Journalism in the Public Interest


MuckReads Podcast: Pawns in the War on Drugs



In the government's war on drugs, confidential informants are the foot soldiers — an inexpensive (and often unregulated) way to outsource the work of undercover cops. But when first-time offenders, even juveniles, are recruited for these high-risk operations, reporter Sarah Stillman found the consequences sometimes proved fatal.

She joins ProPublica managing editor Steve Engelberg in the podcast studio this week to discuss how she began this in-depth investigation, how the potentially lethal risks of working as a C.I. are often incommensurate to the charges these young informants are facing, and how people across the country have reacted to her story.

You can read Stillman's report, "The Throwaways," on the New Yorker's website and listen to this podcast on iTunes and Stitcher. Have suggestions for our next MuckReads podcast? Tweet a link with the hashtag #MuckReads or email

Jeannie Wesley

Aug. 16, 2013, 2:37 p.m.

All this war on drugs has created deplorable situations for those who have real long lasting pain and, lost their way of life. Many women have been destroyed by the drug lupron that is apparent by the information on the internet. and personal knowledge The PCP’s are afraid to properly treat these patients with pain meds. I have seen four pain medicine doctors and they are dangerous. I need pain control to have some sort of life. I am sure there are good ones out there but not close enough to where I,live.

steve baranick

Feb. 19, 12:55 p.m.

Jeannie is right I been in bad pain for or since 97 and my life is unbearable because of the WOD all it has done is cause people who need pain meds for some quality of life cannot get or very little and now a lot of pain doctors won’t take medicare and I do not know what to do I know I cannot keep living like I am right now I feel terrible my body does not belong to me anymore and if u go to a pain center if u don’t take the shots u don’t get pain meds and I’m past the shots they cause my heart to act very strange and have chest pains but no shots no pain meds it is so terrible to be in this situation and I am lost and do not know what to do except leave this shitty world,unless something happens soon I don’t see anything else I can do,it makes u want to do anything to get out of pain just about but I can’t do that either I been married 30yrs and my wife has stood by me and I do not know why because the trouble has reached such a level and doctors do not care I guess but very hard to find,i’m lost as to what to do,,,can anyone help b-4 I reach my end???just so u will know I have had 2 back sur,3knee sur,born with spondylolisthesis grade II spurs in my neck c-2 and 3 degenerative disc disease,and in 2010 diagnosed w/Sjogrens Syndrome.Fibromyalgia,osteoarthritis osteoporosis,went deaf in r-ear suddenly, need hip replacement and knee and for 5years I was seeing Dr.Chindalore a Rhuematologist in Anniston Al,and I went in for my apt went to the coffee dispenser and saw a folded paper that had her name on it where she took money from Big-Pharma I never even heard of Pro-Publica and wished I hadn’t I gave it to her and she ask did I pull this up and told her where it was and told her no I did not so the next month I go a day early like I have b-4 when u have flare-ups and she said to do that if and when it happens and I did have a bad month but she would not see me and told me to go to the ER,I was really confused and so was the nice girl the receptionist so I go to the ER the dr told to go back and wait to see her and tell her to quit sending patients to them at that time she was seeing 60 aday ruffly sitting in her room and she would feel ur knees,wrist,and listen to ur heart then give u your meds and u were gone and she had me on 2-40mgOxycontin a day and 6-30mg Roxies a day 1 ev,4 hrs,flexiril,lyrica,VitaminD 50.000 1 a wk,mine would bottom out,so it has been 8 mo,and I still can’t find help but is it legal for a dr to drop you when u r on those kind of meds I did nothing urine was clean so as I sat there waiting and hoping to see her 2 cops walk in and said they want u to leave ????? dayuuum I said they could of ask me to do that and then some lady standing behind the cop was yelling and said I was there earlier screaming and yelling and disturbing the patients I said mam I didn’t do that ask the recep,so I get up to leave and as I was walking out the 1 cop said and if u come back u will go to jail wth???I would still like to see her but she never showed her face that day so what do I do???

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