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Full Review
book cover
Dangerous Drugs: An Easy-to-Use Reference for Parents and Professionals
by Carol L. Falkowski
Book Reviews
Reviewed by Midevil, 5/5/2005

Dangerous Drugs covers a wide variety of substances, from illegal (like marijuana and khat) to legal, such as caffeine and alcohol. The book is split up into easily navigated sections that discuss a wide range of basic issues, including drug effects and withdrawal symptoms. A few pages of color photos in the middle of the book provide the uneducated reader with images of various drugs and relevant paraphernalia.

The information is provided in clear language for the readers. The author tries to avoid discriminating against different types of users, acknowledging that substance use is diverse and difficult to measure. Members of the arts community may disagree with Falkowski’s stance that “people use drugs and alcohol to feel good. That’s it.” She avoids that scene. She does acknowledge that “not every person who uses illegal drugs eventually becomes addicted”, although it is still counted within the negative consequences of societal drug use.

I recommend Dangerous Drugs for people who have little to no experience or education about drugs, those who are thinking about drug use, or those who take substances without realizing potential consequences. This reference is not for the well-rounded individual who already has a small library about substances at home, or is out there on the street; it’s for the beginner or the parent that doesn’t know why his or her child is coming home after school with glassy eyes.


  1. I just want to say that although the review of this book is fair, I wouldn’t recommend Dangerous Drugs to anyone-especially parents-becuase it contains and presents many controversial claims about drugs-”Marijuana leads to Heroin” etc.-as facts with no mention that such claims are disputed. The book also criticizes people who support the Harm Reduction approach to drug education. It does not suggest guidelines for responsible drug use or even acknowledges that it exists except of course with alcohol, the most socially destructive drug in our society. Over all, I would recommend Dr. Andrew Weil’s book From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Psychoactive Drugs as a much more accurate and balanced book about both licit and illicit drugs-it also contains a wonderful chapter on non-drug means of changing consciousness.

    Comment by Cracker Jack — 5/6/2005 @ 4:11 pm

  2. I think the word “dangerous” sums up the whole tone of the book. The word implies that molecules (mostly illegal,socially unacceptable ones in this case)aren’t merely formations of atoms,but have some kind of inherant morality to them. Like the modern American proverb goes, “Guns don’t kill people.People kill people.”
    Obviously,the book is prohibitionist in tone. In all fairness,morality aside,the book is fairly accurate when it comes to more objective,scientific matters (although there are a couple of whoppers like the “marijuana gateway drug” theory mentioned previously.)

    I’ve defintely seen worse (the DARE program anyone?) ,but I’ve defintely seen a hell of a lot better too. So in the end,there is really no reason,besides perhaps morbid curiosity,that one should pick up this book when there are many better “drugs 101” books available like From Chocolate to Morphine.

    Comment by monoamine — 11/8/2005 @ 11:22 pm

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