Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Canadian Scholars’ Press
220 pages
9 x 6 inches
October 2014
Print ISBN: 9781551306346
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Just Say Know is an essential resource for counsellors, educators, therapists, social workers, policy-makers, and professionals interested in acquiring a practical understanding of psychoactive drug pharmacology and physiology. In addition to evaluating traditional street narcotics, the most commonly abused drug families — depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and psychotherapeutics — are presented in an accessible format that unpacks risk and therapeutic applications. Csiernik demystifies the abuse of prescription compounds, as well as drugs that are new to North American communities. Pedagogical features include quizzes, case studies, figures, and a comprehensive list of addiction resource centres, making this book a perfect addition to any addictions-related program or course. Light on jargon and heavy on evidence, this manual supplies the blueprints that every service provider needs to dispense sound, evidence-based care.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Pharmacological Principles
1.1 Understanding Addiction
1.2 Psychoactive Drug Groups
1.3 The Central Nervous System
1.4 Pharmacokinetics
1.5 Pharmacodynamics: Tolerance and Withdrawal
1.6 Sleeping and Dreaming

Chapter 2: Depressants
2.1 Sedative-Hypnotics
2.2 Antihistamines
2.3 Inhalants, Solvents, and Anaesthetic Gases
2.4 Alcohol
2.5 Opioids

Chapter 3: Stimulants
3.1 Cocaine
3.2 Amphetamine and Methamphetamine
3.3 Anorexiants
3.4 Decongestants
3.5 Khat (Qat)
3.6 Methylendioxypyrovalerone (Bath Salts)
3.7 Betel
3.8 Nicotine
3.9 Caffeine

Chapter 4: Hallucinogens
4.1 Hallucinogens
4.2 Indolealkylamine: LSD-Like Hallucinogens
4.3 Phenylethylamines: Mescaline-Like Hallucinogens
4.4 Dissociative Anaesthetics — Arylcycloalkylamines
4.5 Cannabis

Chapter 5: Psychotherapeutic Agents
5.1 Antidepressants
5.2 Antipsychotics
5.3 Mood Stabilizers

Appendix A: Quiz Answers
Appendix B: Canadian Addiction Resources

Rick Csiernik

Rick Csiernik is a Professor at King’s College, University of Western Ontario. He has authored and edited several Canadian Scholars textbooks: Wellness and Work (2005); Responding to the Oppression of Addiction (co-edited with William S. Rowe, 2017, third edition); Substance Use and Abuse (2016, second edition); and Homelessness, Housing, and Mental Health (co-edited with Cheryl Forchuk and Elsabeth Jensen, 2011). He has written more than 95 journal articles, and some of his research interests include addiction, workplace wellness, social work, and spirituality. He has consecutively been included on the King’s University College Honour Roll of Teaching, and is a recipient of the Instructor Appreciation Award at McMaster University.

Substance Use and Abuse, The Drug Paradox, Homelessness, Housing, and Mental Health, Just Say Know, Responding to the Oppression of Addiction, 2nd Edition, Substance Use and Abuse, Second Edition, Wellness and Work, Workplace Wellness, Responding to the Oppression of Addiction, Third Edition


"Just Say Know is a must-read for anyone working in the field of addiction counselling. This comprehensive one-stop reference manual can be applied to almost any level; test questions and case studies make this book a valuable means of self-evaluation. Whether a student or a seasoned counsellor, I highly recommend adding this book to your tool kit."
—  Tom Gabriel, EFAP Consultant, Crisis and Addiction Counsellor for the Toronto Police Association and Vice President of the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF)

"Finally, a Canadian text reflecting the unique world of individuals with chemical dependencies! Presented in an organized fashion, Csiernik has provided current information, best practices, quizzes, learning activities, and case studies that will allow opportunities for readers to interpret, practice, and evaluate new knowledge. Just Say Know is an ideal text for new and experienced practitioners alike."
—  Heidi Stanley, Program Coordinator, Addictions: Treatment and Prevention Program, Georgian College

Student Resources

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