Since the Stone Age, drugs have been sniffed to induce sleep, mixed to cure ills, swallowed to stimulate creativity, snorted to increase sexuality, popped for the hell of it and smoked to see God. Natural or synthesized, they have been smuggled for all kinds of reasons, from saving the world to becoming stinking rich. Blamed for deaths, wars, suicides, collapses of governments, multiple crashes, individual crises, anarchy and chaos, they have also been praised for opening minds and expanding consciousness. They've been worshipped and demonised, venerated and chastised, force-fed and forbidden. Every society has had its intoxicant, be it sacrament or scourge. They have also become irreversibly interwoven with politics, sex, business, religion, and rock-and-roll, providing writers, whether emerging from the ancient classical world or the street laboratory of today, with both inspiration and challenge.