Only $35.99/year

Social Problems Chapter 3: Alcohol and Other Drugs

Terms in this set (138)

-emphasizes the importance of power differentials in influencing drug use behavior and societal values concerning drug use.
-Drug use occurs as a response to the inequality perpetuated by a capitalist system.
-Societal members, alienated from work, friends, and family as well as from society and its institutions, turn to drugs as a means of escaping the oppression and frustration caused by the inequality they experience.
-The most powerful members of society influence the definitions of which drugs are illegal and the penalties associated with illegal drug production, sales, and use.
-Alcohol is legal since it is consumed by those who have power and influence to define its acceptability: white males. This group profits from sale and distribution of alcohol and can afford powerful lobbying groups in Washington D.C. to guard the alcohol industry's interests. Since this group also uses tobacco and caffeine, societal definitions of these substances are also relatively accepting.
-Minority group members use crack cocaine rather than powdered cocaine. Although pharmacological properties of the two drugs are the same, possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine carries the same penalty under federal law as possession of 500 grams of powdered cocaine. 2010 Congress voted to change the 1986 law that established the 100 to 1 ratio sentencing disparity but also eliminates the 5 year mandatory minimum for first time possession of crack cocaine. Of people convicted of crack offenses, 80% are African American.
-use of opium by Chinese immigrants in 1800s; Chinese brought to U.S. to work on railroads, smoked opium as part of their cultural tradition. As unemployment of white workers increased, so did resentment of Chinese workers. Attacking the use of opium was a means of attacking Chinese and Nevada became first to prohibit opium use.
-Criminalization of other drugs like cocaine, heroin, and marijuana follows similar patterns of social control of the powerless, political opponents, and/or minorities. 1940s marijuana used primarily by minorities and users faced severe criminal penalties. But after white, middle-class college students used marijuana in 1970s, the government reduced penalties associated with is use. Although the nature and pharmacological properties of the drug had not changed, the population of users was now connected to power and influence.
-Regard the regulation of drugs, as well as drug use itself, as a reflection of differences in the political, economic, and social power of various interest groups.
-concentrates on the social meanings associated with drug use.
-If the initial drug use experience is defined as pleasurable, it is like to recur, and the individual may earn the label of "drug user" over time. If this definition is internalized so that the individual assumes an identity of a drug user, the behavior will probably continue and may even escalate.
-Copes observed that respondents who self-identified as "hustlers" rather than "crackheads" were less likely to fall prey to the debilitating effects of the drug for slipping into uncontrollable addiction is antithetical to the hustler identity.
-Drug use is also learned through symbolic interaction in small groups. Students who believed that their friends were binge drinking were more likely to also engage in binge drinking themselves.
-First-time users learn not only the motivations for drug use and its techniques but also what to experience.
-Marijuana users not only learn the way to ingest the smoke but also to label the experience positively. When peers define certain drugs, behaviors, and experiences as not only acceptable but also pleasurable, drug use is likely to continue.
-symbols can be manipulated and used for political and economic agendas. DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, with its anti drug emphasis fostered by local schools and police, carries a powerful symbolic value with which politicians want the public to identify. Ameliorative programs which are imbued with these potent symbolic qualities are virtually assured widespread public acceptance regardless of actual effectiveness, and in turn advances the interests of political leaders who benefit from being associated with highly visible, popular symbolic programs. West and O'Neal foudn that DARE does not significantly prevent drug use among school-aged children.
-Drug use and addiction are the result of complex interplay of social, psychological, and biological forces.
-Drug use and addiction caused by a "bio-behavioral disorder" which combines biological and psychological factors.
-Biological research has concentrated on the role of genetics in predisposing an individual to drug use. Early on-set alcoholism may be genetically predisposed, with some men havin 10 times the risk of addiction as those without genetic predisposition. Depression, chronic anxiety, and attention deficit disorder are also linked to the likelihood of addiction. But nobody is "predestined" to be an alcoholic.
-Biological theories also hypothesize some individuals are physiologically predisposed to experience more pleasure from drugs than others, and so are more likely to be drug users. The central nervous system, which is composed of brain and spinal cord, processes drugs through neurotransmitters in a way that produces an unusually euphoric experience. Individuals not so physiologically inclined reported less pleasant experiences and are less likely to continue use.
-Psychological explanations focus on the tendency of certain personality types to be more susceptible to drug use. Individuals who are particularly prone to anxiety may be more likely to use drugs as a way to relax, gain self-confidence, or ease tension. Research indicates that child maltreatment, particularly among females, contributes to alcohol and drug abuse that extends into adulthood.
-Psychological theories also emphasize that drug use may be maintained by positive or negative reinforcement. Cocaine maintained by positive high, heroin maintained because of the distress of severe withdrawal symptoms.
-Reinforcement may come from a variety of sources including the media.Eexposure to alcohol use in movies was positively associated with early-onset drinking.
-1980s federal government declared war on drugs, which was based on the belief that controlling drug availability would limit drug use and, in turn, drug-related problems.
-contrast to harm reduction position, had a zero-tolerance approach advocating get-tough law enforcement policies
-responsible for the increase in jail and prison population
-As meth enforcement steps up and crack cocaine use declines, the number of black compared to white drug offenders in prison has declined.
-Rockefeller drug laws had harsher penalties that required prison sentences for offenders (first-time or repeat) and limited judicial discretion in deciding what best served the public's interest. Disproportionate amount of Hispanics and African Americans received excessively long and unnecessary prison sentences for even the most minor drug offenders. The laws were seen as institutional racism and reform efforts began.
-led to a magnified concern about drugs and drug problems.
-policies meant to disrupt and deter the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. have little impact on drug use and addiction.
-creates collateral damage: Duke and Gross argued that war on drugs, like Prohibition, intensified other social problems: drug-related gang violence and turf wars, the creation of syndicate-controlled black markets, unemployment, the spread of AIDS, overcrowded prisons, corrupt law enforcement officials, the diversion of police from other serious crimes, impact on families (conviction of a drug offense can lead to a parent being in prison, eviction from public housing, deportation, and permanent exclusion from public assistance).
-is costly.
-U.S. policy is two-pronged: demand reduction and supply reduction. (balanced approach)
-Most political parties believe war on drugs is failure and so people believe that it should be abandoned and deregulation should be established.