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Sociological Perspectives On Substance Abuse

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In today’s society, substance abuse is a serious issue that has many explanations as to why it occurs. Peer pressure, boredom, rebellion, etc., are all common examples of why a person uses drugs and alcohol but there is more depth to it. Individuals will often get blamed or judged on the actions they perform and do not usually think of society itself as a factor. There are relatively stable patterns of social relations that contribute to the values and decisions of humans. Three levels of social structures that surround and permeate us are macrostructures, microstructures, and patriarchy. The three main theories that are most relevant to substance abuse are functionalism, social-conflict, and symbolic-interactionism which only focus on micro…show more content…
Functionalism is usually analyzed as macrostructure which includes things like school systems and economic factors that can have an influence on substance abuse. From a functionalist perspective, someone can be using drugs and alcohol abusively based on issues in their social life. Society has this norm where people are required to work to be able to live comfortably independently. There are people who balance work and school which becomes stressful but they are required to work for financial support and they need education for a better future so they are forced to do it. With these heavy responsibilities, a person seeks leisure during their time off. A student in university for example has the weekend off work, after writing all their midterms attends a party where drugs and alcohol are available, easily accessible, and consumed because of factors like social acceptance or to fit in and to avoid the feeling of being an outcast while everyone else is under the influence. They reflect on the stressful week they just had with work and school so they seek alternative routes to happiness and try to cope with their stress and problems by temporarily being in a different state of mind because society projects that partying and substance abuse brings happiness. Later on it becomes a regret once addiction takes its roll. The problem with drugs and alcohol is that for many people it is acceptable. For many years,…show more content…
Those with the highest social standards financially, culturally or just socially in general are perceived as the most powerful and influential. Most crime shown in the media consists of minority groups which sometimes illegal substances are a factor. An example of a social-conflict theory influence on substance abuse is in the work force that includes the bourgeoisie versus the lower class proletariats. In the 19th century, there was a cultural hegemony in the work force between the white bourgeoisie and the minority proletariats. Lots of alcohol and tobacco were consumed by these white capitalists and today is socially acceptable. Today, there is not much difference; the whites are CEO’s and the minorities, usually immigrants with no chance of being more than proletariats, are the working class who are making their fair incomes, but their main task in the end of the day is to create the dream for the CEO’s. Many of these minority proletariats work long hours, contemplating their life, go home to their lower class neighbourhoods after a long day of work where these illegal substances are more likely available so they use them to cope with stress, while the capitalists are out legally drinking and having fun on their expensive vacations. Karl Marx, a famous social-conflict theorist believed that the only solution for an ideal
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