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SOC 2070
Norman Dubeski

CHAPTER 8 UNIT 7 Positivist Approach  Seek to reveal the causes of drug use  Drug use is the dependent variable, the variable that needs to be explained  The independent variable is the cause of the drug use  Examine consequences of drug use  Drug use could covary with other variables, but not necessarily cause them Constructionist Approach  Seek to answer the question “why are certain substances considered illegal/deviant and others legal?” Social Construction of a Social Problem  Drug use comes close to being universal, both worldwide and throughout history  The Inuit may be the only society on Earth that did not use mind-altering substances  Subjective Dimension: the public’s feeling or attitude toward drug use, and the individuals who use drugs  Objective: what drugs do physically to humans, how frequently they are used, their impact on society Timeline  1930: United states newspapers and magazines publish hundreds of sensationalistic articles that detailed the horrors of marijuana use  1960: thousands of news accounts are published detailing LSD’s capacity to make users go crazy  1970: heroin storms headlines  1986: drug use and abuse explodes as a social problem in the US  1989: 64% of respondents in a poll say that drugs constituted the most important issue facing the country at the time o Moral Panic, 1986-1989: an intense, widespread, explosive upsurge of public feelings that something is terribly wrong in their society because of the moral failure of a specific group of people Why are Illegal Drug users deviant while Legal drug users are not?  Victims of illegal drugs are younger than the victims of alcohol and tobacco  Feelings that drugs such as cocaine and the narcotics are vastly more harmful on a dose-by-dose basis that is true of alcohol/tobacco  Drug dealers destroy communities and corrupt law enforcement in a way that is quite unlike purveyors of legal drugs  Legal drugs kill 30 times more Americans than illegal drugs What is Drug Use?  Definition: a medicine or any other substance used in treatment of disease. In addition, a drug is a substance with a significant effect on the functioning of the mind. To the general public, a drug is an illegal or illicit substance taken for the purpose of getting high/intoxicated  The independence between the effects of drugs (objective) and the way that they are dealth with my the medical industry, law enforcement, and the general public (subjective) is the central issue for sociologists Drug Classification  Stimulants: speed up signals passing through the central nervous system, enable the user to feel more alert/awake o Cocaine o Amphetamine o Ritalin  Narcotics: diminish the brain’s perception of pain. Are physically addictive o Opiates: Morphine, Heroin, Codeine o Opioids: Percodan, Dilaudid, Methadone, Oxycodone  Sedatives/General Depressants: while not effective pain killers, have a depressive effect on body organs/functions. Influence relaxation, inhibit anxiety, cause sleep. o Alcohol o GHB (date rape drug) o Valium, Xanax, Lorazepam, Rohypnol (roofies)  Hallucinogens: Induce profound sensory alterations. Main effect is extreme psychoactivity, a loosening of the imagination o LSD o Peyote, Mescaline o Psilocybin (shrooms) o PCP, Ketamine  MDMA/Ecstasy: Described as an empathogen, as it induces empathy for others. Does not produce sensory alterations  Marijuana: In the past has been classified as a depressant, stimulant, and a hallucinogen. Now it is in it’s own category. Use  51% of the population would be considered current users of alcohol  29% of the population used a tobacco product in the past month  5.8% of the population 12 and older are current users of Marijuana  Most illegal drug use is marijuana use  The use of all drugs declined substantially in the 1970s  Illegal drug use is not nearly as high as many sensational media stories claim  Illicit drug use is much less widespread than the use of alcohol or tobacco  Legal drugs tend to be used on a much more regular basis, illegal drugs are used more infrequently and are more likely to be given up  The more legal the drug, the more loyal it’s users. Marijuana Use  1700: used as a medicinal herb, George Washington grew it  1930: dubbed the “killer weed” and “sex crazing drug menace” by the media and Reefer Madness (Reefer Madness shown to pro-marijuana audiences as a joke in
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