Drugs: Medical, Psychological and Social Facts

Drugs: Medical, Psychological and Social Facts

Drugs: Medical, Psychological and Social Facts

Drugs: Medical, Psychological and Social Facts

Excerpt

This book is a crude attempt to sum up the major points of our knowledge, and still more our ignorance, about drugs; how to define and control the harm they do to personalities and to society. It is not intended as a handbook on even the small number of drugs that are mentioned, but rather as the beginnings of a rational discussion of drugs in society, and the vehicle for putting forward some new attitudes towards them. If it appears superficial, it must be remembered that although perhaps 10,000 scientific papers have been published on this subject - 1,000 on the hallucinogens alone - in the last fifty years, there is an amazingly small amount of hard information available. Among scientists, as among laymen, this subject stimulates endless streams of subjective, narrative evidence, wild claims and repetitive accounts. My purpose has been to select and assemble some useful nuggets from this vast and amorphous mass. If the reader finishes this book feeling no wiser but rather more confused than before, he is in the same case as the honest professional. Of all the social problems drug abuse is the most intractable and inexplicable. No one in the world has an adequate answer.

It may be relevant to say something about my own attitude towards drugs. Apart from a couple of experiments with benzedrine at school in the mid fifties - during the inhaler craze - and two rather abortive experiences with LSD and marihuana reported here, I have not used drugs and I am not very tempted to. The society of drug users does not seem to me to be particularly interesting - probably my own fault - and life is too busy to afford the time necessary to get to know them. In general, I think, I am one of those people who is impaired by any drug. I do not smoke, and I seldom drink, at least seldom in comparison with my parents' generation.

Broadly speaking, commentators on drugs - both lay and . . .

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