Sunday, December 4, 2011

Book Review: No Speed Limit: The Highs and Lows of Meth

No Speed Limit: The Highs and Lows of Meth takes a somewhat controversial stance on what is currently known as America's #1 drug epidemic--methamphetamine.   While it doesn't glorify or promote meth use (far from it), the author goes to great lengths to debunk some commonly held myths that are generally accepted as fact by laywomen like you and me.  The result is a captivating, frightening and emotional story whose ending has yet to be written. 

The book opens with the author doing something both brave and stupid:  indulging in meth—a drug he’d long since given up after a not-so-successful run several decades ago.  The result is the startling realization that today’s meth is far more potent and “scary” than that of the ‘70s and ‘80s. 

From there, we’re taken through a high-speed history of meth, from the discovery of ephedrine in the 19th century to the meth labs of today.  Perhaps the most disturbing factoid is that meth and other amphetamines are THE most widely-prescribed class of drugs in the history of American pharmacology.  As stated on page 92, “By 1958, the legal production of amphetamine pills had reached an astonishing 3.5 billion, enough to supply every person in America with twenty standard doses."  Yikes.  We also see the role meth played in World War II, fueling brutality on all sides in Hitler’s army, the Japanese kamikaze missions and the American effort. 

This book covers a lot of ground, debunking meth myths while introducing us to the human toll of meth use in America.  While its format is somewhat chaotic, each section offers enough information to satisfy the reader’s curiosity while leaving something to the imagination. 

RATING:  **** of *****

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