John Harris

Journalist & Author

Will fentanyl deaths be the tipping point for our broken drugs policies? | John Harris

Synthetic opioids are an escalating tragedy, but treatment for addicts doesn’t have to be a dead end
Fentanyl is the unbelievably potent opioid drug cited in the deaths of such stars as Michael Jackson, Tom Petty and Prince. Far from mansions and flash hotels, it is also the street-level heroin substitute that is at the centre of mind-boggling statistics for drug deaths across the US: about 64,000 people died from overdoses in 2016, up 21%…

Profiteers make a killing on Airbnb – and erode communities | John Harris

The short-let platform is pushing up rents and compromising people’s privacy and security. Regulation is long overdue
The woman I spoke to last week lives with her husband in Edinburgh, “in the suburbs, but close enough to touristy things and wedding venues”. Their flat is one of nine in a “big subdivided house”, with a communal garden. “I moved here in the expectation that I’d live with eight other families I would know,” she told…

We need to talk about ageing – and it’s about far more than the NHS | John Harris

By 2050, 25% of the population will be over 65 – many living in solitude. Loneliness is becoming one of our biggest problems
The NHS crisis goes on, and its causes are clear: the government’s underfunding of the health service, and the eternally overlooked cuts to funding for adult social care provided by local councils, both of which go back to the 2010-15 coalition. Though some voices issue the…

The punk rock internet – how DIY ​​rebels ​are working to ​replace the tech giants

Around the world, a handful of visionaries are plotting an alternative ​online ​future​.​ ​Is it really possible to remake the internet in a way that’s egalitarian, decentralised and free of snooping​?​
The office planner on the wall features two reminders: “Technosocialism” and “Indienet institute”. A huge husky named Oskar lies near the door, while the two people who live and work here – a plain apartment block on the west side of Malmö, Sweden –…

My problem with Spotify – even though I’m a subscriber | John Harris

It’s a miracle of the age, but Spotify’s suspect ‘playlists’, shaky finances and low pay are bad for music fans and creators alike
In the last 20 or so years of technological revolution, has any artform been as transformed as music? Film and literature may still be adjusting to new platforms and business ideas, but they cling to the same basic rules. Art and theatre seem largely unchanged. As Netflix and Amazon Prime embed themselves…

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