Docstoc

Drugs _ Crime

Document Sample
Drugs _ Crime Powered By Docstoc
					Drugs in American
     Society
     Erich Goode
Drugs: A Sociological Perspective



             Prepared by
            James Roberts
         University of Scranton
             Chapter Outline
   What Is a drug?

   Drug Use and Drug Abuse

   Drug Dependence

   Types of Drug Use
                Defining “Drugs”
   Drugs can be defined both materially and socially

   Defined by what they are and do – in a real-world
    biochemical and pharmacological sense & what they are
    thought to do, including how the law defines them and
    the way the media depicts them

   There is the objective (or essentialistic) reality of drugs,
    as well as the “subjective” (or constructionist) reality of
    drugs
          Defining “Drugs” (cont.)
   Essentialism = approach to reality that defines
    phenomena by objective properties
       A drug is any substance with psychoactive effects


   Constructionism = approach to reality that defines
    phenomena subjectively, that is, by how they are seen,
    regarded, conceptualized, or dealt with by the members
    of a society
       A drug is whatever the members of a society or the law
        define as a drug
              Defining “Drugs”
   Every phenomenon can be looked at through
    the lens of these two definitions/perspectives

   Definitions may be more/less useful according
    to a specific setting or context

   3 contexts:
     Medical utility
     Illegality
     Psychoactivity
                Medical Utility
   Medical definition (of a drug) = a substance that
    is used to treat or heal the body or mind

   Objective Reality = for a drug to be used
    medically, we assume that it does something to
    the body; acts as a healing agent

   Subjective Reality = drug must be recognized as
    therapeutically useful by physicians
            Medical Utility (cont.)
   Substance can be defined as a drug and not as a
    drug depending on the context
       Based on a medical definition, heroin would not be
        considered a drug in the U.S.


   A medical definition may determine a
    substance’s legal status; if not useful,
    government / individual state more likely to
    make sale and possession a crime
                     Illegality
   Legal definition (of a drug) = a substance that is
    illegal to sale and possess and is likely to
    generate criminal punishment

   Largely a socially constructed definition of what
    drugs are

   Legal definitions of drugs may also depend on
    their physical or material properties; considered
    harmful because they are harmful
                   Illegality (cont.)
   Definition inadequate if we wish to examine full range
    of the use of psychoactive substances, that is, why
    drugs are used and what consequences this use has
       Legal definition excludes alcohol (sale is authorized and
        controlled by the state), a psychoactive substance with
        strong connection to both use of illegal drugs and
        behaviors that illicit drugs cause/are correlated with
                Psychoactivity
   Psychoactive = having the property of
    influencing the workings of the mind; having an
    effect on mood, emotion, feeling, and cognitive
    processes

   Pharmacology = the study of the effects of
    drugs on biological organisms

   Psychopharmacology = the study of the effects
    of drugs on the mind
             Psychoactivity (cont.)
   The psychoactivity definition (of a drug) says
    that a substance is a drug if it alters the workings
    of the brain and hence, the mind – and
    consequently, human behavior
       Any substance, regardless of medical or legal status,
        that significantly and pharmacologically alters the
        workings of the brain is a drug


   Psychoactivity is a matter of both degree and
    kind
              Drug Use & Abuse
   Drug use = ingesting a given substance or set of
    substances in any quantity with any frequency over any
    period of time; covers the entire spectrum of
    consumption

   Drug abuse is a specific type of use; definition can be
    problematic

   Some argue that abuse is the use of psychoactive
    substance outside a medical context
              Drug Abuse (cont.)
   Some suggest drug abuse connected to level of use;
    implies that certain varieties of use have negative effects
    of user’s life and/or lives of persons around the user

   Abuse is a very inexact and loaded term

   Term abuse should be avoided except at levels of use
    that are almost by their very nature harmful and hence,
    abusive (e.g., drinking a case of beer every day)
           Drug Addiction vs. Drug
                Dependence
   Classic addiction model (popular until late 1970s);
    addicting drug defined by the appearance of withdrawal
    symptoms – chills, fever, diarrhea, spasms, nausea, etc.

   Drug addiction = the use of a drug to the point where
    an abrupt discontinuation would cause withdrawal
    symptoms

   Cross-dependence = administration of a particular drug
    can prevent withdrawal from another drug which the
    person is addicted
             Drug Dependence
   Behavioral dependence = engaging in continued,
    compulsive, chronic use to the point where that
    use becomes a threat to everything the user once
    valued, including life and limb

   Behavioral dependence is not the same as
    physical dependence (addiction), or the
    pharmacological capacity of a drug to cause
    withdrawal symptoms
        Drug Dependence (cont.)
   Researchers now believe that positive reinforcement is
    the driving force behind compulsive, abusive drug use

   Positive reinforcement = the motivation to continue
    using a drug to pursue pleasurable sensations attendant
    upon administration

   Drug dependence = compulsive, repeated use of a
    substance whose basis is positive reinforcement
             Types of Drug Use
   Legal instrumental use

   Legal recreational use

   Illegal instrumental use

   Illegal recreational use
           Legal Instrumental Use
   2 principal forms of legal instrumental use: (1) over-the-
    counter and (2) prescription

   Over-the-counter drugs are purchased directly by
    public on store shelves without a prescription
       Not without their dangers

   Prescription drugs are prescribed by physicians to
    patients
       Constitute a major source of psychoactive drug use
    Legal Instrumental Use (cont.)
   If a drug is psychoactive, it rarely remains permanently
    confined to the context of approved medical usage

   Psychoactive drugs once available over-the-counter
    came to be used for the purpose of getting high

   Medical status of a drug may also vary over time
       Medical marijuana
          Legal Recreational Use
   Refers to the use of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine;
    consumed for a desired physic state

   Coffee drinking can be described as both recreational
    and instrumental

   Despite mixed motives for taking these drugs,
    subeuphoric pleasure cannot be discounted as a major
    reason for their use

   Extent of use of these drugs immense
           Illegal Instrumental Use
   Refers to taking drugs without a prescription for some
    instrumental purpose of which society approves –
    driving a truck, studying for an exam, etc.

   Taking drugs illegally but instrumentally connected to
    other illegal activities:
       Script mill doctors – writing prescription for fee
       Illicit, clandestine production – domestically and abroad
       Illicit importation – drug smuggling
         Illegal Recreational Use
   Survey research primary way we learn about
    illicit recreational use

   National Household Survey on Drug Abuse
    (now called National Survey on Drug Use and
    Health)
     94 million lifetime users
     28.4 million users in past year

     15.9 million users in past 30 days
         Types of Drug Use
                        LEGAL STATUS

                    Legal              Illegal
  GOAL

Instrumental   Taking a valium    Using
               with a             amphetamine to
               prescription       study all night
Recreational   Drinking alcohol   Taking LSD to get
                                  high

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:24
posted:4/15/2012
language:English
pages:23