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Drugs, Society, Effects & Risks

Julian Buchanan Victoria University of Wellington

Julian Buchanan

on 21 October 2015

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Transcript of Drugs, Society, Effects & Risks

Bancroft 2009 p.8
Drugs, Society, Effects & Risks
Perceptions of drugs

The definition of what constitutes an acceptable and unacceptable drug use is based more upon culture and politics than on pharmacology or science.

Our perceptions of risk, leisure and pleasure from drugs are culturally informed and constructed.

Alcohol - arguably the most dangerous drug - has been embedded and promoted as an appropriate expressions of socialisation, celebration, occasion, leisure and pleasure, whereas use of other less harmful drugs are prohibited and use is seen as dangerous and deviant.
legal medication
legal and
commercially promoted
substances not generally perceived as 'drugs' embedded in leisure, pleasure & occasion

Institute of Criminology
School of Social and Cultural Studies
Victoria University of Wellington
Te Whare Wananga o te Upoko o te Ika a Maui

Associate Professor Julian Buchanan
Socially Constructed Distinctions
Not classified as drugs
Michael Gossop 2013 (p.11&12) Living With Drugs

'Society would like us all to believe that our good drugs are all safe, or at least comparatively safe, whereas the bad drugs should all have sinister and dangerous effects. In this way, scientific questions about the actual effects of a particular drug become entangled with issues of personal morality and subjective beliefs.

This has led to some quite absurd pronouncements on the part of otherwise respected scientists and physicians: the need to justify their belief in the badness of certain drugs seems to have been so powerful that they have lost the ability to think straight on those matters. By presenting personal opinions and moral views in the guise of incontrovertible scientific fact they have done more than anyone to perpetuate the myths and misconceptions about drug taking.'
Nutt, D.J., King, L.A., Phillips, L.D., 2010. Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis. The Lancet 376, 1558–1565.
Drugs, Society, Effects & Risks
Buchanan, J (2010) Drug policy under New Labour, 1997-2010: Prolonging the war on drugs, Probation Journal Special Edition, Vol. 57 No.3, pp250-262 (extract p.259)
Amber Rose's Smirnoff Advert
Gossop, 2013:24
password: vuwdrugs
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