(See: Drugs in American Society,
5th, 6th, 7th and 8th editions, Erich Goode, McGraw-Hill, 1999/2005/2008/2012. Chapter 1)
It seems to be measurable:
- Sickness needing cure
- Harm to the user
- Deleterious effects
on the users life or those who interact with the user
Basic Issue: What is the perspective of those who define the problem?
"Does our definition define abuse on a case by case basis?"
Or, does it lump a variety of different cases into the same group?
a Blue Lens," a 1999 film on the streets in Vancouver, BC by Veronivca
definitions rely on:
- Legal criteria
- Medical criteria
BUT, a good definition must be:
- Internally consistent
- Make sense
(use of illegal drug equals abuse)
- Some legal drugs are very
- Includes even moderate
use of illicit drugs??
- If include frequency of
use, then illegal status is inconsistent
- Assumes legal status is
correlated with cultural acceptability
- Assumes CONSENSUS
- Only physicians should
here and search for "drug abuse"
- Applies to legal
- Illegal drugs are
not available for medical use
- Yet, drugs are social
vs. Medical things.
National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse:
- Delete "drug abuse"
- Codeword for use considered
to be wrong
- Word claims objectivity,
yet structures perceptions
- Discredits the phenomenon
it categorizes: It becomes possible only to see the "abusive aspects
- Data is then collected
to demonstrate the damage
- "Science and medicine
become handmaidens to morality and politics."
Inciardi: above is a "Semantic
Game" versus Goode: understanding ideology and cultural control??
Let's talk about addiction,
Drug Use as a Social
versus Constructionist Perspectives
Real, Damaging Conditions Resulting in Harm to People or Society
Things Seen, Judged, Defined to be Problems. What People THINK They Are. Thomas
conditions are not necessarily problems
problems do not necessarily have objective reality
- Why are
some things considered problems and others not?
to protest or change
taken to deal with it
here is that objective conditions and subjective concerns sometimes overlap
and sometimes don't. Why some do and others don't is the interesting question.
Culture and Politics of Social Problems
- What forces
- Who is involved?
- Who benefits?
- What values
versus illegal drug use as a Social Problem?
Objectively: More deaths and problems
from legal drug use.
- Dose for dose?
- Age at which user dies?
- Acute versus chronic?
- Other associated problems?
variations contribute to our subjective understanding
Drug Use as a Social Problem, 1980's
A Moral Panic (And,
Watch Out-- It may well be happening now at the end of the 1990s)
- Media attention (peaks
1986, use at low point)
- Public Opinion (peaks
1989: 64% list as number 1)
- Reagan/Bush "War
- Political Climate
- Timing: Crack "explosion,"
Public figures dying, Media coverage
- Moral Entrepreneurs
(Nancy Reagan and "Just Say No.")
Social Problems Marketplace
News Bytes and Media Reality
Objective Reality is still significant!
- Occasional and recreational
use down during the 80's, now going back up.
- Frequent, heavy use
(small proportion of users) increasing.
- Impact on community
- Impact on Children (Myths
and realities of "Crack
Problems are not just "Smoke and Mirrors," BUT understanding the source
of the problems is important
Crime and the Criminalization
of Drugs (and Drug Users)
- Rationalist view of
law (protect and deter)
- Constructionist view
of law (power and vested interest)
- Law as a Political Process
- Drugs and Crime: Pharmacology
- Criminalizing Drugs
and Drug Use--an outcome of the definition of drug use as a problem:
Which and Why?
Harrison Narcotics Act, 1914:
concern over user populations versus the drug. Significant media scare over
cocaine use by African-Americans, leading to violence against whites, was
a key element in including cocaine as a controlled drug in the act.
Drugs vs. The People who use them
Law and Symbolism: Nevada vs Utah
(1970s-1990s and today).
Owner: Robert O. Keel firstname.lastname@example.org
Credits for this Page of Notes
Monday, July 25, 2011 10:52 AM