Drugs and the World by Axel Klein
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. Sight has been lost of the contributions that drugs have played in society and culture and the key role they play in ritual, religion and possibly human evolution. "Drugs and the World" restores the constructive aspect of drug use to the discussion, and reviews the policies and interventions that make up the contemporary web of drug controls. Axel Klein traces the classification of substances to define 'drugs', and examines the links with both crime and addiction. He investigates the arguments made concerning the role of drugs, first in human evolution and then in history, to underscore their importance in the development of trade and nation states. Drawing on research from around the world, this book illustrates how global efforts to suppress drugs have had little impact on drug use, but have instead eroded institutions of the state, corrupted law enforcement and courts, and undermined the 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, Drugs and the World moves to discussing the contribution of drugs to contemporary society, and ways of regulating their use and distribution. Written by an expert author with more than fifteen years experience in the field of drug use, addiction prevention and drug policy, this book will appeal to a wide audience of readers wishing to know more about the use of illicit drugs in the world today.