Substance Abuse
A Reference Handbook, 2nd Edition
by David E. Newton
April 2017, 366pp, 6x9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5477-4
$66, £51, 58€, A91
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5478-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

After nearly a century of politicizing drug use and abuse, much of the current policy in the United States regarding substance abuse is not based on reliable scientific and sociological data.

This go-to resource on substance abuse supplies the broad background knowledge and historical information needed to understand this important sociological issue and provides readers with a range of additional sources for continuing their study of the topic.

From the pharmaceuticals advertised on television for various specific medical conditions; to alcohol, which is consumed regularly as a societal norm; to illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine; to marijuana, which is becoming legal in an increasing number of U.S. states, drugs are all around us and are ingrained in our culture. The difficult reality is that any drug is a substance that can be abused. Substance Abuse: A Reference Handbook provides a detailed discussion of the history of substance abuse, covers the classification of drugs, explains how drugs work in the body, includes a general survey of both legal and illegal drugs, and describes the methods of substance abuse prevention and treatment. Readers receive a comprehensive introduction to the broad topic of substance abuse and a variety of additional resources with which to conduct extensive research.

In addition to describing the nature of licit and illicit drugs, the beneficial and harmful effects drugs can have on the human body, and factors that may lead to abuse and/or substance abuse, this book covers subtopics such as drug testing in a variety of settings including the workplace and sports, drug control mechanisms, and the debates relating to the legalization of drugs such as medical and recreational marijuana. The book also offers primary source resources that enable readers to directly examine the text of documents, such as significant laws and court cases dealing with aspects of substance abuse, alcohol prohibition amendments, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, a series of memoranda from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the prosecution of marijuana cases, and state doctor shopping laws.


  • Offers a broad introduction to the physiological, anatomical, and psychological changes associated with substance use and a variety of perspectives from subject experts with special knowledge of and/or experience with substance abuse problems
  • Provides an easily accessible list of nearly 100 books, articles, reports, and electronic sources with additional information on the topic of substance abuse
  • Addresses sociological aspects of drug use and the current debate over the legalization of certain drugs, such as medical and recreational marijuana
  • Includes a collection of relevant data and documents, an extensive annotated bibliography, a chronology, and a glossary
David E. Newton, EdD, has been a freelance writer of nonfiction books and ancillary materials for young adults for nearly 55 years. He has published more than 400 textbooks, research manuals, trade books, encyclopedias, and encyclopedia articles as well as lab manuals, problems books, and other educational materials. His published work includes ABC-CLIO's Gay and Lesbian Rights: A Resource Handbook; GMO Food: A Reference Handbook; The Global Water Crisis: A Reference Handbook; Social Issues in Science and Technology: An Encyclopedia; Wind Energy: A Reference Handbook; World Energy Crisis: A Reference Handbook; The Ozone Dilemma: A Reference Handbook; Fracking: A Reference Handbook; Environmental Justice: A Reference Handbook; Science and Political Controversy: A Reference Handbook; The Animal Experimentation Debate: A Reference Handbook; and Vaccination Controversies: A Reference Handbook. He has also been an updating and consulting editor on a number of books and reference works, such as The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, Discoveries in Modern Science: Exploration, Invention, and Technology, and Science in Context. Newton was previously a teacher of high school science and mathematics in Grand Rapids, MI, for 13 years; professor of chemistry and physics at Salem State College for 15 years; and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco for 10 years. He holds a doctorate in science education from Harvard University as well as a bachelor's degree in chemistry (with high distinction) and a master's degree in education from the University of Michigan.


"[A]n easy-to-read, comprehensible overview of the history, controversies, laws, and corresponding challenges of substance abuse in the U.S. Educational programs, legal personnel, and organizations and agencies that deal with substance abuse are also discussed. The author provides statistics in the text, and novice researchers will find these summations and the references to government agencies that collect such data among the most valuable features of the resource. Summing Up: Recommended. High school through lower-level undergraduates; general readers."—Choice, October 1, 2017

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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