Children's Literature - Gisela JerniganThis clear, balanced guide to substance abuse begins with an eye-opening quiz and ends with a useful list on how to cope with potentially difficult drug situations, signs of addiction and the answers to the quiz. In between, there are chapters on: addiction, alcohol, drugs, tobacco and staying clean, all presented in a conversational and sympathetic style. Langone does an especially good job of explaining how alcohol and tobacco may be legal but can be a harmful as some illegal drugs. He believes that just saying "no," is not enough without understanding all kinds of drugs and how they can be used and abused. A list of substance abuse resources and an index are included.
School Library JournalGr 7 Up-Langone tackles substance abuse common among young people and urges them to say ``No.'' He accepts that curiosity, rebellion, peer pressure, a desire to be independent, and a belief in personal invincibility will cause many teens to experiment and some to become physically and/or psychologically hooked. He traces a typical pattern of abuse and the ``complicated mix of environment and heredity'' that leads to addiction. Chapters on alcohol, drugs, and tobacco are comprehensive, citing the history of use and dangers of each. A closing chapter on responsible attitudes and treatment of addiction is excellent. The author stresses the difficulty of ``staying clean'' and offers practical suggestions for living without dependence on these substances. Although statistics are provided to document the cost of addiction to American society, the focus is on the consequences of substance abuse for the individual. Written in a direct style with plenty of colloquial language, the narrative is peppered with allusions to Shakespeare, Dickens, the Roman poet Horace, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and covers a lot of ground in a lively and fluent fashion. Regina Avraham's Substance Abuse (Chelsea, 1988) also attempts broad coverage, but is not as attractive or as readable. Throughout his presentation, Langone advocates moderation in the use of these substances, if abstinence is not possible. He does make clear, however, which choice is most desirable.-Libby K. White, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Stephanie ZvirinReaders can't miss Langone's stand on using alcohol, drugs, and nicotine (he's the least charitable about tobacco, which he calls "the filthy weed" ). But even so, he manages to avoid sounding so strident that he'll put off readers. Full of information (unfortunately, none of it documented), his book is a forthright overview, as upfront about contradictory medical evidence as it is about the author's opinions. The most familiar substances are covered, as are the most important related issues--for example, the debate over legalizing drugs, crack babies, a genetic link in alcoholism, kids involved in dope dealing--and Langone seems to dwell more on the psychological reasons behind abuse than do other books on the subject. A final chapter discusses what can be done about drug abuse by an individual and by society. As usual, Langone gives readers lots to think about.
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