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From The CriticsReviewer: Debra Klbecka, MS (Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center)
Description: This book describes substances such as alcohol, caffeine, heroin, and others that have the potential for abuse or dependency by individuals. The substances are described in detail and treatment for the dependencies are presented.
Purpose: According to the author, the purpose is to explain why a person may use substances, what the biological and psychological effects of the substances are on the person, and what treatments are available for the person with a substance abuse problem. The objectives are worthy and the author meets them.
Audience: The target audience includes individuals who are not necessarily healthcare professionals or who may not have a science background. I believe the author wrote the book for individuals who may encounter someone, including themselves, with a substance problem in hopes of securing a better understanding of the situation. To some degree, the author meets the needs of this audience. However, I think there is a need for some basic science knowledge to fully understand some of the concepts in the chapters, especially the mechanism of action of the substance.
Features: The book begins by presenting some basic concepts of substance abuse/dependency that include information on specific populations that are at risk, such as school age children, explanations of terms, issues such as legalizing and decriminalization of illicit drugs and available treatment models. The book provides the reader with more details of specific substances that have the potential for abuse. I particularly like this layout becauseit gave me the opportunity to jump around to chapters that interest me, but I ultimately found myself reading the entire book since it provided such useful information. The tables are concise and informative and easy to follow. The appendixes are adequate, but the list of the street names is overwhelming. Perhaps since I am a healthcare provider, I think a list of national support groups or treatment phone numbers would have been a useful addition.
Assessment: The book is well written and informative on the subject of substance abuse/dependency in our society. To understand some of the concepts, the reader would need some basic science to appreciate what the author has written. Certainly the information may help in earlier detection of someone who is addicted or to provide alternative treatments.