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From The CriticsReviewer: Adrienne Adams, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is a comprehensive, in-depth review of drugs and substances of abuse used by children and adolescents throughout North America.
Purpose: The authors, recognized as experts in this field, have several key objectives for this handbook: first, to detail current research on the prevalence and characteristics of child and adolescent exposure to and use of drugs and substances of abuse in North America; second, to foster an understanding of substance abuse in children and adolescents from a developmental perspective incorporating the biological, psychological, and sociological theories thus providing a sound foundation for the etiology and assessment of drugs and substances of abuse in this population; and, ultimately, to create a reference that provides an unbiased and insightful guide to drug and substance use and abuse by children and adolescents.
Audience: The intended audience includes child and adolescent psychiatrists, general psychiatrists, family practitioners, psychiatric nurse practitioners, pediatricians, school nurses and counselors, juvenile justice workers, community mental health workers, pharmacists, midwives, educators, psychologists, and other mental health professionals who work with children and adults. It should be noted that although the authors foresee an extensive audience due to possible cultural or societal differences among different countries in North America, because of the limited role of midwives and pharmacists in clinical work with children and adolescents in the U.S., this book would not be as applicable to these two groups in this country.
Features: The first of the book's three sections discusses the foundation of the pharmacology of the three major classes of the drugs and substances of abuse (psychodepressants, psychostimulants, psychedelics) including their mechanisms of action, toxicities, physical and psychological dependence, and assimilated studies and reports demonstrating the prevalence and incidence of use. The focus of section two is on the clinical and developmental aspects of drugs and substances of abuse spanning the entire lifespan from in utero exposure through early adulthood. The first chapter in this section provides a theoretical explanation for substance use and abuse, and the second chapter is a thorough discussion of the clinical implications of drug exposure. The last chapter explains the effects of the drugs and substances of abuse on the developing brain. Each chapter includes tables and figures that nicely illustrate the topics. The third section concludes with more clinically relevant considerations including guidelines for assessment and treatment, comorbidities of psychopathology and substance abuse, and an insightful analysis of the stages of prevention. A reference section ends the book. The only drawback of this outstanding book is the lack of color art for the figures and tables to make them more eye-catching.
Assessment: This is a well-organized, easy-to-read, informative, and clinically relevant handbook that addresses the various aspects of drugs and substances of abuse from early exposure through clinical implications of abuse and dependence of substance use. Theoretical groundwork, assessment and treatment guidelines, clinically relevant studies, and a reference section make this an invaluable resource for all clinicians and educators. It significantly furthers and expands the understanding of drugs and substances of abuse in children and adolescents. It is an important addition to all libraries.