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A Sociological Approach to Drug Use. Lecture 2. What to Expect in this Lecture. Overview of some basic concepts Exploration of the problem of drug use as a “social construction” Brief review of the history of drug use in American society. Basic Concepts: What is a “drug?”.

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what to expect in this lecture
What to Expect in this Lecture
  • Overview of some basic concepts
  • Exploration of the problem of drug use as a “social construction”
  • Brief review of the history of drug use in American society
basic concepts what is a drug
Basic Concepts: What is a “drug?”
  • Definition of “drug” depends on who is defining and purpose for definition
  • A drug is, in fact, “…something that has been defined by a certain segment of the society as a drug”
  • A “drug,” then, is a social construction
  • For purposes of this course, a pharmacological definition of drug is used
    • A “drug” is a substance that, when ingested, alters the functioning of the central nervous system
the social construction of drug scares reinerman
The Social Construction of Drug Scares (Reinerman)
  • Seven ingredients of a drug scare:
    • Kernel of truth
    • Media magnification
    • Politico-moral entrepreneurs
    • Professional interest groups
    • Historical context of conflict
    • Linking drug use to a “dangerous class”
    • Using drug as a scapegoat for many public problems
  • Why have drug scares been so prevalent in America?
    • Drugs provide a “vocabulary of attribution”
    • America developed as a temperance culture
    • America has developed into a post-modern mass consumer culture
basic concepts what is drug use
Basic Concepts: What is Drug Use?
  • Drug use simply refers to the introduction of any substance defined as a drug into the organism
    • May be done in several ways, known as route of administration
    • Has profound implications for the effect that a drug might have on the user
  • Objective effect
    • Refers to effects which can reliably be measured (e.g., effect on heart rate)
  • Subjective effect
    • Refers to effects which are grounded in the experiential reality of the user
basic concepts what is drug abuse
Basic Concepts:What is Drug Abuse?
  • Drug abuse is a much misunderstood and variously defined concept
  • Sociologists define drug abuse in relation to social roles
  • Definition: “…use of a substance or substances in such a way that it leads to measurable personal, interpersonal or social consequences
basic concepts what are drug addiction and dependence
Basic Concepts: What Are Drug Addiction and Dependence?
  • Classical understanding of addiction:
    • Involves a physical tolerance to a substance such that termination of use results in withdrawal symptoms
  • Drug dependence is a broader term that connotes psychic and behavioral reinforcement
  • Sociologists further suggest that there may be a social basis for dependence
determinants of drug effects
Determinants of Drug Effects
  • Objective effects
    • Characteristics of drugs
    • Characteristics of users
    • Interactive Effects
  • Subjective Effects
    • Set – mindset of user
    • Setting – social context of use
  • Chronic Effects
history of drug use
History of Drug Use
  • Use of psychoactive drugs is millennia old
  • Drugs and drug use were part of American culture from its very beginning
  • Major shift in America’s attitude and response to drugs between the 19th and 20th centuries
nineteenth century america dope fiend s paradise
Nineteenth Century America:“Dope Fiend’s Paradise”
  • Drugs of many types were widely available in the 19th century through conventional sources
    • Obtained through doctors, mail order, and over the counter
    • Typical user of narcotics was a middle-aged, middle class woman
  • Little societal reaction to drug use at this time
    • Organized opposition did not begin until late 19th century
twentieth century america century of repression
Twentieth Century America:Century of Repression
  • San Francisco Ordinance of 1875
  • Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906
  • Harrison Narcotics Act
  • Volstead Act and the 18th Amendment
  • Marijuana Tax Act of 1937
  • Controlled Substances Act of 1970
  • Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988