Drugs and Violent Crime and Drugs and Emotions are two titles that are part of theDrug Abuse Prevention Library. Both books are laid out in the same way: with large type, sub-topics in bold, photographs, and additional material in sections at the end of the book. These books are clearly designed to be used by students doing reports but could also be interesting to an individual curious about the topic. The difference between these titles and many other books on drugs is that these attempt to show a cause and effect relationship between the use and sale of drugs and the problems of violent crime and emotions. In Drugs and Violent Crime, the first chapter is on the drugs themselves, but chapters two through six focus on violence. The topics are more integrated in Drugs and Emotions. Each title would be attractive to and at a reading level easily understood by middle or junior high school students. However, for a thorough review of the topic, other books need to be available as well. The Drug Library series (Enslow) is more thorough and more formal in its approach to various topics. Tough Choices by John Langone (Little, Brown, 1995/VOYA, February 1995) treats the subject of substance abuse in a more serious manner. One objection that I have to these titles is their use of photographs. As I read, I felt that these photographs would interest my students more than the information, as they show people, among other things, making drug deals, stoned, or stealing. The reader is led to make a judgement that might hold true, i.e., about race or the way someone dresses. Although each book states that the people in the photographs are models, that disclaimer would escape the eyes of the average reader. These titles should be added to a collection where materials for poor readers are needed. Glossary. Index. Photos. Further Reading. Note: This review was written and published to address two titles: Drugs and Violent Crime and Drugs and Emotions. VOYA Codes: 2Q 2P M J (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal
Gr 5 UpTwo uneven entries in a hi/lo series. Crime presents general information on types of drugs and their effects rather than convincingly connecting violence to drug use. Statements are made without pinpointing sources, making it difficult for readers to follow up in more depth. Other statements are misleading. For example: "Other commonly prescribed drugs such as Valium, Xanax, and Prozac have been shown to cause violent behavior. As of 1992, more than 23,000 reports of adverse reactions to Prozac had been filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration." Readers may well infer that the "adverse reactions" refers to violence, instead of the much more common side effects of insomnia and weight loss listed in the 1996 Physicians' Desk Reference. Gilda Berger's Violence and Drugs (Watts, 1989; o.p.) is more thorough and includes primary documentation, while still in an easy-to-read format. Emotions, the better of the two books, describes the reasons teens may be attracted to drugs and how they can become hooked. The dangers of both legal and illegal drugs are presented. A good portion of the discussion deals with how to recognize that a problem exists and how to obtain help. Short anecdotal entries describe teen experiences and put a human face on addiction and recovery. Both titles include black-and-white and a few color photos and mostly hi/lo sources for further reading.Susan R. Farber, Ardsley Public Library, NY