Drugs and Society Essay

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Essay #2 We can explain drugs and their users in terms of two parts: nature vs. nurture. According to the O'Brian lecture, nature refers to the pharmacological or chemical properties of drug precedence in our understanding of the drug and the status of it in our society. Nurture refers to the socialization, status, belief, laws, and experiences concerning drugs/users, and is a direct product of our culture. A problem occurs when you attempt to explain drugs and their users only in terms of nature because its explanation is often vastly oversimplified, which can produce misconceptions. Nature theory also ignores the influence of structure, culture, and agency. We create what we understand and believe about drugs; therefore nurture would be more closely related to the theory of Social Constructionism. I would have to contest that the theory Essentialism is more closely related to nature because it's a generalization stating that certain properties possessed by a group are universal, and not dependent on context. There are three assumptions associated with Essentialism according to the O'Brian lecture: it acts independently of social influences, there is a fundamental truth about a drug and we can know that truth, thus having the ability to make definitive claims about it, and finally, abuse and dependence are the product of the chemical compounds contained within the drug. The assumptions of Social Constructionism are that our reality is a product of our experiences, and the particular political and cultural environment that vary significantly across time and place determines that reality. According to the O'Brian Lecture, there are three elements of a drug scare. The first is media magnification, which "rhetorically re-crafts worst cases into typical cases and the episodic into the epidemic" (Reinarman 83-84). The second element of a drug scare is known as

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