The pursuit of intoxication through drugs, according to UCLA psycho-pharmacologist Siegel, is the ``fourth drive,'' as deep-rooted as our instinctual cravings for food, water and sex. ``Although chapters on alcohol, opium, cocaine, cannabis, etc. pack a welter of details, this volume seems suspect in both its theorizing and its interpretation of experiments,'' noted PW. (Aug.)
Our pursuit of intoxication is inevitable, irrepressible, and universal, according to Siegel, a research psychopharmacologist from UCLA. He argues that the appetite for drugs, the ``fourth drive,'' is as much a part of human nature as the drive to satisfy hunger, thirst, and sex. His examination of drugs includes coffee, various hallucinogens, tobacco, alcohol, opium, marijuana, and cocaine. Siegel engagingly describes the animals and some human cultures that consume various plants and experience ``controlled'' intoxication. Modern users have unfortunately forgone natural feeding strategies that limit addiction and abuse. So fundamental is this pursuit that attempts to prohibit intoxicants have repeatedly failed. Siegel's answer (to make drugs safe) is well argued and persuasive. Recommended for wide purchase.-- Laurie Bartolini, Lincoln Lib., Springfield, Ill.
YA-- In the midst of the wealth of books on the horrors of drug abuse, Siegel's effort provides contrast as it studies why humans, and many animals, seek intoxication in one form or another. The first part of the book discusses plant origins for many intoxications, and the effects on wild, domesticated, and caged animals, with some parallels drawn to human behavior. The second part discusses humanity's desire to expand its range of experience. Here Siegel provides a history of drug use and abuse which is most enlightening and includes alcohol and tobacco as abused and dangerous substances. He proceeds to a discussion of modern designer drugs and their effects, and the reasons for their existence and popularity, using examples throughout as well as reports of horror stories from crime annals. He stresses that crimes committed under the influence of drugs are NOT caused by the drug, and that the predisposition to violence exists within some individuals. His history of drugs as they have affected American politics up through the Reagan administration is most insightful, as are his comments on the futility of the anti-drug crusade as it is now waged. His conclusion states clearly that legalization of drugs is not a viable solution. This book challenges the thinking of high school students and puts the subject in a historical context which allows them to begin adult consideration of an age-old problem. The ideas here are not orthodox, but they are thought-provoking.-- Dorcas Hand, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, TX
Siegal (UCLA) draws on extensive experience with psychopharmacology to clarify some of the issues of use, control and abuse. Extensive bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)