cover image Cocaine


Roger D. Weiss. Ballantine Books, $15 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-345-35135-7

The authors, both psychiatry professors at Harvard Medical School, have first-hand knowledge of cocaine abuse from their work at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center at McClean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. In this valuable guidebook, they study cocaine abuse, examining the drug's history, the scope of the current epidemic, its effects on the mind and body, and the psychological, social and behavioral factors contributing to cocaine dependence. Many case histories illustrate their data, including a lengthy account by ""Ellen'': ``When I did a lot of freebasing, I would think there were bugs crawling on me and I would scratch until I had terrible infections up and down my right arm and leg.'' Weiss and Mirin also cover use in the workplace, the effects on families of users and treatment methods, concluding with answers to such frequently asked questions as ``Is it possible to overdose on cocaine?'' A ``self-test'' and a nationwide list of cocaine abuse facilities are featured in the appendix. (January)