Drugs, Intoxication and Society

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Polity, Jan 20, 2009 - Political Science - 220 pages
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  • Why do people use drugs?
  • What happens when people are intoxicated?
  • Are we being medicated into normality?

Drugs and intoxication have been facts of human life for millennia. Across the world, many people use illicit drugs, smoke, and drink alcohol. Yet very little has been written about their experiences.

Academics, politicians and media reporting on the topic tend only to consider intoxication when it manifests as a social problem. This book takes a more nuanced view, and examines drug and alcohol use from a wider number of perspectives. It discusses issues such as the history of drug and alcohol use, the attractions of intoxication to individuals, and the control and regulation of drugs and their users. It also examines evidence for the rise of the so-called pharmaceutical society, and asks whether society is on the cusp of a revolution in psychoactive substance use.

This engagingly written text will make fascinating reading for upper-level students taking a range of courses, including social work, social policy, the sociology of drugs, deviance and social control, and drugs and crime. It will also appeal to researchers and anyone working with drug and alcohol users looking for a level-headed analysis of the pleasures and pains, highs and lows, of substance use.


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1 Defining Drugs in Society
2 Drugs and Alcohol in Historical Perspective
3 Customs Cultures and the Experience of Intoxication
4 Drug Problems Abuses and Addiction
5 Governing Drugs and Their Users
6 Lifestyle Medicines and Enhancement
7 Drugs in a Culture of Intoxication

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About the author (2009)

Angus Bancroft is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh.

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