SOC 308 • Drugs and Society
1:00 PM-2:00 PM
The American experience with drugs is complex. On the one hand, we have more access to psychoactive (mind- or mood-altering) drugs than any other society. We take drugs for every conceivable reason: to help us stay awake, to perform better in our everyday lives, to find relaxation or escape, to medicate a range of problems and to expand our consciousnesses. On the other hand, we control and punish drug use more than any other society. Some drugs, such as those used for the treatment of depression, anxiety and ADHD, can be bought legally but only from a licensed pharmacy. Other drugs, such as cocaine and morphine, are legal under very limited and tightly regulated circumstances. And still other drugs, such as heroin, are illegal under all circumstances. To consider this complex situation from multiple angles, this course will be divided into three sections. First, we will find out what scientific research can tell us about drug use, both how drugs affect the body and who uses different types of drugs. Second, we will cover the history of drug regulation in the United States. Finally, we will look at the ways drug use has been portrayed in media.