Drugs & Stuff: a Member of the Hall of Very Good
A Review of the Drugs & Stuff Podcast for Great Pods!\
I am stuck in quarantine this week so I’ll be doing two reviews. Mostly because I have little else to do besides listen to shows! So my loss is your gain I suppose.
The first review I’m doing this week is a bit of a continuation of last week’s review of Psychoactive. The host of that show is Ethan Nadelmann, who is the founder and former ED of Drug Policy Alliance. Well, this week, I’m reviewing Drug Policy Alliance’s show, Drugs & Stuff.
Drugs & Stuff was established a few years back as an internal apparatus for the organization and it’s this fact exactly that makes the show as good as it is. There’s no preoccupation with making a profit or establishing itself as a force in the podcast world. Instead, it’s simply an exceptionally educational show that does a fantastic job of bringing fact-based information around drugs, addiction, and policy to everyone who listens.
The show does a good job of leveraging its status as the mouthpiece for Drug Policy Alliance to book fantastic guests including a few people I truly admire including Maia Szalavitz, who is a dream guest on my show Choose Your Struggle. But even when they don’t have guests, the show shines because the various internal colleagues of the Drug Policy Alliance are so eloquent on this subject that they can hold your focus without a big-name guest.
There are a few downsides, but they’re not startling. The sound quality is never exceptional mostly because, I assume, this isn’t something they care to focus on. Again, they clearly aren’t going out of their way to make this an independent show. And more on that; they break the cardinal rule in podcasting which is they aren’t consistent. The show drops… randomly. Seemingly with no rhyme or reason. Just, whenever they want. Which makes it hard to truly sink your teeth into it. Finally, while they do a great job of being welcoming to all listeners, it’s clear that they know most people who decide to check out this show will be people who know at least a bit about the subject. I could see newbies being a bit out of their depth listening to this show as a result.
When I listen to Drugs & Stuff, I always think of Orel Hershiser. My fellow MLB fans will get it. But for those of you who aren’t big baseball fans, Hershiser is the epitome of what we call the Hall of Very Good. As in, they were far better players than the average player, but not quite a Hall of Famer. That’s where I think Drugs & Stuff lands. If a 5 out of 10 is average, I’d place this about a 7.5. Halfway better than average, but still far short of greatness.
Still, when they do drop episodes, I’d recommend you listen. I guarantee you’ll learn a thing or two!