Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps are probably the only two athletes that we can safely call real-life, modern-day Supermen. Their physical achievements are unmatched -- and they have both become international megastars because of that.
Unfortunately, though, the public treatment of these two icons, while similar in many respects, has diverged when the two have come into contact with drugs. One has been treated like a pariah, another has been financially rewarded -- and, as my new newspaper column shows, the double standard is a powerful commentary on our nation's absurd narcotics policy.
Why do we as a country encourage the consumption of drugs that are far more harmful than some of the drugs we outright criminalize? Why do we shun even private consumption of the safer drug, but promote -- and financially reward -- the public promotion of the dangerous one?
Why, in short, do we ignore scientific fact in our drug policies?
These are tough questions that Phelps and Armstrong raise in their Tale of Two Supermen -- questions that I try to answer with the help of this important book, which I strongly suggest you read (after, of course, you check out my column today).