Chapter 8

Alcohol and Other Drugs
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Chapter 8 Outline
Subjective vs. objective view
Legal drugs
over the counter
Illegal Drugs
Narcotics and Hallcinogens
Biological and Psychological
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Drug Use and Abuse
 Drug: Any substance, other than food or water, that when
taken into the body alters its functioning in some way.
 Therapeutic vs. recreational (purpose vs. pleasure)
 Licit and Illicit (legal vs. illegal)
 Drug abuse: Excessive or inappropriate use of a drug that
results in some form of physical, mental, or social
 Drug addiction: Psychological or physiological need for
a drug to maintain sense of well-being and avoid
withdrawal symptoms.
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Subjective vs. Objective View of Drug Abuse
 Objective component is physical,
psychological, or social evidence of
 Subjective component is people’s
perceptions about the
Example: Marijuana vs. Alcohol
Subjectively our society believes that marijuana is harmful
and should remain illegal, while alcohol is harmless and
should stay legal
Objectively no little evidence that marijuana is harmful
but much evidence of alcohol and it’s dangers.
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Major Patterns of Drinking
 Social drinkers: Drink primarily on social
0ccasions, from occasionally to frequently
 Heavy drinkers: Consume greater quantities of
alcohol and are more likely to become intoxicated
 Acute alcoholics: Have trouble controlling use of
alcohol and plan their schedule around drinking
 Chronic alcoholics: Have lost control over drinking
and hide or sneak drinks
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Alcohol: Class, Gender, Age and Race
 The wealthy have greater resources and privacy than lower-
income individuals to avoid a “drunk” or “alcoholic” label
 More men than women drink, and men are more likely to be
labeled alcoholic.
 US Census Bureau 2004
 Vast majority of persons between the ages of 18-25 have tried alcohol
Over 60% are current users
 Before age 30, Whites consume more alcohol than Blacks
 After age 30, Blacks have higher rates of heavy drinking
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Alcohol-Related Social Problems
 Health problems
 Nutritional deficiencies, adult-onset diabetes, alcoholic dementia,
cardiovascular problems, alcoholic cirrhosis, and fetal alcohol
 Alcohol in the workplace
 Lost productivity and cost of treatment, and workplace injuries
 Drinking and driving
 19% of fatal motor vehicle accidents in which the driver was
between the ages of 16 and 20, the driver had a blood alcohol level
of 0.08
 Family problems
 Domestic abuse and violence, patterns of codependency when
family members unwittingly aid the alcoholic’s excessive drinking
and resulting behavior
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Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2010
Tobacco Use as a Social Problem
 Health Problems:
 Cancer of the lungs, larynx, mouth, and esophagus
 Bronchitis, emphysema, ulcers, and cardiovascular disorders
 Shorter life expectancy
 ½ pack a day reduces lifespan by 4 years.
 Low birth weight babies
 Environmental (second hand)tobacco
 75% of nicotine ends up in the air
Why do people still smoke?
 Nicotine is highly addictive
 Good marketing by tobacco companies
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Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2010
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs
 Iatrogenic addiction
 Occurs from long-term use or high dosages of prescription drugs
 Initially prescribed by a physician for a medical purpose
 Controversial Drugs
 Belief that Ritalin and Prozac are being over-prescribed
 Teens and Prescription Drugs
 Prescription drugs are being used illegally by teenagers
 2.3 million youths between the ages of 12-17 take legal drugs
illegally each year
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Over the Counter Drugs
 These types of drugs are not linked to significant addiction.
 Most popular OTC drugs: sleep aids, aspirin and ibuprofen,
cold medication.
 Caffeine is a dependency-producing psychoactive
 Heavy caffeine use can increase risk of heart attack and
 Found in coffee, tea, soda, chocolate
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Marijuana Use and Abuse
 Most users are between 18 and 25
 Use by teens (12–17) has doubled over the past decade
 Heavy use can impair concentration and motivation
 High doses during pregnancy can disrupt fetal
 Inhalation has been linked to lung problems
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Stimulant Use and Abuse
Cocaine and amphetamines are among the major stimulants
abused in the U.S.
 Cocaine comes in two forms: powder and crack
 23 million people in U.S. over 12 years old have tried cocaine
 Men more likely to use than women
 Research shows that crack use is higher among inner-city, African
American and Latino/a users
 Law enforcement policies and practices may target minorities
 Amphetamines come in form of diet pills and pep formulas
 Chronic amphetamine abuse can result in amphetamine psychosis
(e.g., paranoia, hallucinations, and violent tendencies)
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 Most common include:
 Barbiturates (e.g., Nembutal and Seconal)
 Anti-anxiety drugs or tranquilizers (e.g., Librium.,
Valium, and Miltown)
 Low doses produce relaxing feeling, higher does result
in sedation.
 Users may develop both physical addiction and
psychological dependency
 Rophynol: “date rape drug” used in combo with
alcohol very dangerous and can cause death.
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Narcotics and Hallucinogens
 Narcotics:
 Natural forms: opium, morphine, codeine
 Opiate Derivatives: heroin and Percodan
 Heroin is the most widely used drug.
 Abusers usually young male, under 30, minority, living
in a low income area.
 Hallucinogens:
 Produce hallucinations
 LSD, “angel dust”, and “ecstasy”
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Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2010
Perspectives on Drug Abuse
 Genetic factors through impaired enzyme production,
brain function, and physiological response
 Drugs such as alcohol, heroin, and cocaine act directly on
brain mechanisms responsible for reward and punishment
 Social learning and reinforcement on drug-taking behavior
 Personality disorders (e.g., impulsivity and anxiety)
 Social psychologists state that individuals who define drug
behavior as good are more likely to abuse.
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Sociological Explanations
Symbolic Interactionist
 Drug behavior is learned and influenced by families, peers,
and others
 Spending time with members of a drug subculture
increases attitudes and behaviors favorable to drug use
 Once one is labeled an “alcoholic” or “drug addict,” he or
she will have difficultly discontinuing use
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Sociological Explanations (cont.)
 Drugs serve functions in society
 Prescription and over the counter drugs help patients
 They help doctors treat patients, justify their fees
 Provide jobs for pharmacists
 Drugs are also dysfunctional
 Dysfunctional because people can become addicted
 Illicit drug activities serve important societal functions
(create jobs for DEA agents)
 Dysfunctional because they are linked to crime, addiction,
and other social problems.
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Sociological Explanations, cont.
 People in positions of power determine what is
legal and illegal.
 Make drugs used by the powerless illegal.
 Change in marijuana penalties over time.
 Corporate interests perpetuate use and abuse of
legal drugs
 Manipulation of nicotine levels to addict users
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Prevention and Treatment Programs
 Primary prevention
 Programs that seek to prevent drug problems before
they begin
 Secondary prevention
 Programs seek to:
 Limit extent of drug abuse
 Prevent spread to other substances beyond those already
 Teach strategies for responsible use of illicit drugs
 Tertiary prevention
 Programs that seek to limit relapses by individuals in
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2010

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