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Background Information: Background Briefings

This page provides links to "Background briefings" on drug and alcohol issues written by Professor David Clark of Wired and published (by CJWellings) in Drink & Drugs News.

In context

Takes the definition of a psychoactive drug right back through history, and reveals how politics, economics & the media play their part in shaping attitudes.

The history of the opiates, from use in Summarian and Assyrian civilisations through to the present day.

Tracing the history of cocaine, linking the Incas, Freud, Thomas Edison, Sherlock Holmes and Coca Cola.

British youth culture and the role of drugs and alcohol among adolescents during the 1990s.

Exploring the regulation and control of drugs by looking at philosopher Douglas Husak's views on the justice of US drug laws.

Describing factors that have influenced the development of laws regulating recreational drug use, in particular influential happenings in America.

Effects of Drug & Alcohol Use

Reflections on the harms and risk factors related to drugs, alcohol and solvents.

In addition to its biochemical actions, a drug’s effects are dependent on personality, expectancies & emotional state, and the physical & social setting.

Looks at the choices that influence a relationship with drugs and alcohol –and how these choices change as dependency takes hold.

How drugs of misuse influence chemical and electrical events in the brain, and how these changes may relate to effects on behaviour.

Factors that can influence indirectly the way that psychoactive drugs impact on the brain and influence behaviour.

Describes craving and urges for drugs and alcohol, and briefly outlines some of the underlying theories.

The experience of taking amphetamine, including the subjective pleasurable experiences of initial use and the effects of long-term use.

Exploring the dynamic world of heavy cocaine use as revealed in a provocative, high-quality study by Dan Waldorf and colleagues.

The experiences of heroin users who have their lives seriously affected by their drug use, focusing on heroin withdrawal.

Research and guidance on the causes and prevention of heroin overdose.

Dependence and Change

How the processes of operant and classical conditioning, as well as positive and negative reinforcement, are involved in problematic substance use and addiction.

The relevance of social learning and coping models to our understanding of substance use and misuse.

This model is central to the philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and the 12-step Minnesota Model.

Acute and chronic disorders and how they are managed in today's medical world.

A description of a major influential model in the field, the Transtheoretical Model of Change.

Articles on the process of recovery and ways of assisting it.

A look at an imaginary, but all too real, heroin-using career.


Series of briefings on what treatment would look like if it were based on the current research evidence.

Reflections on a variety of aspects related to treatment of substance use problems.


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