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From The CriticsReviewer: Michael Easton, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This excellent introduction to the common drugs of abuse reviews their historical background, their use, their abuse, and various drug policies to regulate them.
Purpose: The intent is to set out what is known about various drugs of abuse, the natural history of drug use, why people take drugs, the meaning of addiction, and the available treatment.
Audience: The book is intended for any individual, clinician or nonclinician, student or lay person, interested in an overview of various recreational drugs, their history, use, abuse, consequences, and public policies to control them.
Features: It provides accurate and easy to understand information on most drugs of abuse in the U.S. and abroad. The book begins by looking at the various explanations for why individuals and cultures use these substances as well as the overall consequences of drug abuse. The chapters on individual drugs are organized into sections reviewing their historical background, preparation, distribution, scientific information, beneficial effects, recreational use, and unwanted effects. It reviews alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, stimulants, psychedelics, inhalants, club drugs, steroids, tranquillizers, and opioids. The final chapters explore the course of addictions, various treatments, ending with a review of the effectiveness of international drug policy.
Assessment: This is an easy to read book for those new to the study of drug abuse and as well as a worthwhile read for those in the field, whether students, clinicians, or involved in public policy. It provides a fair and balanced view of recreational drugs, placing them in historical and cultural perspective. It also provides an overview of our understanding of drug abuse from a biological, psychological, and cultural perspective as well as various treatments and public policies to deal with this issue.