In this blog post Anyone’s Child Activist and South West Ambassador for the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform John Hirst reviews ‘Say Why to Drugs’ by Dr Suzi Gage. 

Dr Suzi Gage is a psychologist and epidemiologist at the University of Liverpool and has long been recognised as a leading voice in drug science helped, in part, by her enormously successful ‘Say Why to Drugs’ podcast. The podcast is widely available and is a fascinating and informative journey through the world of drug use and effects on their users. Dr Gage never advocates the use of any drugs but neither does she judge those who choose to. She provides only the facts which allow others to make a more informed decision about whether or not to use a particular substance.

Following the success of her podcast, Dr Gage has written a new book also entitled ‘Say Why to Drugs’ in which she gives the reader an excellent and in-depth analysis of both her own research and other studies in the field of drug science. Each chapter takes a different substance and breaks through the noise and dogma surrounding them, focussing instead on their production, the short and long term risks for users as well as debunking the common urban myths. You begin the book excited to learn about all the strange and wild illicit drugs of the world and soon find that you actually know far less about good old legal nicotine and caffeine than you thought! The book, like the podcast, remains factual and free of judgement, allowing the reader to better understand how and why drugs are used as well as the risks and harm reduction measures for a wide range of substances.

Whether you have used none or many of the drugs in the book, are looking for clear information before you experiment or are concerned as a parent about your children coming across drugs, this book is enormously accessible and engaging and a thoroughly enjoyable read. An absolute must-have for any drug-policy activist’s bookshelf!