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High

Drugs, Desire & a Nation of Users
Narrated by: Sally Martin
Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Whether drinking Red Bull, relieving chronic pain with oxycodone, or experimenting with Ecstasy, Americans participate in a culture of self-medication, using psychoactive substances to enhance or manage moods. A "drug-free America" seems to be a fantasyland that most people don't want to inhabit. 

High: Drugs, Desire, and a Nation of Users asks fundamental questions about US drug policies and social norms. Why do we endorse the use of some drugs and criminalize others? Why do we accept the necessity of a doctor-prescribed opiate but not the same thing bought off the street? This divided approach shapes public policy, the justice system, research, social services, and health care. And despite the decades-old war on drugs and drug use remains relatively unchanged.

Ingrid Walker speaks to the silencing effects of both criminalization and medicalization, incorporating first-person narratives to show a wide variety of user experiences with drugs. By challenging current thinking about drugs and users, Walker calls for a next wave of drug policy reform in the United States, beginning with recognizing the full spectrum of drug use practices.

The book is published by University of Washington Press. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.

"A fresh approach to drug policy discussions." (Nancy Campbell, author of Discovering Addiction: The Science and Politics of Substance Abuse Research)

"Walker urges us to move beyond the failures of drug policy rooted in prohibition." (Rebecca Tiger, author of Judging Addicts: Drug Courts and Coercion in the Justice System)

"A thoughtful analysis of the ways we and our institutions perceive and interact with people who use drugs." (Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership)

©2017 University of Washington Press (P)2019 Redwood Audiobooks

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Challenging and informative

I liked this audio book because of how thorough Ingrid Walker delved into the subject. Also, as a lifelong anti-drug, non-abuser, I found Sally Martin making me question the wisdom of continuing the war on drugs with a continued inefficient and ineffective approach. I also liked the way Sally Martin narrated this audiobook.

I am very grateful that I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request; I have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

An open-minded look at the drug problem

This is a practical, open-minded look at drugs, users, prescribers and the war on drugs. I found it to be very good, agreeing repeatedly with what I was hearing. She brings up many points I don't hear discussed, especially at the same time by the same people. One of the things she points out I don't think everyone considers is that different people have different ideas of what a drug addict is. When you think "drug addict" what do you picture? With the author having first hand knowledge of most of these drugs, we don't just hear one side. It took me a while to get all the way through this book because it's very dry and was like listening to a lecture. I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.



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Something everybody should be listening to!

High (Drugs, Desire & a Nation of Users) by Ingrid Walker and narrated by Sally Martin is something everyone should be listening to. It’s an intriguing book that grabs your attention, yet is a subject the majority of people ignore or fail to realize how it affects us. 4 ½ stars for the content, 4 stars for narration.

A small list of things examined: controlled drug use vs. addiction, why do we say it’s socially acceptable/OK for some drugs/highs but condemn others (caffeine, liquor, running, ecstasy, cannabis, etc.), first hand accounts of illegal and legal drug use (VOX narratives), how the medicalization of prescription drugs complicates matters, criminalization, history of drug laws (Harrison Tax Act 1914, Nixon, Reagan years), advertising (prescriptions, anti-drug commercials), did you know of the 250 million drug users world wide less than 10% are addicts?, questions such as if you have several glasses of wine daily or a couple beers daily are you an addict?, media representation of drug users, the crack baby myth, prescriptions (in our culture, the trust we place in them and the prescribers), pop-culture/TV shows/movies (Mr. Robot, Breaking Bad, Weeds, & more), prison/probation/drug courts (the amount of time served by drug offenders increased by 153% between 1988-2012), how do we research/learn when we’re in a climate of criminalization?, The Silk Road, times change and our society changes with it (opium, cannabis, and cocaine were used legally about 100 years ago), the word addiction varies across institutions and is ever-changing, how do we register the point at which drug use becomes dangerous/problematic?, addiction medications create their own problems, stats such as over 97% of Americans who use an addictive drug other than alcohol do not become addicted to it, did you know methadone is more addictive than heroin?, is the human need for intoxicated pleasure a fourth biological drive?, we hear about addiction but not causal use, and more.

Overall it’s a thought-provoking listen, but I found a couple things lacking (the reality is there’s a lot to cover- I could easily listen to an additional ten hours on this subject if the author opts to expand). I would like to have a couple of the subjects be more in depth as they only scratched the surface along with more first hand accounts infused throughout the book (first hand accounts of professionals & regular folks would go a long way for those who are in the mindset “all drugs are bad”). Regarding the intro, there is a decent amount of facts mixed with what is to come in the book- if you are well-versed in this subject, you may wish to skip ahead. Important subjects that weren’t discussed that I’d like to see added: Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) and the DEA attempting to ban the tree (supplement) yet there is a pharmaceutical company trying to patent the alkaloids in it, the Portugal drug study, Florida’s billion dollar treatment industry, and Church of Safe Injection.

The narrator, Sally Martin, did a good job overall. There were a couple words pronounced differently, but I believe it’s a regional thing. I would listen to another book narrated by her.

I would recommend everyone listen to this book as the subject affects us all, whether or not we choose to recognize or acknowledge it. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking book or a book that will inspire you to initiate change, this is the one.

*I was given a free review copy of the audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. Thank you for allowing me to listen and review the book!

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Profile Image for Alan Masson
  • Alan Masson
  • 09-24-19

Deep, far reaching and enlightening

A refreshing and objective view of Drugs, and how we perceive them, Historically, socially, politically.
It is surprising how much these different lenses skew our sense of what constitutes a'Drug'and the moral values we put apon their use.
Though I have read quite extensively on drugs, both legal and illegal, I found this book opened my eyes to the the blinkers we often tend to wear when considering the issue, and found it to be a deep, far reaching and enlightening study of the subject. I also found Sally Martin's very modulated and clear narration a good fit for a non fiction book of this sort which can be quite in depth, and could otherwise have made the the prose and ideas harder to grasp.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.