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 muckreads@propublica.org.