If perchance our civilization should become extinct tomorrow or the next day, the dope-sucking cynic might hope that this...


LICIT AND ILLICIT DRUGS: The Consumer Union Report on Narcotics, Stimulants, Depressants, Inhalants, Hallucinogens, and Marijuana -- including Caffeine, Nicotine and Alcohol

If perchance our civilization should become extinct tomorrow or the next day, the dope-sucking cynic might hope that this document, above ali others, will survive. Certainly it would greatly inform the next bunch about the scrambled American head. There is a drug-by-drug review of those psycho-actives in common use, ""especially those frequently used for recreational, nonmedicinal purposes,"" which gives the history, effects, laws, and pharmacological inventory for each. But more than that, Brecher's report is an absolutely cool pill-by-puff expose of the byzantine American attitude toward drugs. It's all here and perhaps you've heard it before, but never so summarily nor sanely -- how we sanction injurious drugs like alcohol and barbiturates but throw our young into rat holes called jails for smoking marijuana or hash, how we enact laws of prohibition which time and time again have proved counterproductive (from the Nobel Experiment to Nixon's Operation Intercept -- call it a counterphobic culture), how we surge from righteous propagandizing and cheapjack moralizing to nervous hypocrisy and mad stupidity when it comes to drugs. Brecher's investigation firmly adheres to and readably digests the published scientific literature, much of which, he demonstrates, is more consistent in its findings than we have been led to believe. For instance, all five major official marijuana studies from the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report in 1894 to the Canadian Le Dain Commission Interim Report in 1970 ""are in substantial agreement on substantially all major points of fact."" Brecher and his associates' recommendations range from expanding methadone maintenance programs, development of a nicotine substitute, and elimination of misclassification of drugs, to ""immediate repeal of all federal laws"" pertaining to marijuana, enactment of state laws regulating the processing and marketing of cannabis, and release of all persons now in prison on marijuana convictions. Liberal in the best sense, rigorously researched, and free from cant, the Consumer Union Report should become a standard referral.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 1972


Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1972