Societal View on Drugs essay sample

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For ages, drugs have been a crucial part of the human culture. Humans have always been looking for ways to alter their consciousness. They have an overwhelming desire to explore, escape pain, and avoid boredom (Manchikanti, 2007). However, the abuse of these drugs makes some of them viewed negatively in the society. The possible side effects of abusing some of the drugs makes authorities illegalize them. According to me, what determines whether a drug is a taboo or more acceptable in our society is how detrimental we think the drug is to our health. A drug that is believed to damage our health becomes a taboo. However, the drug will be acceptable when it manifests itself to be useful or less harmful to our health (Chandler, et al., 2009)

The primary social variables that determine how a drug is more positively or negatively defined are beliefs, norms, values, and perceptions. A society’s beliefs towards certain drugs could make them unacceptable within that society. If the society perceives that a drug is harmful, the drug becomes unacceptable in that society. The values and norms of particular groups of people or society would also not allow the consumption of certain types of drugs. In such cases, the drugs are defined negatively (Becker, et al., 2008)

The main theoretical perspectives on drug abuse are; structural- functionalist perspective, conflict perspective, and symbolic interactionist perspective (Collins, et al., 2008). The structural- functionalist perspective maintains that drug abuse is as a result of the weakening of social norms. The conflict perspective highlights the significance of power differentials in influencing the use of drugs and the societal values associated with drug use. Finally, the symbolic interactionist perspective stresses the importance of labeling and definitions. It focuses on the social meanings concerned with drug use (Collins, et al., 2008).


Collins, D. J., & Lapsley, H. M. (2008). The costs of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug abuse to Australian society in 2004/05. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing.

Becker, J. B., & Hu, M. (2008). Sex differences in drug abuse. Frontiers in neuroendocrinology, 29(1), 36-47.

Chandler, R. K., Fletcher, B. W., & Volkow, N. D. (2009). Treating drug abuse and addiction in the criminal justice system: improving public health and safety.JAMA, 301(2), 183-190.

Manchikanti, L. (2007). National drug control policy and prescription drug abuse: facts and fallacies. Pain Physician, 10(3), …

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