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Substance Abuse in America: A Documentary and Reference Guide (Documentary and Reference Guides) 1st Edition
by James A. Swartz. Edition Date:: 08/06/2012
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For more than a century, the U.S. government has taken an active role in attempting to control the production, sale, and consumption of drugs that are considered dangerous. This stance has been almost uniformly punitive, with punishment and imprisonment being the chief remediations proposed. A public-health stance, though adopted in many other First World countries, has continued to be eschewed in the U.S. Based on primary source documents, from popular magazine and newspaper articles to constitutional amendments, this intriguing collection presents documents from four time periods during the so-called war on drugs: the early twentieth century, 1930 to 1950, 1960 to the mid-1990s, and the mid-1990s to 2011. The documents are presented either in their entirety or in substantial excerpt. They are preceded by a brief explanation of their significance and followed by a longer analysis, examining in greater detail the social and historical context in which the document was written. Every attempt is made to ensure this work provides both a document history and a record of the circumstances of society and history at work during the era. The documents, given the wide range of sources, are more or less engaging, depending upon provenance. The analysis sections are uniformly clear and readable, pointing out the impact of the source under consideration and its place in the larger framework of the (largely ineffective) war on drugs. Each analysis section is followed by a list of print works for further reading as well as a list of web resources. Sidebars and black-and-white illustrations extend the text nicely, and a lengthy bibliography and an index complete the volume. Read cover-to-cover, this presents a panoramic view of America’s response to drugs and drug addiction. Given the heavily narrative presentation, it is best suited to academic and larger public collections. --Ann Welton

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