Cocaine Addiction: Theory, Research, and Treatment

Cocaine Addiction: Theory, Research, and Treatment

Cocaine Addiction: Theory, Research, and Treatment

Cocaine Addiction: Theory, Research, and Treatment


It inspired written testimonials from William McKinley, Thomas Edison, and Sarah Bernhardt; merited a medal from Pope Leo XIII; produced "exhilaration and lasting euphoria" in Sigmund Freud. Once the stimulant of choice of the enlightened and the elite, cocaine has become, a century later, a plague, ravaging the lives of millions. This book is the first to draw together all the facts about this pervasive drug - from its natural occurrence in a tea-like native South American plant to its devastating appearance as crack in the inner cities of the United States. Drawing on the latest work in medicine, psychiatry, neuroscience, pharmacology, epidemiology, social work, and sociology, the volume is a highly accessible reference on the history and use of cocaine, its physical and psychological effects, and the etiology and epidemiology of cocaine addiction. It also provides a critical evaluation of the pharmaceutical agents and psychosocial interventions that have been used to treat this addiction. Author Jerome J. Platt answers such basic questions as: What is cocaine? What forms does it come in? How is it administered? What does it do? What are the medical complications of cocaine addiction? What are the treatments, and how successful are they? Uniquely comprehensive, Cocaine Addiction makes all the latest information on this urgent subject readily available to medical professionals and practitioners, social workers and scholars, and anyone who cares to know more about this perennially troubling drug.


The problem of cocaine abuse and addiction is not a new one. Cocaine has been a public health problem since its introduction into the United States in the late nineteenth century. Initial failure to recognize the risks of cocaine use has resulted in periodic epidemics, interspersed with public forgetfulness concerning the risks of cocaine use, followed by a new love affair with the drug. Such has been the pattern of use in this country over the last century.

As yet, there is no "magic bullet" available for the treatment of this disorder, despite research on the problem over the last twenty years. Both laboratory and clinical scientists have been working intensively on the problem in this country and elsewhere, and have developed a large body of knowledge concerning the etiology, epidemiology, pharmacology, medical aspects, and psychology of cocaine abuse. This body of knowledge will likely contribute to the eventual development of effective treatments for cocaine abuse.

The primary purpose of this volume is to provide an overview of the present state of knowledge concerning cocaine abuse and addiction and its treatment. A second purpose is to provide some insight into the history of the problem, as well as an understanding of how cocaine achieves its effects and why these effects are so powerful. A third purpose is to provide a review of the strategies which have been employed in attempts to address the problem, and their current status. Finally, based on the material available, I have drawn conclusions and made some recommendations concerning what I believe are the implications for future research and policy making of the knowledge which is discussed.

This volume is certainly not meant to be, nor can it be, the final word . . .

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