Dealing with Drugs: Consequences of Government Control is the sort of book that commands attention. Both the professional and nonprofessional reader will be rewarded for their efforts. The book offers a vigorous and at times provocative presentation, but it is a scholarly, well-documented volume, with scientific data and numerous quotations and references.
Many of the chapters stress the failure of existing laws in regard to the control of illegal drugs and recommend the necessity of modifying present policies. The work is of inestimable value in understanding our current drug problem which, as the volume's contributors emphasize, has not disappeared in spite of draconian legislation and repeated declarations of "war" on drugs.
Dealing with Drugs will challenge the reader to scrutinize today's troubled situation concerning drug use and encourage the formulation of new, more rational approaches to our seemingly intractable dilemma. The book compels attention, not only to the increasing problems of the present time, but to the importance of studying the foreseeable consequences of legislation. Too often, legislation has been based on rigid, linear thinking that results in simple-minded proposals—for example, tough sentences, including even the death penalty, for very sensitive and complex situations. It is evident as one reads these chapters that there are no gimmicks or easy solutions. Some of the authors do not agree with those who advocate the decriminalization of various illicit substances—but throughout the book there are strong arguments for a major reconsideration of current laws. In making their arguments, the authors provide a range of options for reform.
The book is well written and the layperson will find it very readable. But its high standards of academic presentation will also be gratifying to the expert. Each and every chapter has something to offer. It is strongly recommended for all who are concerned about the future welfare of our nation and particularly the younger segments of our population.
Dr. Alfred Freedman
New York Medical College Former president, American Psychiatric Association
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