Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise

9780792484059: Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise

The pursuit of drugs is universal and inescapable, irrespective of time or species and in the private lives of popes and presidents, crooks and ordinary citizens alike. The struggle between this natural drive and societal law has become a deadly war that can never be won. But there is an answer, the lessons learned from animals show that we can make peace with the fourth drive, understand that drugs are a kind of medication needed to change how we feel, and use our human privileges of technology and education to design safe intoxicants. This book addresses the ageless question of why we seek drugs. Siegel, a renowned psychopharmacologist, explains his controversial theory of the fourth drive - a drive as powerful as hunger, thirst and sex - the desire for intoxication.

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From School Library Journal:

YA-- In the midst of the wealth of books on the horrors of drug abuse, Siegel's effort provides contrast as it studies why humans, and many animals, seek intoxication in one form or another. The first part of the book discusses plant origins for many intoxications, and the effects on wild, domesticated, and caged animals, with some parallels drawn to human behavior. The second part discusses humanity's desire to expand its range of experience. Here Siegel provides a history of drug use and abuse which is most enlightening and includes alcohol and tobacco as abused and dangerous substances. He proceeds to a discussion of modern designer drugs and their effects, and the reasons for their existence and popularity, using examples throughout as well as reports of horror stories from crime annals. He stresses that crimes committed under the influence of drugs are NOT caused by the drug, and that the predisposition to violence exists within some individuals. His history of drugs as they have affected American politics up through the Reagan administration is most insightful, as are his comments on the futility of the anti-drug crusade as it is now waged. His conclusion states clearly that legalization of drugs is not a viable solution. This book challenges the thinking of high school students and puts the subject in a historical context which allows them to begin adult consideration of an age-old problem. The ideas here are not orthodox, but they are thought-provoking.
- Dorcas Hand, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, TX
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Our pursuit of intoxication is inevitable, irrepressible, and universal, according to Siegel, a research psychopharmacologist from UCLA. He argues that the appetite for drugs, the "fourth drive," is as much a part of human nature as the drive to satisfy hunger, thirst, and sex. His examination of drugs includes coffee, various hallucinogens, tobacco, alcohol, opium, marijuana, and cocaine. Siegel engagingly describes the animals and some human cultures that consume various plants and experience "controlled" intoxication. Modern users have unfortunately forgone natural feeding strategies that limit addiction and abuse. So fundamental is this pursuit that attempts to prohibit intoxicants have repeatedly failed. Siegel's answer (to make drugs safe) is well argued and persuasive. Recommended for wide purchase.
- Laurie Bartolini, Lincoln Lib., Springfield, Ill.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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