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Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide to their History, Chemistry, Use, and Abuse Updated Edition

87 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0452285057
ISBN-10: 0452285054
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Editorial Reviews

Review

a ton of information ... for anyone who wants the facts, I’d say this is the one book to find them. -- Bookviews --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

 Dr. Paul Gahlinger has been involved in drug research since 1984 and is a professor of medicine at the University of Utah.  He is a certified substance abuse medical review officer, an FAA aviation medical examiner, and a consultant for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center, and a passionate spokesperson on drug issues.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Updated edition (December 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452285054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452285057
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Mark K. Mcdonough VINE VOICE on March 1, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not going to throw rocks at this book, because there is an incredible dearth of good information on this subject, and in the information in this book is excellent. But when Gahlinger says "complete," he is not kidding. This is a great resource for the sophisticated student of the subject, with history, sociology and legal issues as well as medical info, and lots of coverage of obscure drugs. For people whose interest in the subject which is either more casual or practical (e.g. "Is this stuff dangerous?" or "What's my kid getting into?") the book may be a little overwhelming.
I cannot stress how thoroughly superior this book is to Andrew Weil's "From Chocolate to Morphine."
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By David on September 4, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is among the most readable reference books written. The history and relationships of abusable drugs are covered. Then, commonly abused drugs receive individual attention. The information seems accurate and factual, and the author is a University-based M.D.

Unfortunately, he doesn't always note the source of some quotes clearly in the text. This leaves one wondering, at times, if the quote was intended to demonstrate a truth or a misconception -- especially if the topic in question is controversial. There are only occasional, minor references to sensationalistic stories that leave one wondering if they're true.

The author's bias (having read 2/3rds of the book so far), seems to be that the "War on Drugs" has not worked, but he's not a promoter of drug use, noting frequently the enormously harmful effects of drugs on both individuals and society. He describes both the positive and negative uses of drugs.

While this book contains a great deal of medical info, it is written for an educated layman and is not filled with the arcane technical writing and jargon of typical medical texts. Highly recommended overall.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jesse E Lane, drug policy student activist on January 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
In the vein of Andrew Weil and Winifred Rosen's From Chocolate to Morphine, Gahlinger's Illegal Drugs exemplifies a complete, `safety-first' approach to discussing illicit drugs and drug use in this country. Gahlinger goes beyond simply explaining the effects of various drugs on the body and mind; he explores the non-physical -but equally important- aspects of drug use/abuse, including extensive information on the legal consequences of involvement with drugs, drug testing in the workplace, economics of the drug trade, and the origins of U.S. drug policy. Perhaps most outstanding aspect of Gahlinger's book is his thorough, no-nonsense instructions for detecting a drug overdose and seeking efficient, timely medical care for the victim- knowledge that could, one day, be the deciding factor between the death or recovery of a friend or loved one. The accurate, rational information contained in Gahlinger's Illegal Drugs is an invaluable gift for any young adult today.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By M. Capestro on December 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
After researching through the internet, many journals and other books, this is by far the most complete up-to date book out there on drugs. It includes how drugs effect the brain. It includes how the drugs were first introduced and how they evolved into other durgs. My favorite part about this author is that he sticks to the fact that everything has a purpose and everything can be abused. I think that the authors main intent of this book is safety. Also, another point to make is that this book does not focus only on illegal drugs as the title mentions. It talks about legal drugs that can lead to addiction as well. I could go on and on about how informative this book is. I recommend this book to anyone.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide To Their History, Chemistry, Use And Abuse by Dr. Paul M. Gahlinger (Professor of Medicine, University of Utah) is a comprehensive, easily accessed encyclopedia of basic information surveying the vast variety of addictive, incapacitating, and/or deadly chemicals that have plagued human societies. From opiates to amphetamines, anti-drug laws and drug testing to legal psychoactive drugs such as alcohol, Illegal Drugs provides a wealth of information in a direct and easy-to-look-up matter, further aided by the extensive index. Written in terms the non-specialist general reader can easily understand Illegal Drugs is as complete and thorough a reference as one can find without consulting college-level textbooks or professional medical references. Highly recommended for personal, professional, academic, health agency, and community library pharmaceutical reference collections.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jack Irons on April 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
It was a very resouceful book, very realistic and culturally aware book. This educated author is not your average Ph. D. author with typical and surface deep information. Paul Gahlinger is a medical doctor as well, and his knowledge was put to good use in this informative book. While no book is perfect, Dr. Gahlinger gives thorough and honest information about drugs and the drug culture.

Other titles by this author include Health for Pilots: A Complete Guide to FAA Medical Certification and Self-Care and Northern Manitoba from Forest to Tundra : A Canoeing Guide and Wilderness Companion.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Frizzinator on September 20, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is by far one of the most intersting and information books that I have seen on illegal drugs (and a few that are legal). For any that have a desire to learn more about drugs, this is the book for you.
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