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Books, Journals, New Media
February 6, 2002

Drugs: Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2002;287(5):645-646. doi:10.1001/jama.287.5.645

According to Courtwright, writing drug history "is like peering through a microscope with a low-powered lens. The observer can see a good deal of the specimen, but only by sacrificing detail." This makes for interesting reading.

The book's first section describes emergence of the world's drug market and competition between the principal psychoactive compounds, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, tobacco, opiates, cannabis, coca, and cocaine. The United States has become the melting pot for drugs of abuse. Coming from widely different regions, virtually all drugs of abuse have followed disposable income and are widely available.