Virtually all known human groups have devised and regularly used techniques for altering consciousness, among which alcohol and drugs are prominent. The authors offer a provocative analysis of the philosophical, sociological, and historical background of the attempt to control consciousness-altering drugs in modern industrial societies. In considering the right of individuals to diversify and enrich their experience versus the obligations of government to protect their citizens, they enable readers to step back for a moment and examine alternative ways of looking at what is usually called the drug problem.
'This is a landmark book, destined to be regaled and harangued by many : should be read by a wide group of individuals, including members of the legal, political, medical, and drug abuse fields. Its views will irritate some and please others but, like the question of mind-altering drugs themselves, should give us all much to reflect on.' Journal of the American Medical Association ' ... displays a carefuly paced, dry sense of humor ... The authors' impressive reach is ... matched by the firmness of their grasp ... a courageous, a sobering, and an immensely provocative book ... should be read, reread, and discussed by all those who are still motivated ... to improve the human condition.' Journal of Social and Biological Structures ' ... presents the dilemmas, paradoxes, and inequities associated with the imposition of controls on drug use within the context of a society founded on the principle of individual freedom ... valuable reading for scholars; scientists; and students of psychology, law, medicine and religion.' Contemporary Psychology ' ... thoroughly thought-out, well-written and tightly constructed ... essay, integrated and wide-ranging. The authors have mastered the vast literature on drugs, drug abuse, and the impact of alternative drug control strategies ... a valuable introduction to the literature and issues on drug control for social scientists, philosophers, policy analysts, medical professionals, and up-scale lay readers.' Franklin E. Zimring