Drugs in American Society
An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law [3 volumes]
by Nancy E. Marion and Willard M. Oliver, Editors
December 2014, 1163pp, 7x10
3 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-595-4
$309, £238, 269€, A424
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-596-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

An estimated 24 million Americans use some kind of illicit drug.

Containing more than 450 entries, this easy-to-read encyclopedia provides concise information about the history of and recent trends in drug use and drug abuse in the United States—a societal problem with an estimated cost of $559 billion a year.

Despite decades of effort and billions of dollars spent to combat the problem, illicit drug use in the United States is still rampant and shows no sign of abating. Covering illegal drugs ranging from marijuana and LSD to cocaine and crystal meth, this authoritative reference work examines patterns of drug use in American history, as well as drug control and interdiction efforts from the nineteenth century to the present.

This encyclopedia provides a multidisciplinary perspective on the various aspects of the American drug problem, including the drugs themselves, the actions taken in attempts to curb or stop the drug trade, the efforts at intervention and treatment of those individuals affected by drug use, and the cultural and economic effects of drug use in the United States. More than 450 entries descriptively analyze and summarize key terms, trends, concepts, and people that are vital to the study of drugs and drug abuse, providing readers of all ages and backgrounds with invaluable information on domestic and international drug trafficking and use. The set provides special coverage of shifting societal and legislative perspectives on marijuana, as evidenced by Colorado and Washington legalizing marijuana with the 2012 elections.


  • Contains more than 450 detailed entries on topics ranging from drugs themselves—such as alcohol, codeine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamines—to key individuals like Harry Anslinger to organizations such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  • Covers the latest developments in U.S. policies and public attitudes toward drugs and drug use
  • Provides citations with each entry to guide users to other valuable research resources
  • Features carefully selected primary documents—including excerpts from important laws, policies, and campaigns—that have shaped American drug policy over the decades
Nancy E. Marion, PhD, is a professor of political science at the University of Akron, Akron, OH. She has many published works that encompass the interplay between politics and criminal justice, such as ABC-CLIO's Killing The President: Assassinations, Attempts, and Rumored Attempts on U.S. Commanders-in-Chief and most recently The Medical Marijuana Maze: Policy and Politics. Marion holds a doctorate in political science from the State University of New York-Binghamton.

Willard M. Oliver, PhD, is a professor of criminal justice at Sam Houston State University, College of Criminal Justice, Houston, TX. He has taught criminal justice for 20 years and is the author and coauthor of numerous books on policing, criminal justice, and policy, including the coauthored book Killing The President: Assassinations, Attempts, and Rumored Attempts on U.S. Commanders-in-Chief. His areas of research include policing, criminal justice policy, and the history of crime and criminal justice. He holds a master's degree and doctorate in political science from West Virginia University.


"This set offers a useful, accessible overview of a topic that is often in the news. Suitable for most high school and public libraries."—Booklist, March 24, 2015

"This three-volume encyclopedia offers an unparalleled, wide-angle perspective on that output with 468 alphabetically arranged, signed entries in short-essay format. . . . Recommended. Undergraduates; general readers."—Choice, June 1, 2015

"This is an excellent complementary reference work to those on the shelves about temperance movements, the medical consequences of substance abuse, or the encyclopedias of specific drugs. The many access points and the context it brings to students is valuable."—Reference Reviews, December 4, 2015
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