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Duke University Press Books
The Cult of Pharmacology: How America Became the World's Most Troubled Drug Culture

The Cult of Pharmacology: How America Became the World's Most Troubled Drug Culture

by Richard DeGrandpreRichard DeGrandpre
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America had a radically different relationship with drugs a century ago. Drug prohibitions were few, and while alcohol was considered a menace, the public regularly consumed substances that are widely demonized today. Heroin was marketed by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, and marijuana was available as a tincture of cannabis sold by Parke Davis and Company.

Exploring how this rather benign relationship with psychoactive drugs was transformed into one of confusion and chaos, The Cult of Pharmacology tells the dramatic story of how, as one legal drug after another fell from grace, new pharmaceutical substances took their place. Whether Valium or OxyContin at the pharmacy, cocaine or meth purchased on the street, or alcohol and tobacco from the corner store, drugs and drug use proliferated in twentieth-century America despite an escalating war on “drugs.”

Richard DeGrandpre, a past fellow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and author of the best-selling book Ritalin Nation, delivers a remarkably original interpretation of drugs by examining the seductive but ill-fated belief that they are chemically predestined to be either good or evil. He argues that the determination to treat the medically sanctioned use of drugs such as Miltown or Seconal separately from the illicit use of substances like heroin or ecstasy has blinded America to how drugs are transformed by the manner in which a culture deals with them.

Bringing forth a wealth of scientific research showing the powerful influence of social and psychological factors on how the brain is affected by drugs, DeGrandpre demonstrates that psychoactive substances are not angels or demons irrespective of why, how, or by whom they are used. The Cult of Pharmacology is a bold and necessary new account of America’s complex relationship with drugs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822349075
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
Publication date: 11/09/2010
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 724,705
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Richard DeGrandpre is an independent scholar of drugs and other “technologies of the self.” He has a doctorate in psychopharmacology and was a fellow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. He is the author of Ritalin Nation: Rapid-Fire Culture and the Transformation of Human Consciousness and Digitopia: The Look of the New Digital You. He has also written numerous scientific, theoretical, and popular articles on drugs and is a former senior editor at Adbusters magazine.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Part One. End of a Century

1. Mama Coca 3

2. Cult of the SSRI 34

3. The Emperor‘s New Smokes 64

Part Two. Earlier Times

4. The Placebo Text 103

5. America‘s Domestic Drug Affair 138

6. War 170

Part Three. While at War

7. The Drug Reward 179

8. Possessed by the Stimulus 208

9. Ideology 236

Appendix One. Escalation of American Drug Laws in the Twentieth Century 243

Appendix Two. U.S. Regulations Allowing a White Market for Drugs in the Twentieth Century 245

Notes 247

Selective Bibliography 283

Index 287

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