin supply chain, making the heroin much, much stronger—unevenly so.
PUBLISHED: March 10, 2011
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4878 words)
What's a drug used to deworm livestock -- a drug that can obliterate your immune system -- doing in your cocaine? Nobody knows.
PUBLISHED: Aug. 17, 2010
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3573 words)
More people die of suicide in King County than from traffic accidents or murder, but no one likes to talk about it. A few words about the history, meaning, and practice of suicide, from third-century Christian death cults to the Aurora Bridge.
PUBLISHED: May 4, 2010
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5696 words)