Sociology

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In 2005, 19.7 million Americans over the age of 12 reported they were current illicit drug users. Nearly 18 million Americans are alcoholics. Globally, more than 76 million individuals have diagnosable drinking problems and about 15 million people have drug use disorders. Drug and alcohol abuse affects not the only the user, but also his or her family and friends, workplace, school, neighbors and community. In chapter 12 of “ Social Problems, Community, Policy and Social Actions,” by Anna –Leon Guerrero, the topic of drug and alcohol abuse is discussed. Both biological and psychological theorist attempt to explain why drug abuse is blamed on the individual. They both assume that there really is no escape from it because it’s inherited or genetically encoded in the users DNA. Functionalist, argue that society provides us with norms and guidelines on alcohol and drug use. For example, behavior that is violent is identified with alcohol consumption in different parts of the world, while drinking behavior is described as “ peaceful and harmonious” in the Mediterranean and South African countries. Also they feel that a set of social norms identifies the appropriate use of drug and alcohol. Prescription drugs, prescribed by a doctor acceptable behavior, they reduce pain, fever and cure infections. While alcohol in moderation routinely consumed with meals, for celebration, or health benefits. It is said that a single glass of red wine a day can reduce the risk for heart disease. Emile Durkheim’s theory of anomie is used to explain drug abuse. Durkheim believed that under conditions of rapid cultural change, there would be an absence of common social norms and controls, which is a state he called “anomie”. If people lack norms to control their behavior, they are likely to pursue self-destructive behavior such as alcohol abuse. For example, when people are moving to a new neighborhood, experiencing divorce, or starting a new job or school year, they may...
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