Course: Social Problems of Pakistan (SOC-415)
Course Instructor: Saeed Mashaal Bhatti
From a pharmacological viewpoint, a drug is any substance, other than food, that chemically alters the structure or function of a living organism. In a sociological context, the term drug denotes any habit-forming substance that directly affects the brain or nervous system. More precisely, it refers to any chemical substance that affects physiological functions, mood, perception, or consciousness; has the potential for misuse; and may be harmful to the user or to society. The objective aspect is the degree to which a given substance causes physiological, psychological, or social problems for the individual or the social group—the family, the community, or the entire society. The subjective aspect is how people perceive the consequences of drug use and how their perceptions result in social action concerning drug use (norms, policies, laws, programs, etc.). Prevalence refers to the estimated population of people suffering from a given condition at any given time. Drug abuse refers to the use of a drug to an extent that causes harm to the user. Drugs addiction is defined as that user needs a drug for the feeling of well-being that it produces. Substance abuse is the nation’s leading preventable health problem, places an enormous burden on Pakistani society, harming health, family life, the economy, and public safety, and threatening many other aspects of life. Gateway drug refers to drug use of which causes progression to other drugs.
PERSPECTIVE OF SOCIOLOGY ON DRUGS ABUSE
- 1. Structural functionalists argue that drug abuse is a response to the weakening of norms in society. As society becomes more complex and as rapid social change occurs, norms and values become unclear and ambiguous, resulting in anomie—a state of normlessness.
- 2. Conflict perspective indicates that drug use occurs as a response to the inequality perpetuated by a capitalist system. Societal members, alienated from work, friends, and family as well as from society and its institutions, turn to drugs as a means of escaping the oppression and frustration caused by the inequality they experience. Furthermore, conflict theorists emphasize that the most powerful members of society influence the definitions of which drugs are illegal and the penalties associated with illegal drug production, sales, and use.
- 3. Symbolic interactionism emphasizes the importance of definitions and labeling, concentrates on the social meanings associated with drug use. If the initial drug use experience is defined as pleasurable, it is likely to recur, and over time the individual may earn the label of “drug user.” If this definition is internalized so that the individual assumes an identity of a drug user, the behavior will probably continue and may even escalate.
- 4. Biological theories of drug use also hypothesize that some individuals are physiologically predisposed to experience more pleasure from drugs than others and, consequently, are more likely to be drug users.
- 5. Psychological explanations focus on the tendency of certain personality types to be more susceptible to drug use. Individuals who are particularly prone to anxiety may be more likely to use drugs as a way to relax, gain self-confidence, or ease tension.
Globally, 5.0 percent of the world’s population (200 million people) between the ages of 15 and 64, reported using at least one illicit drug in the previous year
Classification of drugs
- · Marijuana
- · Cocaine
- · Heroine
- · Alcohol
CAUSES OF DRUGS ADDICTION
- · Normless in the society (Functionalist perspective)
- · Social inequality and poverty (Conflict perspective)
- · Hedonism and pleasure seeking (Interactionism perspective)
- · Physiological disposition (Biological perspectives)
- · Anxiety and tension (Psychological perspective)
EFFECTS OF DRUGS USE ON INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY
- · Aggressive and deviant behavior
- · Domestic violence
- · Crimes and criminal behavior
- · Exposure to illness and diseases
o one of the most extreme effects of drinking while pregnant is fetal alcohol syndrome, a syndrome characterized by serious physical and mental handicaps, including low birth weight, facial deformities, mental retardation, and hearing and vision problems
- · Economic cost and wastage of resources
Inpatient treatment refers “to the treatment of drug dependence in a hospital and includes medical supervision of detoxification”. Some drug-dependent patients, however, can be safely treated as outpatients. Outpatient treatment allows individuals to remain in their home and work environments and is often less expensive. In outpatient treatment the patient is under the care of a physician who evaluates the patient’s progress regularly, prescribes needed medication, and watches for signs of a relapse.
- · Prevention is better than cure
- · Rehabilitation
- · Family therapy
- · Counseling
- · Private and state treatment facilities
- · Community care programs,
- · Pharmacotherapy (i.e., use of treatment medications)
- · Behavior modification
- · Drug maintenance programs
- · Employee assistance programs.
NARCOTICS MEASURES OF CONTROL IN PAKISTANI SOCIETY
· The first strategy is demand reduction focuses on reducing the demand for drugs through treatment, prevention, and research.
· Second one is the supply reduction concentrates on reducing the supply of drugs available on the streets through international efforts, interdiction, and domestic law enforcement.
· Harm reduction is the recent public health position that advocates reducing the harmful consequences of drug use for the user as well as for society as a whole.
POLICY MAKING ON DRUGS ABUSE
- · Deregulation refers to the reduction of government control over, for example, certain drugs.
- · Legalization refers to the making prohibited behaviors legal; for example, legalizing drug use or prostitution.
- · Decriminalization refers to the removal of criminal penalties for a behavior, as in the decriminalization of drug use.