Cover image for The war on drugs : an international encyclopedia
The war on drugs : an international encyclopedia
Chepesiuk, Ron, 1944-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxxiv, 317 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV5804 .C47 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Here is the whole story of the world of drugs--from the infamous Opium Wars to the legal availability of narcotics in the United States during the past century; from the unexpected boost given to illicit drugs by Prohibition to the great success of the French Connection.

Author Notes

Ron Chepesiuk is professor and head of special collections at Dalus Library, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

A prolific researcher, lively writer, and academic librarian, the author has provided an excellent resource on the historical and contemporary battle against illicit drugs. His earlier books on 1960s radicals and the U.S. war against drug trafficking, and his numerous magazine and newspaper articles, have laid a strong foundation for the current book. A 15-page "Historical Overview" provides a valuable entry point into the scope of drugs in history. It is followed by 642 alphabetically arranged entries covering the legal, political, social, economic, and environmental aspects of drugs. The biographical articles range through history and across the globe; examples include entries for William S. Burroughs, Thomas De Quincey, Sigmund Freud, Janis Joplin, Manuel Noriega, various Colombian politicians and drug traffickers, and every U.S. president from Lyndon Baines Johnson on. Entries range in size depending on the relevance of the subject; Medellin Cartel requires several pages, while many other entries are a paragraph long. At the end of each entry are cross-references and recommendations for further reading and Web sites. The work is current through December 1998. Black-and-white photos, many supplied by the Colombian National Police, enhance the text. Following the entries are a chronology beginning in 2737 B.C., selected Web sites, a 21-page bibliography, and an index. The index is not comprehensive; for example, a user cannot locate references to specific cities when they are mentioned in different articles. The coverage in this work is truly "encyclopedic" in the number of countries, time periods, and individuals covered. In a few entries, minor differences in dates arise when compared with other sources. On the whole, however, this is an invaluable resource for students from high school through college, as well as the general public. Readers will find a wealth of information on the staggering human, economic, and social costs of addiction and the near-universal defeat of attempts at control.

Choice Review

The first reference resource exclusively devoted to the war on drugs, this encyclopedia's 642 entries provide extensive, ready information about the economic, political, social, legal, and environmental aspects of the drug trade. Its contents include a readable history of drug trafficking, a selective annual chronology (from the discovery of marijuana in a Chinese pharmacology of 2737 BCE to the 1998 imprisonment of a Colombian drug figure), a list of Web sites, and an extensive bibliography. Entries are mixed in length and importance, and sometimes invite the question why certain entries were included; e.g., the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and Timothy Leary, linking US artistic, popular, and drug culture with the drug war. The entry on the League of Nations might be more usefully divided between the Advisory Committee on Traffic of Opium and Dangerous Drugs and the Permanent Control Opium Board, two drug enforcement agencies of the League. Because the work provides greatest coverage of Colombia, other Latin American countries involved in drug distribution receive less attention, and entries related to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are few. Despite its subtitle, about 25-50 percent of the entries concern the US's war on drugs; for example, there are entries for nearly 60 code-named US drug war operations, such as "Operation Blast Furnace." Nevertheless, this innovative but handy and concise source is highly recommended for personal and public library collections, and should appeal to general readers (who will find the entries interesting and nontechnical) and professionals. ; University of Central Florida