Uses drug war politics to outline the sociological theory of how "private troubles" become "social issues"

Essay by classwar783College, UndergraduateA, March 2003

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How "Private Troubles" Become "Public Issues"

Drug use has been a part of most likely every society since the since drugs were first discovered. Marijuana use has been traced back as far back as the 2727 B.C. when it was used by the Chinese as medicine for a gamut of different ailments (Henslin, pg. 89). Tobacco was first discovered by western civilization when Christopher Columbus found Native Americans smoking the leaves of this ominous plant upon his arrival to this continent (Henslin, pg. 89). Alcohol (beer, wine, and spirits, caffeine (through the consumption of coffee, coca (the leaf that cocaine is derived from), and opium (from the poppy flower) have all been part of society for hundreds of years, however this does not institute a social problem. A social problem arrives when a private trouble like drug addiction (the use or overuse of a drug such that it becomes harmful to the user) becomes recognized by other people as something that society should find threatening, inappropriate, or despicable.

The ever-present problem of drug use in America is no different. Let us discuss how certain drugs became part of a social problem, while

For as long as drugs have existed, drug users and abusers have been castigated by people or groups of people that found their action inappropriate because of what their society deems as correct. The problem of drug abuse has long been considered deviant behavior for a number of reasons. Deviant behavior is defined as "behavior that does not conform to social norms held by the dominant culture about average or expectable behavior" (Lecture notes on drug addiction). In the dominant capitalist culture that is The United States of America, drug abuse is considered deviant because has been deemed a counterproductive in a world where productivity pays the...