Views on Alcohol and Drug Abuse

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Alcohol and drug abuse among the youth and the adult population is a growing social problem in the United States. The teenage population is very influential to when around its peers. With peer pressure and social roles, teens tend to try and be like the person they look up to, and will do just about anything to look and seem cool in an effort to fit in. Adults tend to turn to alcohol and drugs due to life experiences, such as getting laid off of a job,a death of a family member or friend, or simply depression. There are many other reasons including psychological, physiological, and social consequences that lead to the use of alcohol and drugs among the U.S. population. Sociologist have different perspectives of what causes these individuals to engage in alcohol and drug abuse.

The first sociological theory is the Structural-Functionalist Perspective. Their view on alcohol and drug abuse argues that it is a response to weakening societal norms. What that means is that as change occurs and becomes more complex, norms and values become unclear and lines become blurred. For example, although public health officials and health care professionals warn of the dangers of alcohol and tobacco use, advertisers glorify the use of alcohol and tobacco, and the United States government subsidizes the alcohol and tobacco industries. Many people don’t realize all of the media and other influences which add to the weakening of their norms and values. Television and music are some influences that add to the social changes. Therefore, Structural-Functionalist look at drug use as a response from the absence of a perceived bond between the individual and the society.

The second theory is the Conflict Perspective, which emphasizes how the different powers influence the drug use, behaviors and societal values concerning drug use. According to the conflict theory alcohol and drug use occur from events like stress in the work place or family problems. People resort to drug or alcohol...
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