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Saying Yes

In Defense of Drug Use


Jacob Sullum (View Bio)
Hardcover: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2003; Paperback: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2004.

Saying Yes

"Sullum is no poet, but his writing is beautifully lucid and relentlessly logical. Though it's more polemic than reportage, SAYING YES belongs on the shelf next to Mike Gray's DRUG CRAZY and Dan Baum's SMOKE AND MIRRORS." — High Times

"Sullum debunks druggie stereotypes. (Turns out most have jobs.) He empirically proves that our drug laws are hypocritical. (Hey, booze is just as bad, and it's legal.) He busts myths about drug-induced craziness. (Who you calling crazy, crazy?) And he says a lot of things most people born after 1950 already know or at least strongly suspect.... Sullum uses solid data, simple logic, and clever anecdotes to skewer the topsy-turvy logic of America's contradictory drug laws." — Memphis Flyer

"Should be read by anyone looking for common sense on the subject." — Sheldon Richaman, Future of Freedom Foundation

"Opponents of the 'war on drugs' have long focused on the distinction between drug use and drug abuse; that distinction is at the heart of Sullum's provocative and impeccably reasoned new title.... Never preachy, his volume presents its heavily annotated arguments and clear, conversational tone that's refreshing for a book of this kind." — Publishers Weekly

"Jacob Sullum has produced a thoughtful, sane, and logical analysis of our drug laws. Is that even legal?" — Dave Barry, syndicated columnist

"Jacob Sullum dismantles the anti-drug messages — the comic figure of the slothful pothead, the spectre of the acid flashback. Sullum believes that the 'silent majority' of illegal drug users indulge only moderately while still leading successful, productive lives. Once this group begins to speak up, he hopes, the myths of the drug wars 'will be impossible to sustain.'" — The New Yorker

"By examining the mythologized links between sloth, lust, madness, gluttony, and wrath and their purported chemical precursors (historically including tobacco and alcohol), [Sullum] reveals the intellectual poverty of the right's central conceit and retrieves the moral high ground ceded by uneasy legalization proponents.... He has impeccable credentials....[and] notes that his own 'modest but instructive' use of illicit intoxicants formed 'the seed of my conviction that it's reasonable to expect drug users to exercise self-control.'... At a time when most 'writing on drugs' consists of youthful preening memoirs, the coolheaded Sullum has produced a genuinely dangerous book." — Cannabis News

"A sense of balance and perspective informs [SAYING YES].... There is scant evidence, let alone proof, that drug use will make any one individual dangerous or lead a life of addiction and debasement.... Only those with an agenda will find fault with this compelling and judicious argument to allow for the temperate use of drugs by adults." — Kirkus Reviews

"A critique of anti-drug propaganda and a plea for reason.... Deft, judicious, and thorough, Sullum's book is a healthy dose of sober talk in a debate dominated by yelping dopes." — Mother Jones

"[Sullum] methodically dismantles conventional antidrug rhetoric.... This thoughtful and engaging analysis is sure to spark discussion." — Library Journal

"Jacob Sullum is a brave man.... A highly effective debunking.... Proponents of legalization will, naturally, say yes to this book, but their opponents should read it too. Sullum's arguments deserve a response from those who disagree with him. As he points out, the costs of the war on drugs far exceed the billions of dollars of direct expenditure. They also include 'violence, official corruption, disrespect for the law, diversion of law-enforcement resources, years wasted in prison by drug offenders who are not predatory criminals, thefts that would not occur if drugs were more affordable, erosion of privacy rights and other civil liberties, and deaths from tainted drugs, unexpectedly high doses, and unsanitary injection practices.' Under these circumstances, it's up to the drug warriors to come up with a convincing explanation as to why we are fighting their drug war. Judging by this well-written, persuasive, and important book, they are unlikely to succeed." — National Review

"A senior editor for Reason Magazine, a publication devoted to intelligent discussions over how to best allocate power between the government and the individual, Sullum had penned a number of fairly unorthodox essays about drugs.... SAYING YES is the fruit of Sullum's thinking about drugs and drug policy.... Refreshing and insightful.... [It] dismantles much of the exaggeration concerning illegal drugs, leading the reader to conclude that this or that illegal drug isn't nearly as harmful as the government has led us to believe.... This is a book about drugs that is grounded in reality.... Filled with valuable insights.... For dissipating much of the hype surrounding the dangers commonly associated with illegal drugs, SAYING YES is the best book since Andrew Weil's THE NATURAL MIND. It is hard to imagine an open-minded person reading Sullum's book and coming away from it without a much more informed undertanding of why so many intelligent people choose to use illegal drugs." — Richard Glen Boire, Director and chief legal counsel, Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics, Counterpunch.com

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