This book trounces the idea that addiction is a biologically determined disease that requires 12 step treatment. Even herion addicts say that cigarrettes are the most addictive substance -- and most people quit smoking on their own.
Most people who use cocaine (and other drugs) do not use it regularly, those who use it regularly do not become addicted and those who become addicted recover on their own. Sound outrageous? Citing several thorough sociological studies, this statement becomes more and more believable as you read this book.
I used to think that behavioral compulsions, like addictions to sex and food, were different from substance abuse. Surely shooting heroin involves a chemical dependency, whereas overeating or spending all your money on porn and peep shows is a sign of psychological escape, right? Some say that all such behaviors are biological, but that sounded preposterous to me. This book drove home the idea that ALL addiction, be it abusing credit cards or smoking crack cocaine, is a symptom of a life out of control, not the cause. The book clearly illustrates how people become addicted when their lives lack meaning and hope, during painful transitions, and when they don't have the life skills or coping skills to ride out the rough edges of life.
Why is smoking crack considered more addictive than sniffing powder? People who smoke crack are generally people who live in the desperation of the inner cities, so they have less *motivation* to overcome their addiction, not a stronger drug.
Any serious student of sociology or psychology should read this book.