In today’s world, drugs and their use have the potential for good and for bad. As a society and as individuals, we can be the beneficiaries of drugs—or their victims. This perspective continues to be the message of Drugs, Behavior, and Modern Society, Eighth Edition. As has been the case since the first edition, this book introduces the basic facts and major issues concerning drug-taking behavior in a straightforward, comprehensive, and reader-friendly manner. A background in biology, sociology, psychology, or chemistry is not necessary. The only requirement is a sense of curiosity about the range of chemical substances that affect our minds and our bodies and an interest in the challenges these substances bring to our society and our daily lives. These challenges can be framed in terms of three fundamental themes.
The role of drug-taking behavior throughout history— First of all, present-day issues concerning drug misuse and abuse are issues that society has confronted for a long time. Drugs and drug-taking behavior are consequences of a particularly human need to feel stronger, more alert, calmer, more distant and dissociated from our surroundings, or simply good. It is the misuse and abuse of chemical substances to achieve these ends that have resulted in major problems in the United States and around the world.
The diversity in psychoactive drugs in our society— There is an enormous diversity among drugs that affect the mind and the body. We need to educate ourselves not only about illicit drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, hallucinogens, and marijuana but also about legally available drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Drugs, Behavior, and Modern Society has been designed as a comprehensive survey of all types of psychoactive drugs, addressing the issues of drug-taking behavior from a combination of psychological, biological, and sociological perspectives. The personal impact of drug-related issues in our lives—
Finally, we need to recognize that, like it or not, the decision to use drugs is one of life’s choices in contemporary society, regardless of our racial, ethnic, or religious background, how much money we have, where we live, how much education we have acquired, whether we are male or female, and whether we are young or old. The potential for misuse and abuse is a problem facing all of us.
New To This Edition
The Eighth Edition of Drugs, Behavior, and Modern Society is divided into six sections:
Part One (Chapters 1–3): Drugs in Society/Drugs in Our Lives
Part Two (Chapters 4–7): Legally Restricted Drugs in Our Society
Part Three (Chapters 8–11): Legal Drugs in Our Society
Part Four (Chapters 12 and 13): Enhancers and Depressants
Part Five (Chapters 14 and 15): Medicinal Drugs
Part Six (Chapters 16 and 17): Prevention and Treatment
As you will see, chapters about particular drugs have been grouped not in terms of their pharmacological or chemical characteristics but, rather, in terms of how readily accessible they are to the general public and today’s societal attitudes toward their use. The last section of the book concerns itself with prevention and treatment. In addition, several special features throughout the book will enhance your experience as a reader and serve as learning aids.