Contextual Analysis Drug Abuse and Addiction Essay

Pages: 4 (1456 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Drugs

Contextual Analysis

Drug abuse and addiction is a pervading problem in American society today. Not only does it have devastating effects upon the individual and his or her immediate family, but also upon society as a whole. The reason for this is that the effects of drug abuse tend to affect those who interact with the addicted person in various direct and indirect ways. For the family, for example, drug abuse by one family member may mean a devastating effect upon finances and family relationships. For society in general, drug abuse can have effects that include peer group influence, where the addicted person reinforces the habit in his or her friends. If the individual is for example perceived to be "cool," he or she may easily influence others to follow the same path. In the story "Sonny's Blues," the author describes the life of a young musician and the effect that drugs had upon him, his family, and his social relationships.

The story is told from the first-person narrator viewpoint, with the narrator being Sonny's brother. The brother is devastated by a newspaper article describing Sonny's arrest for drug possession and abuse. However, as the narrator continues telling the story, it becomes clear that the relationship has been strained for a long time. Later in the story, the reader learns that Sonny's choice to become a musician was directly responsible both for his departure from his brother's life and his downward spiral into his drug abusing habit.

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In terms of society, it appears that Sonny's social world, along with his personal predisposition and perceived weakness, encourages his use of drugs. Close to the end of the story, he tries to explain this to his brother (Sonny's Blues 21):

TOPIC: Essay on Contextual Analysis Drug Abuse and Addiction Is Assignment

"And other times -- well, I needed a fix, I needed to find a place to lean, I needed to clear a space to listen -- and I couldn't find it, and I -- went crazy, I did terrible things to me, I was terrible for me." The demands of the music world took its toll on Sonny. More than this, however, the culprit was his personal need to experience his music in a certain way. When this did not happen, he so desperately needed a substitute that drugs proved to be the only "fix" for his problem. While Sonny does not place any blame on his peer group, his fellow musicians, or society in general for his habit, he does note that his departure from Harlem was necessary to "get away from the drugs." He assumed that removing himself from his birthplace would also remove him from the social elements that encouraged his drug habit in the first place. In Sonny's view, environmental factors are an important element in cultivating the drug habit.

This is a valid estimation that is substantiated by the literature. Authors such as Tania Aftandilians note that the pervasive nature of drugs such as the stimulant group makes it both easy to obtain and to abuse. The problem is that stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamines fall in the same category as legal drugs such as coffee and pharmaceuticals that can be applied as an antidote for certain harmful conditions in the human body. The pervasiveness of these drugs in society, as well as their possible beneficial applications, make it easy to forget their potential and considerably harmful effects.

In the same way, Sonny in the story became addicted to drugs that he believed would help him. When he became aware of his condition, as he explains quite graphically to his brother on page 21, it is too late to help himself. It appears however that his time in the rehabilitation centre made a considerable difference, along with the first letter in years that he receives from his brother. By removing Sonny from the socially harmful effects of his drug abuse and isolating him for a time, the rehabilitation center is able to shock him out of his habit for a while. However, it is only with a supportive environment and social setting that he is able to truly overcome his problems.

According to the NIDA Website, drug addiction is a serious condition that needs considerable time and effort over the long-term to overcome. Central to this effort is negotiation with the patient, as well as a supportive social and family environment. In addition, NIDA… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Contextual Analysis Drug Abuse and Addiction" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Contextual Analysis Drug Abuse and Addiction.  (2009, December 10).  Retrieved September 24, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Contextual Analysis Drug Abuse and Addiction."  10 December 2009.  Web.  24 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Contextual Analysis Drug Abuse and Addiction."  December 10, 2009.  Accessed September 24, 2021.