The American Disease (3rd ed.)

Origins of Narcotic Control


The American Disease is a classic study of the development of drug laws in the United States. Supporting the theory that Americans' attitudes toward drugs have followed a cyclic pattern of tolerance and restraint, author David F. Musto examines the relationz between public outcry and the creation of prohibitive drug laws from the end of the Civil War up to the present.Originally published in 1973, and then in an expanded edition in 1987, this third edition contains a new chapter and preface that both address the renewed debate on policy and drug legislation from the end of the Reagan administration to the current Clinton administration. Here, Musto thoroughly investigates how our nation has dealt with such issues as the controversies over prevention programs and mandatory minimum sentencing, the catastrophe of the crack epidemic, the fear of a heroin revival, and the continued debate over the legalization of marijuana.
  • Oxford University Press; April 1999
  • ISBN: 9780198028925
  • Edition: 3
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: The American Disease
  • Author: David F. Musto
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press

In The Press

"Musto makes a persuasive case for thoughtful deliberation when framing a policy against the use and abuse of drugs. He is a national asset."--the late Fred W. Friendly, former Director of Seminars on Media and Society, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
"Mandatory reading....An important work of historical clarification....Musto tells a rich and significant story, enlivened by the foibles, myopia and hysteria of several generations of Americans, including this one."--The New York Times Book Review
"The best single text around on the evolution of our narcotics laws and the political and social climate that shaped them."--The Washington Post Book World

About The Author

David F. Musto, M.D., a well-known authority on drug abuse, is Professor of Child Psychiatry and the History of Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine.