Scott E. Lukas
Reading Level: Teenagers
Steroids describes these natural and artificial chemical hormones, their functions in the human
body, and their use in the treatment of certain diseases. It also makes it clear that these
substances can have negative, even toxic effects. The author details societal response and
urges stricter penalties for sellers, intensive educational programs for students and teachers,
and a vigorous campaign of random drug testing in high schools. While this title contains much
excellent information for reports, the writing style is deadly dull. Scientific and statistical
presentations go on and on. Case histories of users, which should be interesting, fail to create
empathy due to flat, emotionless prose. John Langone's Tough Choices (Little, 1995) has a concise
section on the subject. Heroin reviews the history of this highly addictive opiate. Woods describes
its chemical composition, its preparation, and manner of use. She delinates societal effects that
include the takeover of manufacture and distribution by organized crime, gang warfare, the destruction
of neighborhoods, and soaring health costs to care for addicts. This title is a good update to Fred
Zachon and William E. McAulyfe's Heroin (Chelsea, 1991). Both books have ``Questions for Discussion''
sections following each chapter and adequate black-and-white charts and photographs.