Sources: Drugs in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law

Drugs in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law. Edited by Nancy E. Marion and Willard M. Oliver. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2015. 3 vols. Acid free $294 (ISBN: 978-1-61069-595-4). Ebook available (978-1-61069-596-1), call for pricing.

Drugs in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law fills a hole in reference resources that examine the breadth of drugs’ impact on American Society. There are other works that address the topic directly, such as Drugs in American Society by Erich Goode, currently in its 8th edition (McGraw-Hill, 2012), but that work does not match the scope of this new encyclopedic set.

Drugs in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law contains a table of contents, a guide to related topics, and a chronological list of significant events in drug and alcohol use through history ranging from 5000 BCE to 2013. There are 468 articles in three volumes, with limited illustrations and pictures. Also included is an appendix containing primary documents related to drug use in America, and an index. The articles are arranged alphabetically, and are encyclopedic in nature. Article length varies slightly, most articles are approximately 1–2 pages long. All articles include related topics and suggestions for further reading. The audience for this work is anyone with an interest in learning about any aspect of drug use, be it manufacture and composition, physical effects on the body, laws and court decisions, public figures affected by drugs or alcohol, or trends in drug use.

The scope of Drugs in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law is to describe aspects of drugs, drug use, and drug abuse that have affected American society. It accomplishes this task well, covering a wide array of topics under that umbrella. It is thorough, but not exhaustive, so supplemental works should be considered in collection development. The guide to related topics at the beginning of each volume is very convenient. There is an extensive appendix containing primary documents related to drug use in America. The articles featuring celebrities humanize the struggles American society has had with drug abuse. That being said, the inclusion of celebrities appears to be a mechanism for expanding the audience. Those included seem chosen because they died as a direct result of drug or alcohol abuse, and arbitrarily chosen, as it does not include an exhaustive list of celebrities who died from overdoses or alcoholism. No mention is made of celebrities who have publicly battled addiction who appear to be winning the fight.

I would recommend purchasing Drugs in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law for lower-level undergraduates.—Abigail Creitz, Technical Services Librarian, Vincennes University, Vincennes, Indiana

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