Meet David Sheff

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Meet David Sheff

My name is David Sheff. I am a writer, a journalist. I have written over the course of my life about many things, and I wrote about politics and art and the environment and science, all kinds of things. But then, when my son, my eldest son, was a teenager, he became addicted to drugs and everything changed for our family. I spent years basically trying to save his life, trying to understand what had happened to him and what had happened to our family. And so my work as a journalist also changed, and I have been writing about addiction since then. I wrote an article for the New York Times about our family´s experience. There was such a strong reaction from so many people who were suffering in the same ways that our family was suffering, but people don´t talk about this problem. So encouraged by the people I met and the people I heard from, I went forward and I wrote the book Beautiful Boy, which is about our family´s experience and what we encountered not only when my son became addicted but also we encountered this treatment system that was a disaster. And then, I went forward at that point to continue writing about addiction in the book Clean, and that book was really about why are we failing so badly in our attempts to prevent addiction and to treat it, and what can we do better. Can we do better? How can we help people who become addicted? My wife is an artist. I have got these three great kids. I live in a really beautiful place up on the coast north of San Francisco. We spend a lot of time at the beach as a family. I am at in the water whenever I can. Surfing, it is really cold up there. But we also have really good waves and secret spots where if I go at the right time, I can be with myself or with a friend hiding out there being in nature with pelicans and seals and it is kind of heaven.
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David Sheff


David Sheff is the author of Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy, the follow-up to his New York Times #1 bestseller, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s AddictionClean is the result of the years Sheff spent investigating the disease of addiction and America’s drug problem, which he sees as the greatest public-health challenge of our time.

Beautiful Boy was based on Sheff’s article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in the New York Times Magazine and won an award from the American Psychological Association for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of addiction.”  It was named the nonfiction book of the year by Entertainment Weekly.  

Named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People, Sheff also won the 2013 College of Problems on Drug Dependence Media Award. Sanjay Gupta, MD, said, "As a clear-eyed chronicler of addiction, David is without peer.”

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