The Alchemy of Culture: Intoxicants in SocietyBMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7171.1532b (Published 28 November 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1532
- Colin Drummond, senior lecturer in psychiatry of addictive behaviour
- St George's Hospital Medical School, London
British Museum Press, £9.99, pp 160
A recent resurgence in the debate over legalisation of illicit drugs, notably cannabis, has tended to generate more heat than light. At one extreme, protagonists argue in favour of libertarian values and eschew the interference of the “nanny state.” At the other extreme, a prohibitionist lobby espouses the evils of intoxication and the virtues of abstinence from psychoactive substances.
The reasons for a resurgence in this debate are doubtless many and complex. Not least is the apparent powerlessness of governments, law enforcement agencies, customs, and the caring professions to stem the rising …