Drugs and Society
Reading Response: Heroin and Social Problems
“The daily hustle for heroin often forces users into other illegal activity, like petty drug dealing, prostitution and burglary, to support their habit, and creates an expensive, unproductive revolving door between prison and the street. Methadone, covered by insurance, frees people from this cycle.”
This quote from “Swapping politics for science on drug policy” jumped out at me from this week’s readings. It connects perfectly with an argument from Sociology called Strain Theory. Strain Theory argues that social structures within society pressure citizens to commit crime. This is exactly the driver behind the social problems associated with chaotic drug use.
In general, society is unconcerned with the harm done to the self through chaotic drug use, and many on the right feel that these harms are deserved or appropriate. People on all sides of the political landscape recognize the impact of social problems like petty crime which come about as a result of users looking for money for more drugs.
As we learned in “Frontline: the meth epidemic,” there is a whole industry of fences who pay drug addicts in meth for stolen goods. This is exactly the source of most of the social problems that come from chaotic drug use. If users did not have to steal things in order to get drugs and food, then they would be able to work on themselves rather than working on getting the next hit. Rat park is the perfect illustration of the benefits that appear for users and society when people’s needs get met so they are able to have space in their life for self-reflection and personal growth.