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Children's LiteratureDrugs, their usage, and their scientific and social properties all are fascinating topics. Here, readers are provided over 250 entries dealing with a wide spectrum of subject matter linked to this broad heading. This illustrated encyclopedia incorporates a tremendous amount of factual information and does so in a fashion that is both scholarly and approachable to its intended adolescent audience. Throughout the three volumes of this encyclopedia, readers are provided nearly one thousand pages of fact-filled and well-written entries. Subjects are divided into three broad headings inclusive of substances, substance abuse, and society. Entries related to these three headings are color coded so that readers can make associations amongst the many subjects covered in this publication. Each essay includes some illustrations or charts. Key facts or essential points are highlighted in a text box format. Every entry ends with a "SEE ALSO" notation that provides a guide to other essays of related interest. Articles vary in length from one to several pages. The writing is uniformly comprehensive and readable. Indeed, adolescents and adults who peruse this reference set may well find themselves paging through it as they find articles that catches and maintains their interest. In leafing through these volumes, readers will come away with an enormous amount of information as well as surprising facts. For example, do you really understand why caffeine causes people to remain more alert? Can you explain the reasons why stimulant medications are the most commonly used treatment aimed at reducing hyperactivity among people identified as having ADD? Were you aware that the use of marijuana dates back toancient times in China, the Middle East, and other societies? Do you know why smoking cessation is so difficult? Throughout this set the authors take great pains to point out not only the dangers inherent in drug abuse, but also the underlying social, biological, hereditary, and economic reasons that can lead towards it. Sections that deal with specific drugs such as cocaine, Ecstasy, and marijuana are highly informative. Other sections that address psychotropic medications such as anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety drugs will be helpful not only to those individuals who are taking them but also to family members and professionals interested in their nature and effects. Perhaps some of the most interesting segments of this series are those that offer information about treatment options, rehabilitation approaches, counseling techniques, and self-defense strategies that can be used to prevent drug abuse. Throughout the many essays in this encyclopedia, readers are afforded an opportunity to absorb the most recent information and scholarship about the many aspects of legal and illegal drugs. As a result this set fills several potentially key roles. First, it is a comprehensive source of information for teens about a subject that is directly relevant to their lives. Second, this compilation of information is a highly valuable teaching resource for school, library, or home use. Finally, in a world where drug use and abuse appears to be steadily increasing, having a resource like this is vital. All in all this is a thoughtful and valuable set that addresses a topic of great importance. 2006, Marshal Cavendish, $249.95. Ages 12 up.
—Greg M. Romaneck