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Intoxication: The Universal Drive for Mind-Altering Substances [Paperback]

Our Price $ 16.96  
Retail Value $ 19.95  
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Item Number 390149  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   372
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 8, 2005
Publisher   Park Street Press
ISBN  1594770697  
EAN  9781594770692  

Availability  8 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 24, 2016 07:38.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Item Description...
A scientific and cultural exploration of the pursuit of altered states of consciousness in both humans and animals
- Contains myriad studies and examples from the author's 20 years of research
- By the foremost authority on the social and psychological effects of drug use
History shows that people have always used intoxicants. In every age, in every part of the world, people have pursued intoxication with plants, alcohol, and other mind-altering substances. In fact, this behavior has so much force and persistence that it functions much like our drives for food, sleep, and sex. This "fourth drive," says psychopharmacologist Ronald K. Siegel, is a natural part of our biology, creating the irrepressible demand for intoxicating substances.
In "Intoxication" Siegel draws upon his 20 years of groundbreaking research to provide countless examples of the intoxication urge in humans, animals, and even insects. The detailed observations of his so-called "psychonauts"--study participants trained to explicitly describe their drug experiences--as well as numerous studies with animals have helped him to identify the behavior patterns induced by different intoxicants. Presenting his conclusions on the biological as well as cultural reasons for the pursuit of intoxication and showing that personality and guidance often define the outcome of a drug experience, Siegel offers a broad understanding of the intoxication phenomenon as well as recommendations for curbing the negative aspects of drug use in Western culture by designing safe intoxicants.

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More About Ronald K. Siegel

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ronald K. Siegel, Ph.D., is a psychopharmacologist on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine and is a leading authority on the social and psychological effects of drug use. The author of Fire in the Brain and Whispers The Voices of Paranoia, his research has also appeared in Psychology Today, Scientific American, and Omni as well as the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Journal of Psychiatry. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Copious research and insightful material  Jan 22, 2007
Siegel progresses through the families of drugs one by one, showing how the effects of plants, herbs, and chemicals are all similar even between different species - yet all of them find an urge to partake in some of them. A multitude of personal and third-party research adorns the book to back up his assertations. This book is an excellent reminder that drug policy must take into account that many animals (humans included) are hard-wired to seek highs of one sort or another, and that simply banning a substance will not solve the "problem."
Quite essential reading, really  May 25, 2006
Ronald K. Siegel, Ph.D, a psychopharmacologist at the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA School of Medicine, has written a truly mind-boggling (quite literally) book about what he believes to be the fourth strongest drive in the human animal: that of intoxication. What? The struggle for intoxication is a drive, just like hunger, thirst, and sex? You bet, and Siegel has the research to prove it. Which probably make no difference to people that still connect "drugs" with strung-out heroin junkies who do just as much damage to themselves as to their friends and family.

Well, such stubborn people need to do some serious rethinking. Because what good is science unless it questions and investigates? But to make Spiegel even more controversial; he also experiments on animals when investigating why animals (and remember, the human being is an animal, too) choose to become intoxicated by various means. And also when they choose not to. These experiments clearly show how all animals use narcotics. So in other words, man is not alone in this struggle for a changed state of mind.

So what does this all mean? Well, it shows that the so-called War on Drugs is as futile as it is pointless, since there will always be and always has been people who choose to subject their bodies and minds to different drugs that the state or ruling class has decided should be illegal, and it also shows that it's indeed possible use narcotics and still be a very functioning member of society. Not all drug users end up as pathetic heroin junkies. The politics of drugs are extremely complicated, but arguing strictly from emotional points of views while refusing to accept new and mind-blowing ideas is, to put it simple, quite stupid.

Of course Siegel doesn't imply that everyone should do as much drugs as possible all the time whenever they feel like it. But what he does indeed do is giving all those millions of users of legal drugs - prescribed medication, coffee, cigarettes, and so on - something to think about, and he also clearly shows how all those Just Say No and other anti-drugs campaigns do more harm than good. After all, it's a human drive to become intoxicated, so why should some campaign manage to erase this drive? It's not going to happen, and people need to understand that.

Our culture encourages and even romanticizes the use of alcohol and cigarettes - two of the most deadly drugs man has ever come up with - and large corporations make billions of dollars from prescription drugs that are often a whole lot more harmful than the strongest your local dealer can provide you with. This is hypocrisy to such an extent that it's almost impossible to even comprehend, and Spiegel and his team of researchers therefore deserve all the credit they can get for trying to enlighten people they way they do. But just like any other type of fundamentalism, the anti-drug people will probably ignore Mr. Spiegel and all his knowledge, and this will in the long run do more harm to the human race than all the drugs in the world could ever do.

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