From The New England Journal of Medicine
This book is a salutary complement to the flood of alarmist diatribes about the need for a revitalized "war on drugs" to save the nation from decay and to the well-meaning but tired pleas for greater personal freedom and expression. There are no shrill polemics here and no pretentious proposals for tougher laws or less stringent policies. What the reader will find are interesting snapshots of an erratic historical trajectory that shows how the social context matters more than biochemistry or pharmacology when it comes to shaping how people feel, not only about drugs and those who use them, but even about what it is that we call "drugs" and why. It is evident that alcohol and drugs have a long and colorful history in the United States, as well as around the world, with patterns of use, attitudes, and even scientific interpretations and pronouncements that have varied widely over time. In this book, 14 authors write about different aspects of such changes during the past 200 years. They demonstrate novel approaches, fresh interpretations, and realistic implications, with chapter subjects as diverse as professionalism among physicians, language and "problem-definition," the status of Native Americans, sex differences, religion, LSD, and successive fads in the cessation of smoking. Each essay is enjoyable as well as informative, clear, well organized, and self-contained, with end notes and an ample bibliography. The introduction shows how the essays relate to one another and to the theme of the title. Dwight B. Heath, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved. The New England Journal of Medicine is a registered trademark of the MMS.
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Overwhelmingly, what remains when the last page is turned is the sense of the individuals who lie within. Even when they were alive and had unnoticed exsistences, they had dramas filled with pathos. This volume has reclaimed people, who have lost lives, from the past. --Karen Mills, Criminal Justice Review