Substance use and abuse are two of the most frequent psychological problems clinicians encounter. Mainstream approaches focus on the biological and psychological factors supporting drug abuse. But to fully comprehend the issue, clinicians need to consider the social, historical, and cultural factors responsible for drug-related problems. Substance Use and Abuse: Cultural and Historical Perspectives provides an inclusive explanation of the human desire to take drugs. Using a multidisciplinary framework, authors Russil Durrant and Jo Thakker explore the cultural and historical variables that contribute to drug use. Integrating biological, psychosocial, and cultural-historical perspectives, this innovative and accessible volume addresses the fundamental question of why drug use is such a ubiquitous feature of human society.

The Nature and Scope of Substance Use and Abuse

The nature and scope of substance use and abuse


Most people will use drugs at some time in their lives. Indeed, the consumption of psychoactive substances is a daily ritual for the majority of individuals in Western society. The most frequently consumed drug is caffeine, in the form of coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, and soft drinks, but alcohol and tobacco are also regularly employed. Illicit substances such as cocaine, cannabis, and heroin are far less frequently used, although about half of the American population reports that they have ingested an illegal drug at least once in their lives (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2001). In addition, there is a myriad of psychoactive drugs—benzodiazepines, amphetamines, anxiolytics, ...

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