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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, D.O., M.A.(University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This is the fourth edition of this comprehensive book written for students and practitioners on drug and alcohol abuse. Written and edited by researcher-educators in pharmacology, this is an excellent updated addition to the field.
Purpose: The purpose, according to the editors, is to provide, "a text or supplement for students and teachers in courses on the pharmacology and behavioral aspects of drug abuse at the upper undergraduate or graduate level; as a source book for medical students and physicians who need more information on drug-related problems their patients are facing; as a resource for counselors and therapists who wish to understand more about the drugs their clients are using; and for lay people with a general curiosity about the drugs that can lead to abuse and dependence." The editors have certainly achieved their goal in producing a very useful and readable book.
Audience: The intended audience is students, clinicians, and the general public.
Features: Topics covered in the 10 chapters include the epidemiology of drug abuse, tobacco and nicotine, opioids, central nervous system depressants — barbiturates, alcohol, benzodiazepines, and volatile solvents, "club drugs" such as ecstasy, GHB, ketamine, marijuana and hashish, and central nervous systems stimulants — cocaine, amphetamines and related drugs. Other interesting and important topics are: medical issues associated with drug abuse and drug abuse and the law. Each chapter ends with relevant and timely references and the index section was helpful. Abuse of anabolic steroids as well the emerging issue of the use of drugs (i.e., Prozac, Ritalin) for mood and cognitive enhancement (as opposed to treatment of a disorder) needs to be addressed in future editions.
Assessment: Overall, this is an excellent review of this important and ubiquitous issue. Anyone interested in this major and growing public health problem should be familiar with the information contained in this book. I highly recommend it.