cover image Intoxication


Ronald K. Siegel. Dutton Books, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-525-24764-7

The pursuit of intoxification through drugs, according to UCLA psychopharmacologist Siegel, is the ``fourth drive,'' as deep-rooted as our instinctual cravings for food, drink and sex. Therefore, he argues, the war on drugs is doomed to failure; ``the answer is to make drugs perfectly safe and unabusable'' via clinical and pharmacological research. To arrive at this highly debatable conclusion, Siegel leads readers through obnoxious animal experiments, in some of which hallucinogens are fed to monkeys, alcohol to elephants and hemp seeds to pigeons. His extrapolations from wild animals' consumption of psychoactive plants to people's addictions to drugs are often facile. Although chapters on alcohol, opium, cocaine, cannabis, etc. pack a welter of details, this volume seems suspect in both its theorizing and its interpretation of experiments. Author tour. (June)