SOC 311 Notes #2
SOC 311 Notes #2 Soc 311
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Emily Wagner on Thursday November 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to Soc 311 at University at Buffalo taught by in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 27 views. For similar materials see Drugs and society in Sociology at University at Buffalo.
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Date Created: 11/19/15
SOC 311 -- Drugs and Society (Kristen Connolly) [Notes from 9/18/15 - 9/25/15] Three Eras of Drug Use: The Natural Era: ancestors ingested plants that contained psychoactive ingredients o Use of mind-altering drugs usually took place for religion, ceremonies, or medicalthse The Transformative Era (19 Century): discoveries that produced substances that are more potent than natural plant products o New substances created from a natural plant by means of a chemical extraction o Scientists used chemicals to improve on nature The Synthetic Era (20 Century): scientists began to create drugs entirely from chemicals – not found in nature (***pharmacological revolution***) o Pharmacological Revolution: development of synthetic chemicals used in the treatment of mental illnesses Many of these drugs produce effects that recreational users seek and find pleasure in Doctors began to write illegal prescriptions for a certain price (script mill doctors) and illicit labs became popular Sociological Changes Availability to the young of disposable income Globalization: expansion of international economic network Main drug usage shifted from young adults to late adolescent Drug Use in the 21 Century Country’s TOP TWO drug problems (death and disease): use of tobacco and use of alcohol The availability of cocaine decreased by about half Abuse of cocaine and heroic concentrates in the inner city Most commonly used illicit substance: marijuana Incarceration for drug offenses becomes the highest in the world Drug Scares and Laws The first most significant scare was over alcohol, this ended with Prohibition in 1919 Changes in drug usage/users causes scares Temperance Crusaders: typically native born, middle-class, non-urban Protestants o Felt threatened by the working-class Catholic immigrants o Claims that is goes against the upper-class way of life o Bars considered a breeding ground for society o Alcohol was made a scapegoat (escape, something to blame problems on) for nation’s problems – crime, broken families, poverty, unemployment 7 Ingredients of a Drug Scare 1. Kernal of Truth: there’s a basis for people to claim that there is a problem 2. Media Magnification: media engages too much – dramatizes to intrigue watchers/listeners 3. Politco-Moral Entrepreneurs: create and enforce a rule against what they see as a social problem 4. Professional Interest Groups: compete for “ownership” of the drug problem – fought for the right to define the problem and to suggest a solution 5. Historical Conflict of Interest: media, moral entrepreneurs, and professional interest groups interact to exploit the “kernal of truth” about drug use – used to keep audiences entertained and watching 6. Linking a form of drug use to a “dangerous class:” the people who are perceived as using it 7. Scapegoating drug for a different public problem: must have the use of a drug being blamed for at least one social problem Drug Action v. Drug Effect Drug Action: specific, takes place in the molecular level, the outcome of the body’s neurochemical system’s interaction o Happens to everyone who takes the drug Drug Effect: nonspecific, results from more than a given dose of a particular drug o Effects everybody differently Neurotransmitter: chemical messenger, released from one nerve site to another When going into the body, drugs mimic or block the neurotransmitters used to communicate with one another Psychoactive drugs overpower the usual communication that involve vital functions (hunger, pleasure, fatigue) Effective Dose/Lethal Dose Ratio The gap between the ED and LD is the safety margin/therapeutic margin The larger the ratio, the safer the drug For a drug to be considered safe, the ratio must be much higher than 1:1 Anything close to 1:1 is extremely dangerous o Ratio of 1:1 –anyone ingesting this substance would be dead Most drugs are between 1:1 (most dangerous) and 1:1,000,000 (very safe, almost 100% non-toxic) Drug Fate: how one’s body breaks down a drug Drugs are broken down inside the body differently, they may even form a different drug ½ Life: period of time where 50% of the drug is left in the body Factors that Influence Drug Action Drugs need to enter and act on the central nervous system (CNS) in order to have psychoactive effects Drugs need to enter the bloodstream and cross the blood/brain barrier to exert an action on the brain Drug Administration Facts IV administration is one of the most effective means Injecting a drug into a muscle or subcutaneously is very slow Oral ingestion is a slow and inefficient way – drug has to pass through stomach and be absorbed Smoking is the fastest and most efficient way of administering a psychoactive drug Difference between IV administration and smoking: o When drug is injected into a vein and enters the heart, the blood carries the drug and dilutes it o When drug is smoked, the blood traveling in the lungs to the brain is not diluted at all, drug enters the brain at full strength Drug Dependence: “classic addiction model” – an “addicting drug” – the drug is defined by the appearance of specific withdrawal symptoms Withdrawal symptoms include: chills/fever, diarrhea, muscular twitching, etc. o These can be alleviated by one dose of the drug – it’s like treating one addiction with another Dependence/Reinforcement Model: if you have a positive experience with a drug, you may continuously depend on it o Example: Using Nyquil as a sleep aid A drug does not need to be addicting to produce a dependency Stimulants: excite/speed up the CNS Produce arousal, alertness, elevation of mood, excitation Examples: cocaine, amphetamine Too much stimulant: unfocused, uncontrollable, counterproductive activity Sedatives (General Depressants)/Analgesics: slow down signals passing through the CNS Low doses: induce relaxation, help anxiety Higher doses: induce relaxation, reduce anxiety Even higher doses: drowsiness, sleep, organs may shut down Examples: Valium, Xanax, alcohol Narcotics: act to depress/restrain a particular function Most efficient and effective of all painkillers Narrow safety margin (can be very dangerous) Highly likely to lead to death by overdose Examples: Methadone, Oxycontin Hallucinogens/Psychedelics: induce vivid lights, pictures, and sensory dislocation Causes distortions in a person’s reality Dangers: cause hallucinations, psychotic behavior, suicidal behavior, violence Examples: LSD, Mushrooms, Ecstasy, Acid, Peyote (cactus flower) Eidetic Imagery: closed-eye visions, “eyeball movies” – eyes are closed, but you still see things Synesthesia: translation of one sense to another – see tastes, taste colors
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