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Key Concepts in Drugs and Society


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Table of Contents

PART ONE: TYPES OF DRUGS AND PATTERNS OF USE What Is a Drug/Medicine? Prevalence and Trends in Illicit Drug Use Why Do People Take Drugs? Addiction Legal Drugs: Alcohol and Tobacco Polydrug Use/Polysubstance Use Common Illicit Drugs Typologies of Drug Use: Use-Misuse-Abuse and Problematic-Recreational Use Binge-Drinking Raves and Circuit Parties Dance Drugs/Club Drugs Cross-cultural and Traditional Drug Use Gender, Ethnicity and Social Class Normalisation PART TWO: DRUG EFFECTS Drug Effects: Drug, Set and Setting Medical Marijuana and Other Therapeutic Uses of Illicit Drugs Prescribed and Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drugs Novel Psychoactive Substances The Gateway Hypothesis/Stepping Stone Theory Drug-related Violence Drugs and Crime Drug Risks and Health Harms Injecting Drug Use HIV/AIDS and Other Blood-borne Viruses PART THREE: DRUG POLICY, TREATMENT AND PERCEPTIONS OF THE DRUG PROBLEM Drug Treatment and Quasi-compulsory Treatment (QCT) Harm Reduction Substitute Prescribing The New Recovery Approach Prevention: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary International Drug Control History/Prohibition Drugs in Sport Drug Scares and Moral Panics Drug Dealers Drug Markets: Difference and Diversity Drug Trafficking Crop Eradication, Crop Substitution and Legal Cultivation War on Drugs Drug Testing in Schools and Workplaces Drug Courts Decriminalisation, Legalisation and Legal Regulation Liberalisation

About the Author

Professor Ross Coomber is teaches Criminology at Griffith University, Australia. Professor Karen McElrath is a Professor of Criminal Justice at Fayetteville State University.


This is a great resource that does what it promises and reflects the huge expertise of the authors. It will be welcomed by students, researchers and indeed anyone wanting critical but comprehensive coverage of key issues and trends concerning drugs and society - locally and globally, historically and today. -- Nigel South
This highly accessible book provides informative, balanced and contextualized insights into the relationships between people and drugs. Whatever your background and however knowledgeable you feel you are about contemporary drug issues, I guarantee that you will learn something unexpected and new from this valuable text. -- Joanne Neale
This broad and thorough text provides the reader with great insight into the reality of substance use in society. It eagerly challenges the readers' assumptions and beliefs about drug use and drug users with sound international evidence. All of us who work in areas relating to drug use, whether that be pertaining to education, legislation, criminal justice or clinical practice would do well to read this book and remember the historical and socio-political context in which we work. A pleasurable and page turning read! -- Anna Nelson

The authors' presentation of this vast amount of material is lucid, up-to-date and very student-friendly. Coomber and his colleagues have done well: this is an excellent text which should prove useful to third-level teachers and their students for years to come.

-- Shane Butler

While its structure lends itself to dipping in and providing a veneer of understanding and insight into some of the thorny issues which surround drugs, it is also very readable, and the links between various headings are clearly flagged... it provides a great deal of information and clarity, and provides an excellent basis for common understanding and meaningful debate. We could all benefit from more of that.

-- David MacKintosh
Scholars, students or even a lay audiences, will find this useful for grounding themselves in a broad understanding of the roles that drugs play in human society... a welcome addition to the tool box: it helps restore a learning style that has been largely displaced by an MTV-style of learning that blasts factoids in a pastiche of information with no apparent rhyme, reason or theoretical foundation to support it. Key Concepts covers a prodigious amount of intellectual terrain in a relatively small amount of space, making it a book that people might both buy and carry around. It could very well become the "Key Words" of the drug field. -- Ric Curtis

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