Link to review: http://hubpages.com/literature/Less-Than-Zero-A-Look-into-the-Depths-of-Depravity
Ellis first wrote the novel during college, origninally as one of his assignments, and according to a 1991 Rolling Stone article, he was 'on a crystal meth binge'.
The novel it'self is about a group of teenagers living in LA during the mid eighties, with cocaine problems.The main character, Clay, is known to constantly consume cocaine, the review describes Clays addiction as him "snorting coke almost constantly to the point where his nose is bleeding frequently". Another character, Julian, is a heroin dealer/addict. The reviewer comments on how the novel was a 'cold, harsh look at the Gen Xers lead in L.A at the time.' He goes on to discuss how the book is a curse to the world that Ellis grew up in, and says that he feels his generation isn't much different from that described in the novel. These concepts may not necessarily be regarding the drug issues in the 80s in particular, but they definitely relate.
During the 80's there was a waging war on drugs. Cocaine in particular, but many other street drugs were everywhere at the time. It went from being a drug which only stereotypical drug-users abused and teens and young people dabbled with, into becoming something which was then used by investment bankers, almost glamourising it to and extent that it would be no surprise or shock that people in big office/bank jobs were frequently using.
I believe this book shows a very real representation of the American Crack epidemic of the 80s. The epidemic was a surge of cocaine use across major cities in the USA during 1984 and the early 1990's. Crack cocaine reportedly began to be used, on a large scale, in L.A during 1984.
Scholars believe the epidemic was an example of a moral panic in the country, which I believe is very relevant in the novel.