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Verge ESP: Oliver Sacks, Lana Del Rey, and altered states

A very special episode

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Verge ESP returns from our hiatus, and we want to talk about drugs. We delve into the state of addiction treatment in 2015, and the broader role that drugs and alcohol play in pop culture, specifically music. From the glamorized torch songs of Lana Del Rey to The Weeknd's chart-topping cocaine anthem, there are several wildly different stories we tell ourselves about who does drugs, why they do them, and whether or not they "have a problem." And when drug abuse is so frequently coupled with mental disorders like depression and anxiety, how can we treat one without taking the other just as seriously?

We also chat about USA's Mr. Robot (whose protagonist is no stranger to addiction and mental illness), a show so of its time that its finale was postponed due to its accidental mirroring of tragic real-world events. Plus, we remember neurologist and author Oliver Sacks, whose remarkable, often surreal, and necessary reporting changed the way we thought about our brains. (Or rather, how our brains thought about themselves.)

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