Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide to Their History, Chemistry, Use and Abuse

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Plume, 2004 - Medical - 456 pages
5 Reviews
Does Ecstasy cause brain damage? Why is crack more addictive than cocaine? What questions regarding drugs are legal to ask in a job interview? When does marijuana possession carry a greater prison sentence than murder?

Illegal Drugs is the first comprehensive reference to offer timely, pertinent information on every drug currently prohibited by law in the United States.  It includes their histories, chemical properties and effects, medical uses and recreational abuses, and associated health problems, as well as addiction and treatment information.

Additional survey chapters discuss general and historical information on illegal drug use, the effect of drugs on the brain, the war on drugs, drugs in the workplace, the economy and culture of illegal drugs, and information on thirty-three psychoactive drugs that are legal in the United States, from caffeine, alcohol and tobacco to betel nuts and kava kava.

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Illegal Drugs by Paul Gahlinger was most likely written to inform people about illegal drugs and their purpose in society as a whole. Society uses illegal drugs for pleasure but also for medical uses. Obviously no drugs are tolerated, but if it is for medical reasons it's understandable but if it's just for leisurely pleasure there is no doubt that there should be repercussions. The author's goal is to educate people about illegal drugs, and I think he did a great job increasing my knowledge about this topic. Actually, when I first began the book I expected it to be boring and a waste of time learning about illegal drugs, but it was actually interesting learning about all the drugs and the effects that they have on humans and their health as a whole. A suggestion that I have is to maybe include some people's real life struggles involving drugs and how they either powered back and became changed and sober, working, or if they are the same still using drugs on a daily basis. Personally, I think that would be something interesting to add on to the book, but other than that it was a great book and I would recommend lots of schools to start adding this book to their curriculum in chemistry mostly but any science classes.  

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The book Illegal Drugs by Paul Gahlinger, who is a medical professor at the University of Utah, is about the basics of all types of illegal drugs. Gahlinger did a great job teaching readers about the kinds, affects, and history of illegal drugs. He also does a great job go educating people about what to do in a overdose. Throughout the chapters of this book, Gahlinger focuses on many different types of drugs, levels of addictiveness, and different ways to take them. In each chapter, he clearly indicates whether the drug is a hallucinogen, a stimulant, a depressant, or an opiate and opioid. It will also say how it is taken. He also gives a fun and interesting background on the drug. During the chapter, Gahlinger also clearly states how addictive the drug is, chemical characteristics, and how it was discovered.
Gahlinger also does a solid job explaining what happens after the drug is taken. He says what part of the body the drug attacks. He does a great job of explaining what part of the brain is affected and how the high is caused and how it affects the user physically and mentally. He also explains the mental and physical signs of overdose, how long it lasts, and what to do if one occurs. This is very helpful in case of an emergency. Finally, Gahlinger discusses the mental and physical long-term affects of taking the drug.
In the book, Gahlinger also brings up the background of the drug. He starts by saying where the drug comes from. This is by far the most interesting part of the chapter and it is typically either found on a plant or made in a lab. He then continues to describe how it became popular and what it is used for. This is also very interesting cause you learn about drugs you have never heard of. Most of these drugs were made for religious or medical purposes. A great example is Peyote and how it is used I. The Native American Church. Finally, he states where/if the drug is legal, and what the local government is doing to stop the distribution of it.
In conclusion, I think Galhinger does a great job educating about drugs. Although the book can be a tad boring at times I think it is a great teaching tool nonetheless.

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About the author (2004)

 Dr. Paul Gahlinger has been involved in drug research since 1984 and is a professor of medicine at the University of Utah.  He is a certified substance abuse medical review officer, an FAA aviation medical examiner, and a consultant for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center, and a passionate spokesperson on drug issues.

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