Drugs and the World

Axel Klein

Drugs and the World

The use and misuse of psychoactive substances is one of the most widely discussed and yet least understood social processes; it is easy to condemn the use of illicit drugs, as well as alcohol and tobacco, as problems that require the services of professionals and the retribution of the state to redress. In the process, Axel Klein argues, sight has been lost of the positive contributions that drugs have played in society and culture and the key role they play in ritual, religion, and possible human evolution. The purpose of "Drugs and the World" is to restore the constructive aspect of drug use to the discussion, and review the policies and interventions that make up the contemporary web of drug controls. The author reviews the classification of substances to define 'drugs', and examines the link with crime and addiction. He then sketches arguments made about the role of drugs first in human evolution, and then in history to underscore the importance of drugs in the development of trade and states. The author also examines how drugs are now defined as a development obstacles, and how a global system has been developed to support countries in suppressing drugs.Drawing on professional experience from around the world, the book then illustrates how these efforts have had little impact on drug use, but have eroded institutions of the state, corrupted law enforcement and courts, and undermined democratic process. Providing new material from the Caribbean, West Africa and the Caucasus to illustrate the bizarre consequences of an internationally devised drug control programme, the book then moves into discussing the contribution of drugs to contemporary society, and ways of regulating their use and distribution. 3.5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
Drugs and the World

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Health & Medical, Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format Paperback
Pages 224
RRP £15.95
Date of Publication September 2008
ISBN 978-1861893819
Publisher Reaktion
 

The use and misuse of psychoactive substances is one of the most widely discussed and yet least understood social processes; it is easy to condemn the use of illicit drugs, as well as alcohol and tobacco, as problems that require the services of professionals and the retribution of the state to redress. In the process, Axel Klein argues, sight has been lost of the positive contributions that drugs have played in society and culture and the key role they play in ritual, religion, and possible human evolution. The purpose of "Drugs and the World" is to restore the constructive aspect of drug use to the discussion, and review the policies and interventions that make up the contemporary web of drug controls. The author reviews the classification of substances to define 'drugs', and examines the link with crime and addiction. He then sketches arguments made about the role of drugs first in human evolution, and then in history to underscore the importance of drugs in the development of trade and states. The author also examines how drugs are now defined as a development obstacles, and how a global system has been developed to support countries in suppressing drugs.Drawing on professional experience from around the world, the book then illustrates how these efforts have had little impact on drug use, but have eroded institutions of the state, corrupted law enforcement and courts, and undermined democratic process. Providing new material from the Caribbean, West Africa and the Caucasus to illustrate the bizarre consequences of an internationally devised drug control programme, the book then moves into discussing the contribution of drugs to contemporary society, and ways of regulating their use and distribution.

Reviews

The Guardian

Steven Poole

[A] forensic denunciation of contemporary drug prohibition as counterproductive and based on historically contingent assumptions. Rehearsing the history of drug scares in Europe, [Klein] explains the Byzantine contemporary international structures of the drug-control bodies, and the irrational separation between alcohol and nicotine on the one hand, and the rest of the pharmacopeia on the other.

07/02/2009

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