Alcohol The World's Favorite Drug

Griffith Edwards

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

240 Pages


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Alcohol is everywhere. Walk down any street in the Western world and before long your feet will kick against an empty beer can, or your attention will be captured by an alluring advertisement that suggests that alcohol can magically transform your life. Its use is integral to many aspects of popular culture, but it is also a substance that has at times been preached against and even prohibited.

In this book, Griffith Edwards uses both history and chemistry to explore the whole issue of alcohol. Is it a medicine, a delightful potion, a poison, or a mysterious combination of all three? What part has alcohol played in various cultures and religions? Why do different people behave differently when drunk? What cures for habitual inebriation were popular in the past? Why is alcoholism considered a disease? What is "safe drinking"? Is alcohol good for the heart? Do current treatments work? Does Alcoholics Anonymous have the answer?

Armed with the best solid information science, history, and sociology have to offer, Edwards asks how, in the light of this knowledge, society might in the future better handle this pleasure-giving, somewhat dangerous drug. Can society get its pleasure out of alcohol without the inevitable suffering that accompanies misuse? If so, what steps should we take to protect ourselves and others?


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Griffith Edwards is one of the world's leading experts on alcohol. Born in India, he received his MD from Oxford University. For 40 years Edwards has made a specialty of being both fair-minded and catholic in his study of alcoholism. He has made the Addiction Research Unit - more recently the National Addiction Center - at the Maudsley Hospital in London, the finest international center for postgraduate education in addiction in the world. He is editor-in-chief of the scientific journal, Addiction. For many years he has been a frequent visitor to the US and was a consultant to the White House
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  • Griffith Edwards

  • Griffith Edwards was born in India. After receiving his M.D. from Oxford University, his work has centered on the study and treatment of addiction to alcohol and other drugs. He set up the UK National Addiction Center in London and was its first Chairman. A former consultant to the White House on the prevention of drug abuse, he is also the editor in chief of the journal Addiction. His contributions to the study of both addiction and treatment have earned him many major international scientific honors, including the Nathan B. Eddy and Jellinek awards.