Plants - Drugs Mind - Spirit Freedom - Law Arts - Culture Library  
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Its History and Lore
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Author(s) :
Julian Durlacher
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Carlton Books
Whether we like it or not, drugs are a part of our world. Drugs are both vilified -- in newspaper headlines and public health broadcasts --and glorified-- in movies, music, and fashion. They continue to fascinate and horrify in equal measure, but drug-taking is a subject that none of us can afford to ignore. Discussion about drugs is often hampered by preconceptions on both sides, for and against, but this series aims to contribute impartially to the debate.

Each book in the series concentrates on a particular drug and:
  • describes its invention or discovery and its transition to illegal and "recreational" use
  • tells the story of its misuse
  • lists some of the tragedies and scandals caused by misuse of drugs
  • outlines the physical and mental effects and side-effects of drug misuse
  • explains how and why the drug has come to occupy the position it does in society today

    The authors also expose some of the most popular myths about drugs, and explain the reasons behind drug-taking and drug addiction, while recognizing that the two do not always go hand in hand.

    Heroin is perhaps the most demonized drug today --and rightly so, given its addictive nature. Its association with needles and syringes, and hence with the spread of HIV, has reduced its status still further. And yet even the case against heroin is not entirely black and white: criminalization, rather than the substance itself, could be seen as a cause of many of the problems we associate with heroin addiction, such as crime, prostitution, and infection. On the one hand, in Switzerland a revolutionary experiment is being carried out to see if addicts can live normal, responsible lives when they have a regular and safe supply of heroin. At the same time, in other western countries, vast amounts of money are spent each year in trying to stop the supply of heroin from poorer countries where the opium poppy is a major cash crop. Clearly it is time to reconsider how we control the taking of heroin and what we hope to achieve by doing so.