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Book Forum: Substance Abuse/Addictions   |    
Drug Abuse: Origins and Interventions
MICHELLE KIM LEFF, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2002;159:890-890. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.159.5.890
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Baltimore, Md.

Edited by Meyer D. Glantz and Christine R. Hartel. Washington, D.C., American Psychological Association, 1999, 489 pp., $49.95.

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This book provides an excellent overview of the current scientific knowledge and societal influences underlying our working models of etiology, issues, and treatment of drug abuse. In their preface, the editors describe the progress of this work:

In 1996, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) co-sponsored a special conference on drug abuse held in conjunction with the APA annual convention in Toronto, Canada. Leaders in their fields were invited to present not only their latest research, but also some new and forward-looking observations as well as theoretical speculations about their fields. That meeting served as a springboard for this volume. (p. xxiii)

The book is divided into two sections, Origins and Interventions; however, the boundary is blurred in many of the chapters. Most of the chapters provide discussions of both etiology and intervention. The volume provides not only a general overview of the field but also some views on specialized areas in drug abuse, such as drug abuse in ethnic minority women (by Kathy Sanders-Phillips), HIV prevention (by Thomas J. Coates and Chris Collins), and therapeutic communities (by George De Leon). Meyer D. Glantz et al. contribute a thorough review on the etiology of drug addiction (chapter 1), George F. Koob et al. contribute a lucid summary of the neurobiology of drug abuse (chapter 8), and David F. Musto’s chapter on the impact of public attitudes on drug abuse research in the 20th century (chapter 3) is a great read—he discusses certain societal beliefs that adversely affected the research (and the researchers) during the early 20th century.

There are two chapters written specifically about theoretical models: Dante Cicchetti’s chapter, "A Developmental Psychopathology Perspective on Drug Abuse," and José Szapocznik and J. Douglas Coatsworth’s chapter "An Ecodevelopmental Framework for Organizing Influences on Drug Abuse: A Developmental Model of Risk and Protection." The latter chapter is well integrated with the other chapters on drug abuse interventions and provides a good framework for the chapters on prevention (one by Zili Sloboda and one by Gilbert J. Botvin).

All in all, I found this book to be informative on many levels—theoretical, ethical, scientific, and clinical. Through the contributions of its many experts in the fields of drug abuse research, this volume clearly describes the current progress in the research community, the current state of drug abuse prevention and treatment, and the challenges that lie ahead of us.

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