Honey Williams and budd colby gave us the original idea for this book when they complained that they could not find anything good on the subject to give teen-agers to read.
Jeff Steingarten helped us in the early stages of our work, as did Woody Wickham and Norman Zinberg.
We are much indebted to Dr. Michael Aldrich and the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library in San Francisco for assistance in finding illustrations for the text. Jeremy Bigwood also provided illustrations, as well as good suggestions and needed infusions of energy. Special thanks go to Zig Schmitt for his company, support, and help in finding published source materials.
Leif Zerkin, editor of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, came up with recommendations for additional reading and some good cartoons. Ken and Maria Robbins provided photographs, food, and information. Dody Fugate of the University of Arizona gave us outstanding photographic service.
Friends who helped us complete the manuscript include Richard Carey, Howard Kotler, Dr. David Smith, Sara Davidson, Helen Shewman, Dr. Tod Mikuriya, Jake Myers, Ethan Nadelmann, Jonathan Meader, Sue Fleishman, Tim Plowman, and Stanley and Jenine Moss.
We thank Dr. Richard Evans Schultes and the staff of the Harvard Botanical Museum for their help with illustrations and Anita McClellan, Karen Frankian, and Signe Warner for their part in tying together the many pieces of this work.
Many drugs mentioned in this book have three names: a chemical name that describes the molecule, a generic or common name, and a brand name owned by a company that markets the drug. For example, Valium is the brand name of a tranquilizer whose generic name is diazepam. The chemical name of this same drug is 7-chloro-l,3-dihydrt)-l-methyl-5-phenyl-2H-l,4-benzodi-azepin-2-one.
Because chemical names are long and cumbersome and useful only to chemists, we do not give them. We have tried to stick to generic names, which are printed in lowercase letters and followed, when relevant, by the most common brand names, enclosed in parentheses and capitalized. Thus: diazepam (Valium).
If the brand name is much better known than the generic name, as in the case of Valium, we will use it to refer to the drug after the first reference. Many "street" drugs, such as cocaine, LSD, and marijuana, do not have brand names.
We have selected comments about mind-active drugs and accounts of experiences with them from users and nonusers of all ages. Short excerpts from many of these selections appear in the margins of the text. For fuller transcripts, see the appendix, beginning on page 185.
The ftrst edition of this book appeared in 1983, before the federal government had declared an all-out war on drugs. Crack cocaine was as yet unknown, and public hysteria about illegal drugs was less intense than it is today. We thought our book took a reasonable, middle-of-the-road approach to the drug problem; we expected it to be controversial, but never imagined that some people would be so threatened by it that they would try to ban it from schools and libraries.
The present atmosphere is even more charged, making calm discussion still less common. Since this book first appeared, supplies of drugs, especially cocaine, have increased; criminal violence associated with drugs and drug prohibition has intensified and spread; and although more people than ever are in trouble with drugs, there are fewer facilities to treat them.
Nothing that has happened has caused us to change the views we expressed in 1983. We have made additions to the book (about crack and AIDS, for example) and have rewritten sections to bring it up to date, but we stand by its basic message: that education based on truthful information is the only solution to the drug problem. Intelligent action based on good information can turn the situation around. We believe that as the failure of present policy becomes harder and harder to deny, people will recognize the need for a real change of thinking and strategy. We hope the reappearance of this book will help catalyze that change.
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