DRUGS AND DRUG ABUSE: REFERENCE TEXT
Volume 11 Number 3.
The preface to this work suggests that "this handbook... was designed to provide judges, lawyers, and other concerned professionals such as physicians and social workers, with a guide to the many issues and pertinent facts associated with psycho-active drug use and abuse." When Judge A.C. Whealy, writing in the foreword, adds that it will also serve police officers, counsellors, teachers and other professionals who may require dependable information about virtually every drug in use in Canadian society today, the reader can only nod in agreement. The 583 pages of this volume, prepared by four people with excellent credentials, do indeed provide everything there is to know about drugs and drug abuse.
The work, divided into six sections, begins with "Understanding Drug Use," which provides background information necessary to understand drug use, drug abuse, and drug dependence. The second section describes the five major drug classes under history, physical and psychological effects, medical use, abuse, tolerance and dependence. Detailed descriptions of the thirty-seven drugs most commonly used (and abused) in North America are presented in the third section. This is followed by a section that presents, in alphabetical order, information about twenty-six other drugs that are less important in the general context of abuse in Canada today, some of which seem to be on the decline, while others may just be entering upon the scene. The fifth section describes briefly thirty-seven additional drugs that seem to have limited attraction in our society but may appear from time to time. The final section consists of three parts: the first lists trade names of approximately 180 commercially available products, identifying the drug, referring to the three previous sections where the particular drug is described and indicating whether it is marketed in Canada and the United States; this is followed by a glossary of medical/scientific terms.
This work is well written and thorough; its importance in providing, in one source, such extensive information must not be denigrated. One must note, however, that, in a work of this magnitude and importance, the information in all its detail must be readily available to the user. Although the index is extremely detailed, it is too cumbersome because of the many page references for most items; for example, "alcohol" has seventy-three page references plus forty-three subdivisions, some with up to twenty additional page references. Thus one could spend considerable time tracking down particular information. To compensate for what must be a weak index—while recognizing the intent of the authors in classifying drugs in four sections-this work needs to present all the drugs and classes of drugs in one alphabetical sequence. Appropriate references and the amalgamation of some information would be necessary. Such improvement would indeed make this an effective "reference text."
P. J. Hammel, College of Education, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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