Social Issue Alcohol Drugs Essay

Pages: 3 (1118 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Drugs


Society teaches young people act in 'deviant' ways (Goode 2006: 420). For example, the lack of opportunities offered to young people in poor, urban communities increase the incentives to be involved in the drug trade, given the limited venues for self-improvement outside of drugs. A lack of positive role models in the community; family members who abuse drugs; and peer influences can all increase the likelihood of abuse and 'teach' young people to find refuge in substance abuse.

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Conflict-based theories of abuse stress the role of poverty exacerbating the problem of drug addiction. "Conflict theory argues that inequality is the root cause of drug use, at least the heavy, chronic abuse of and dependence on 'hard' drugs such as crack cocaine and heroin" (Goode 2006: 420). Society drives addicts to use because of social marginalization in part, but it also views poorer drug users less favorably than so-called 'casual' wealthier users. Substances used by the poor are more apt to be criminalized. This can be seen in the greater stigma of using hard drugs vs. alcohol and the harsher penalties meted out to poorer crack users vs. those who use cocaine. Only in 2010, did the Fair Sentencing Act alter "the 100-to-1 disparity between minimum sentences for crack and powder cocaine to 18 to 1" (Cratty 2011). Previously, sentencing for possessing cocaine resulted in much harsher sentences for poorer African-Americans, who were more likely to use crack than powder cocaine. However, conflict theory does not entirely explain why some people in poor environments are more likely to become addicted than other people in the same environment: clearly, an interaction between biology, social pressures, and cultural views of addiction are all at work in terms of influencing the use of illegal drugs.

TOPIC: Essay on Social Issue Alcohol Drugs Consider Assignment

The social attitude towards treating drug addiction in the legal system has begun to shift. This is seen in the use of rehabilitative rather than punitive measures to address the problems of addiction. In many areas of the country, the creation of drug courts as an alternative to standard sentencing is designed to reduce the numbers of drug addicts in prison and to reduce the risk of recidivism by providing addicts with treatment rather than jail time. They are "provided with intensive treatment and other services they require to get and stay clean and sober" (What are drug courts, 2012, NADCP). This indicates that a medical component of drug addiction has become more acknowledged in the United States, versus previous legal models which viewed addiction as a failure of the addict's personal will. Regardless of which model seems more persuasive, the rapid shifts in attitude regarding drugs from the 19th to the 21st century indicates the degree to which socially-constructed concepts determine which types of drug use and drugs and deviant and what types of users are punished more harshly.


Cratty, Carol. (2011). New rules slashing crack cocaine sentences go into effect. CNN.

Retrieved at:

Drugs and the brain. (2012). National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Retrieved at:

Goode, Erich. (2006). The sociology of drug use. 21st Century sociology. Sage.

Retrieved at:

What are drug courts? (2012). NADCP. Retrieved: [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Social Issue Alcohol Drugs" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Social Issue Alcohol Drugs.  (2012, November 28).  Retrieved December 6, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Social Issue Alcohol Drugs."  28 November 2012.  Web.  6 December 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Social Issue Alcohol Drugs."  November 28, 2012.  Accessed December 6, 2021.