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Lecture 16

Drugs & Society Lecture 16 Notes (3.28.14)

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SOCL 1295
Lisa Ferruccio

Lecture 16 1/15/14 11:48 AM Study Guide Review -know each school of thought on gateway theory -Harry Levine info on BB -where do mom & pop places get pseudoephedrine specifically -harm reduction strategies will be discussed in class today and info is also in the readings (BB) Righteous Dopefiend #3 • Agency: free will, your own ideas, taking action Wednesday will be a quiz review, think of questions Lecture Counterarguments and questions to legalization • Drug Prohibition has been extremely effective in limiting drug use • Legalizing drugs would create a major public health problem— increased use and addiction • More crime, not less Legalization and Public Health Accessibility: • At present, drugs are not readily accessible to all • After legalization all drugs would be more widely & easily available Acceptability: • In response to the argument that most people would not try drugs even if they were legal: o Laws define what is acceptable conduct in society. Drug laws create a criminal sanction, but they also serve as educational and normative statements that shape public attitudes o The challenge of reducing drug abuse and use would be decidedly more difficult if society passed laws indicating that these substances are not sufficiently harmful to prohibit use o Without these laws society may not develop the negative attitudes that serve to discourage trying/using drugs (arguable a result of the criminal system) Affordability: • Unless general laws of economics are repealed, it is likely that reducing the price of drugs will increase consumption • Drugs are priced 6-10x what they would cost if legal. If produced legally, a dose of cocaine would cost 15-20 cents! (about 3% of the price today) • Until mid-80s cocaine was a drug for the middle/upper class—use was limited to those who could afford it. Once crack was developed, a more affordable form of cocaine, use spread. Thus, history suggests that availability creates demand. Q: Will Drug Use/Abuse Rise under Legalization? A guiding model for legalization arguments is the experience of the 18 th Amendment (Volstead Act): • National Alcohol Prohibition (1920-1933) th • BTW: The 18 Amendment is the only constitutional amendment to have been repealed in U.S. history • Lesson: The lesson is NOT that drug prohibitions cannot work; it is that there will be a variety of impacts—some desirable, others not • Prohibition provides a good example of the debate regarding accessibility creating demand National Alcohol Prohibition Positive Outcomes: • It reduced the level of alcohol consumption in the American population! • Based on arrests, auto fatalities, hospital admissions and medical reports, it was concluded that the consu
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