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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Drugs: Dilemmas and Choices

By a Working Party of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of Physicians

Price: £9.50

College members' price: £8.55

Published: Mar 2000

Format: paperback

Number of pages: 304

ISBN: 9781901242447

The 'drug problem' is getting steadily worse. Convictions for drug offences, number of known addicts and Customs seizures have been rising inexorably for 40 years. So has the number of young people using illegal drugs.
Similar changes are occuring in other countries and the vast international drug trade defies all attempts to suppress it. Yet, remarkably, there is almost no public discussion of current control policies.
This book, written by a multi-disciplinary group of experts, aims to stimulate an informed debate about the possible alternatives to these unsuccessful policies. It describes the historical reason why alcohol and tobacco are legal while heroin and amphetamine are not. It discusses the reasons why people use drugs, the consequences of their doing so and the benefits and limitation of treatment. The authors investigate the lessons to be learnt from previous attempts to curb drug and alcohol use, how the 1.4 billion pounds that the UK Government currently devotes to drug control might be better spent in future, and what would be likely to happen if cannabis, or even heroin, were to be 'legalised'.
There are no easy answers. Read this book and draw your own conclusions.


Chapter 1. The main drugs
Chapter 2. Drugs and society – the historical background
Chapter 3. The rise of drug use in the UK
Chapter 4. The complex causes of drug use
Chapter 5. Consequences of drug use – for the individual and society
Chapter 6. The international drugs trade
Chapter 7. Policies for prevention and control
Chapter 8. Treatment of drug misuse
Chapter 9. Lessons from history
Chapter 10. The key issues
Appendix I. Working Party Membership
Appendix II. Expert witnesses who gave evidence to the Working Party
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