Drugs are like candy—wonderful in moderation, but also capable of inflicting real, long-term harm. That’s especially true of OxyContin, a powerful opioid painkiller that has become synonymous with addiction and overdose. In “First Do No Harm,” Maisonneuve’s new cover story, award-winning medical journalist and author Ann Silversides investigates the drug-related deaths of two people in Brockville, Ontario—deaths that later prompted one of the most sweeping coroner’s inquests in Canadian history. As she reconstructs the deceased friends’ final days and tracks the progress of the inquest, Silversides comes across an uncomfortable question: how much responsibility do doctors and pharmaceutical companies have for the problem of prescription-opioid addiction? On our cover, photographer Andrew B. Myers and art director Anna Minzhulina toy with this issue by presenting OxyContin in a candy wrapper. Like sweet treats, the image suggests, prescription painkillers are too easy to come by—and it’s too easy to get hooked.
Also in this issue:
Mark Mann investigates the mysterious Buddhist monks who are buying up property on Prince Edward Island.
Claire Prime uncovers the hidden domestic-abuse scandal on Canada’s Aboriginal reserves.
Christopher Szabla on why “going viral” is a more apt choice of words than we realize.
Luc Rinaldi plays the game that’s drawing millions of computer geeks into the forest.
Deni Y. Béchard searches for poetry in Rwanda.
Katherine Ashenburg ponders what to eat at a funeral.
Benoit Aquin photographs Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
Jane Silcott on the semantics of belief.
Bernard Rudny provides a tour of Montreal’s weirdest street names.
All this, plus new fiction by Jacob Wren and Daniel Grenier, new poetry by Deena Shaffer, a new comic column by Ethan Rilly, spot illustrations by John Martz, the Book Room and the Music Room!
On newsstands everywhere March 18. Order this issue now.
— “Unmasked: Searching for lessons in Toronto’s 2010 G20 debacle” by Andrea Bennett.