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February 3, 1984

Chocolate to Morphine: Understanding Mind-Active Drugs

Author Affiliations

Kansas University Medical Center Kansas City


by Andrew Weil and Winifred Rosen, 228 pp, with illus, $16.95, paper, $8.95, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co, 1983.

JAMA. 1984;251(5):660. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340290070028

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This book is dedicated to supplying young people with accurate information about psychoactive drugs so that they can either avoid the drugs or form "good relationships" with them. The authors think it is deplorable that adults lie to children about drugs, and set out to present the straight scoop.

They fail spectacularly. By the third paragraph of chapter 1, four errors of fact have been committed: (1) "Wars [on drugs] have been consistently lost." Wrong. The Japanese's war against amphetamines was a great success; so was the Iranian's against alcohol. (2) "More people are taking drugs now than ever before." Unproven and unprovable. Americans drank almost twice as much alcohol 150 years ago as they do today. Patent medicine wagons swarmed over the land in our grandfather's time, and Sears, Roebuck and Co catalogs devoted pages to cures for morphinism and alcoholism. (3) "More people abuse drugs now than ever