A grim—and not especially successful—look at the effects of cocaine on the human body and mind, coupled with an urgent antidrug message. While use of other drugs is leveling off, cocaine has never been more popular; the authors claim that five million Americans use it regularly. They also state that it is one of the most addictive of drugs, a severe danger even to experimental users, and particularly to pregnant women. In clear, simple terms, they describe both its physical and behaviorial effects and the mechanism of addiction, sensibly suggesting that more jails and tougher laws fail to deter in the absence of a basic change in social attitude. They urge users and their friends to seek help, providing a list of addresses and hotlines. But, though the authors address teen-agers directly, they show them little respect (they say young people "tend to ignore the future consequences of any risky or dangerous activity") and frequently repeat facts or ideas; the case studies here are apparently fictional. Altogether, then, Washton's book makes important points, but several others do the job more convincingly.
Read full book review >