Alcohol vs Marijuana
There is no culture in the history of mankind that did not ever use some kind (kinds) of drugs. Despite the well-known consequences of drug addiction, millions of people constantly consume different legal and illegal drugs. Affecting people's mind and changing their behavior, drugs become one of the most threatening factors of social risk, resulting in increasing rates of mortality, aggressive and criminal behavior, and dissolution of social ties. This paper is devoted to comparison of social science outcome characteristics for two of the most commonly used drugs in the groups of legal and illegal drugs--alcohol in the first and marijuana in the second. It is argued that hardly any of two can be seen preferable over the other, and both have negative impact on the society through changing the behavior of individuals consuming them.
Social problems of drug abuse or, more correctly, substance abuse (Timmons & Hamilton), can be divided into two groups. The first consists of problems resulting from the phenomenon of drug addiction, which are similar for any kind of drugs that caused this addiction. The second has to do with particular patterns of changed behavior and medical problems affecting someone's social position, characteristic for different kinds of drugs both immediately after intoxication and in long-term perspective.
The symbolic interactionism theory does not depend on the drug but how people interpret the drug. Physicians may view a drug as a way to help people with an illness. Police usually see a drug (including alcohol) as a menace to society. Alcohol is usually accepted as a social interaction in the United States , as well as other countries.
Functionalism study drugs, not on if they are legal or illegal, but on the functions and dysfunctions it has in society. They also identify a latent function that is associated with making a drug legal or illegal. "To make a drug illegal is to strengthen the agencies that have been established to control them." The moral entrepreneur has a lot of power and money to make drugs legal or illegal, whatever is in their best interest. Conflict theorist emphasize how drugs are used as a political tool. They decide whether a drug is criminalized or not. The conflict theorists used the laws against the Chinese immigrants in the 1800's.
Continuous use of a certain drug results in the need to consume higher doses in order to achieve the same effect and by negative and painfully felt effects of sudden withdrawal of the drug. "The drug not only acts as a reinforcer, but sets the stage for the development of the motivation to obtain the drug." (Timmons & Hamilton). When this motivation develops, it becomes "...the major focus of a person's life to the exclusion of other activities"... and begins "...to harm the individual or others physically, mentally, or socially..."(Engs). This stage of drug abuse is known as addiction. Addicts become...