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5.0 out of 5 stars

on 20 January 2013
Chris Snowdon deftly explains the history of prohibition, and demonstrates how the unintended consequences of limiting personal freedoms are often much worse than the thing that is being prohibited. The ban on alcohol in the States in the 1920s led to more crime and more alcohol-related fatalities and injuries. The ban on the relatively harmless opium helped to proliferate the use of heroin. The ban on Ecstasy has led to ever more inventive, and perhaps more dangerous, designer drugs.
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on 17 October 2014
A great, interesting and concise history of drug prohibition all in one book! A must-read if interested in drug policy, war on drugs and society.
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on 20 November 2011
Snowdon takes you through the history of modern prohibition in his finely crafted well research book. Snowdon writes in a similar fashion to an angsty Bill Bryson, bringing the story of prohibition to life with characters and a facts.

The story of sabre rattling temperance lobbyists who succeeded and failed to prohibit alcohol. The criminalisation of opiates, and Western prejudices against the ancient Chinese habit. The paradoxical EU ban on snus. Snus is oral tobacco, something which I would recommend to my father who has tried many times to give up smoking. Smoking may kill him. Snus might stop him from killing us. Snus is probably the solution. Politicians who are genuinely interested in harm reduction need to lift the ban.

The unintended consequences of drugs and alcohol policy is something the general public rarely consider. A "Just ban it" attitude, requires less thought than actually considering if a ban will actually work and what other effects might arise.

If ecstasy was still legal, would the West kids experimenting with "meow meow" ? From experience I can tell you that ecstasy is superior in every way. "Equacy" is far more dangerous, and I rather enjoy that too. A cocktail of ecstacy and equacy could easily prove to be lethal, but horses are very empathic aren't they?

Did Iceland's ban on beer and not spirits, turn them into the nation with the highest level of alcoholism per capita?

If snus was legal in the UK, would people switch their method of taking nicotine? Would this prevent ten of thousands deaths per year? After reading Mr Snowdon's book, I am convinced it would. The evidence is there.

An excellent and enjoyable read. A must read for anyone interested in public health policy and harm reduction.
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on 11 November 2011
Snowdon's latest book takes a broad-angle look at one of his favourite themes, government prohibition. Having tackled smoking in "Velvet Glove, Iron Fist" he now looks at the history of drink and drug prohibiton. His writing is, as ever, entertaining, and his historical approach is punctillious. There are plenty of good yarns about the personalities who have fought over pharmaceuticals for the past couple of centuries. In the final chapter he lets rip with his own prescription for a more equable and tolerant approach, although he's lucid enough to realize that decriminalization hasn't a chance. Highly recommended.
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