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This Is Your Country on Drugs
The Secret History of Getting High in America
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Admitting that "so much has been written on drug use and American culture that it would take weeks to roll all of that paper up and smoke it," journalist Grim plunges into the counterculture, the literature, the research, the opposition, the pharmaceutical interests, the media coverage, the kids and users, the heroes and the hypocrites to chart the evolution of drug use in America, covering every illegal high, taking on well-entrenched myths and turning up fascinating stories on current trends-beginning with the end of LSD. Backed by plenty of startling facts (i.e., 1984's drug-related criminal population was 30,000; by 1991 it was more than 150,000), Grim fashions a sharp critique of anti-drug programs ("exposure to [anti-drug] ads led to higher rates of first-time drug use among certain groups, such as fourteen-to-sixteen year olds and whites") and other policy decisions (President Clinton's approval of NAFTA led to an unprecedented influx of drugs across the Mexican border). Grim isn't all talk, however: he barely survives on-site research during drug riots in Bolivia, goes through a typically fraught trip on ayahuasca, and scouts the battlefields of the fight to legalize cannabis ("In San Francisco, pot clubs quickly outnumbered McDonald's franchises"). This lively, personable history should strike fans of Martin Torgoff's Can't Find My Way Home as a worthy follow-up. (July) ( Publishers Weekly , July 27, 2009) "One of the theses of This Is Your Country on Drugs -- a cornucopia of unconventional wisdom about our relationship to mind-altering substances -- is that the popularity of drugs waxes and wanes according to a complex sum of factors." ( salon.com , July 20, 2009) "Mark Kleiman calls it "Atonishingly clear-headed and well-written, as if someone had taken David Courtwright and added just a splash of Hunter Thompson." (Mark Klieman, T PMCafe ) "A wide-ranging, fascinating romp through the history of America's insatiable appetite for all manner of drugs, from opium to crystal meth, all the way up to the possibly soon-to-be-illegal hallucinogen Salvia divinorum." (The Philadelphia City Paper )
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Ryan Grim is the Huffington Post 's senior congressional correspondent and has written for Slate , Rolling Stone , Harper's , and the Washington Post .
1. The Acid Casualty. 2. A Pharmacopoeia Utopia. 3. Prohibition, Inc. 4. America's Little Helper. 5. New Coke. 6. D.A.R.E. to Be Different. 7. Border Justice. 8. Kids Today. 9. YouTrip. 10. Blowback. 11. Confl icts of Interest. 12. Puff, Puff, Live. 13. Cat and Mouse. 14. Acid Redux. Acknowledgments. Notes. Index.