This book, a revised and abridged version of a Ph.D. dissertation granted approval by the University of London in 1978, actually started life nearly a decade ago, when I was nearing the end of a two-year research studentship at the London School of Economics. During the over-long course of its gestation I have, inevitably, accumulated a large number of debts, both personal, intellectual and — if I may refer to the early contribution made by the Social Science Research Council — financial. I think it would be quite impossible to name all my creditors; some of them, in any case, will probably object strenuously to its central thesis and be quite happy not to be publicly associated with it. However, there are certain people whose contribution really must be acknowledged. There is little doubt that without the constant support and stimulation provided by Paul Rock, my supervisor at LSE, the Ph.D. itself — let alone any book arising from it — would never have been completed. To him I owe a special debt. On the other hand, without the intellectual excitement generated in me by the work on drugtaking that Jock Young was doing at the time, it very probably would never have got started. Both of them, together with Stan Cohen, David Downes and Nick Dorn, read the entire manuscript at different times, and I am very grateful to them all for their comments and suggestions. For varying combinations of stimulating discussion, helpful criticism and practical help my thanks are also due to Tony Hodges, Gordon West, Trevor Powell, the staff of the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence, London, particularly Mike Ashton and Jasper Woodcock, and — last but in no conceivable sense least — Karolina Frey. All of them, and many others who shall remain anonymous, have helped to shape what follows, even though there is clearly no sense in which any of them can be held responsible for its content. That responsibility, for better or worse, is mine alone. Finally, I would like to record my thanks to Phyllis Penlington and Linda Santimano for typing successive versions of the manuscript with a speed and accuracy that I can only marvel at.