Drugs in American Society, by Erich Goode

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Drug in the American Society is a book written by Eric Goode. This book, as the title indicates, is about drugs in the American Society. It is especially about the misuse of most drugs, licit or illicit, such us alcohol, marijuana and more. The author wrote this book to give an explanation of the use of different drugs. He wrote a first edition and decided to write this second edition due to critic and also as he mentioned in the preface “there are several reason for these changes. First, the reality of the drug scene has changed substantially in the past dozen or so years. Second much more information has been accumulated about drug use. And third, I’m not the same person I was in 1972.”(vii). The main idea of this book is to inform readers about drugs and their reality. In the book, Goode argued that the effect of a drug is dependent on the societal context in which it is taken. Thus, in one society a particular drug may be a depressant, and in another it may be a stimulant.

The first two chapters of the book are about the drugs in general. The chapters explained how drugs have been used in the early history of the peoples for clients welfare, religious rites, but also to produce intoxication and euphoria.

The third, fourth and fifth chapters chapter are talking about two differents drugs. One that is considering licit: alcohol and the other one illicit: marijuana. According to the book, alcohol is identified as a drug of the same sense that LSD, heroin and cocaine: they are all psychoactive. It is a recreational drug and is addicting. The chapter explain that alcohol existed throughout human existence and how it was made by fermentation in early history. The chapter also talk about the effects of alcohol on the body such us dehydratation, gastric irritation but it also affect the ability of the brain to process and utilize information.
Marijuana is the most illegal used drug in America. In the chapter about marijuana, the author talked about the users of marijuana and the different factors that contribute to the use of marijuana such us age, sex or family influences. The effects are marijuana is frivolous, hedonistic nature. People use it most of the time for a recreational activity. In chapter five, readers can explore marijuana controversy. It is said that the most important issues surrounding marijuana are controversial and unresolved (p.

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143). The chapter explains are people having different views on the use of marijuana and its effects even if studies demonstrated how it affects body and brain.
Chapter six seven and eight are explaining the different qualification of drugs. They can be hallucinogens, stimulants, sedatives or tranquilizers. Hallucinogenic drugs can cause intense sensory changes, causes hallucinations and loss more or less marked sense of reality.
The LSD or other hallucinogens experience or is extremely dangerous. The text explains how users may experience a state of confusion such us seeing the world as extremely fluid. But it is said that LSD doesn’t have any effects on human chromosomes. The use of hallucinogens have declined between 1960s and the middle of 1970s, but it is still use on an extremely episodic and infrequent basis.
By stimulating the central nervous system, stimulant sharpens the senses, rather than blunt. They wake up the body instead of sleep. In practice, however, there is much in common between the two classes of drugs. Most stimulants are legal drugs. They are, in fact, the most commonly used drugs in the world, if one takes into account the caffeine and nicotine. More than alcohol, these substances are so common in the past they were simply not considered drugs.
Cocaine use causes an immediate euphoria, a sense of physical and intellectual omnipotence and indifference to pain and fatigue. These effects then give way to a state of depression and anxiety that some soothe by taking heroin or psychoactive drugs but in low doses take episodically, the drug is quiet safe. According to surveys, the use of cocaine has increased in recent years. . Nicotine is used most frequently in the United States. Although, studies have shown that the number of smokers have declined in recent years, one- third of a million Americans die each year from tobacco-related diseases

Critical analysis
After reading this book, It seems that the author try to reach a general audience. He tried to explain what is drug and the different effect of it in the society. He didn’t use too many scientific term which make the book easy to read and understand . it is of course of book written for people with a certain education and it will fit best with College students even if it is appropriate to anyone who wish to learn more about drugs and its efffects.
In addition to this , the book is very well organized. The part that I like the most is the fact that it is first well divided in chapters in which the author describe clearly the main topic of the chapter by giving for example the etymologie to help readers understand the process of the drug and then explain the use and the effects.
Also, at the end of each chapters, a summary is given where the different points that were analyzed are summarized. Moreover, as I divided the descriptive overview of the book I think he choose the topic of the different chapters with a good flow and continuity. At first it was an overview and explanation of drug in general and its utilization. Chapter three, four and five are about two specific licit and illicit drugs and since marijuana is the most illicite drug that is used in the USA , he tried to go more deeper in the effects of this drugs in the fith chapter.
Chapter six, seven and eight are about the qualification of the different drugs. They can be hallucinogens, stimulants, sedatives or tranquilizers. The last two chapters are the two that made me a little bit dissapointed because I think he should have talk about all the drugs in the same row and then talk about the drug problem itself at the end of after the qualification. But chapter nine is talking back about two drugs that are also illicit and licit, heroin and narcotics , and we jump in chapter ten which is talking about drug problems, solutions and dilemmas. I think that this last part was misorganized and he could have just put in in another order.
Furthermore, the book are clear research findings and statistics which is really Good because it gave us real information about the problem that is been analyzed. For example , there is a table for race and marijuana use coming from “fishburne et al. ,1980:45-47” where we can see the age and the race of the users of this drug. There are more table that shows the users of drugs , but throughout the book we can see percentage of people who smoke, “ in 1976,29 percent had smoke daily in the past month instead” (p.195). I also like the fact that I gave the percentage of alcohol present in different beverage such us “beer with 5 percent of alcohol,wine 12 to 14 percent (p.58)”.
The book is really full worked cited which is good because it is a book that is taling about drugs and drug use and with know statistic , no observation, no reseach findings, it can be taken as false information. statistics used to analyze the data and draw conslusions and in this kind of book, it is very necessary. The author didn’t make any big conclusion about the book, each chapter has its own summary. Each summary help readers to review what they are already read.
This book is a really interesting book. I really enjoyed the lecture. I learned many thing I didn’t know even if it is an old book, the information are real and very helpful.

Works Cited

drugs in American society 2nd edition

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