Sociologists view social conflict theories are within a broad area of inequality and conflict. The conflict theory arises over disparities, such as poverty, power, and group identity. Conflict theorists see society and its structure controlled by those who are educated, wealthier or with higher power that possess a greater economical class. These theorists are more macro oriented, and for society’s structure it is controlled by those with the greatest economic, social, and cultural assets. Because of Karl Marx’s work, sociologists and other social scientists have come to see conflict not as a class phenomenon, but as a part of everyday life in all societies. Schaefer (2010) explained, “Marx emphasized the group identifications and associations that influence an individual’s place in society. Marx viewed relationships in systematic terms; that is, he believed that a system of economic, social, and political relationships maintained the power and dominance of the owners over the workers.” Conflict theory suggests a model of society existing into different groups with independent interests, and these groups compete for resources and power, while dominating and suppressing minority groups. This allows individuals to rise to positions of power publicly and privately, where they create structures that perpetuate their power as well as interests. Deviance and violence related to drug abuse is a response of alienating the inequality of certain groups of ethnicities and racial minorities. While substance abuse is generally omnipresent throughout society, social conflict would argue that minorities, the lower class, and other marginalized groups are more likely to suffer negative consequences as a result of drug abuse. Not all may experience inequality and resort to deviance, but those that do are either trying to change systems of inequality, or adopting alternative lifestyles and identities.
The Interactionist and its view on drug abuse is related to reducing the severity by advocacy with a restorative justice approach. This perspective takes on a more micro-level view of violence with drugs, and a more personal focus on social interaction in situations. Individuals involved have created their own social system. Interactionists would view drug use as an individual action. Schaefer (2010) explained, “Theorists who take the interactionist perspective generalize about everyday forms of social interaction in order to explain society as a whole.” A sociologist with this perspective would believe people act towards drugs and violence based on the meaning those things have for them; and these meanings are derived from social interaction and modified through interpretation. Society is created and socially structured by the individuals. The results to this violence of drug abuse are with a theory of positive results and goals to restore health of the individual and community and its negative events, repair any injury, and to decriminalize a victim’s drug offenses with resolving and removing a criminal label altogether. The goal of interactionism is to reduce formal labeling and penalization of substance abusers with specifications to the factors that lead to drug abuse. This can greatly increase prevention rates and strategies that seek to eliminate drug abuse. An interactionist would view violence related to drug abuse is what it is labeled to be, or what people say it is. All in all, society and reality are what people make them.
Overall, it is crucial to spread awareness among others and the after effects of drugs throughout every society. Not only should societies be aware of the negative effects drug abuse can have, but the violence that can created along with it. This issue is imperative whether you are analyzing the situation through the functionalist theory, conflict theory, or interactionist theory. Through the eyes of a functionalist, interactionist, conflict theory, we can either work together, exist into different groups, or reduce formal labeling and penalization. No matter if the issue is being viewed by the individual’s actions, a product of inequality, or a necessary part of society serving some purpose, drug abuse and violence is a very serious issue that needs to be resolved within every society.