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Purpose – This study tracks the legal control of the problem of substance abuse.Methodology/Approach – The chapter explores the “natural history” of the evolution of the…
Purpose – This study tracks the legal control of the problem of substance abuse.
Methodology/Approach – The chapter explores the “natural history” of the evolution of the social construction of drug use and our collective response to it. Over the past 100 years, our understanding of drug use/abuse and the system for handling drug problems have gone through a series of changes. In the past 20 years or so, provision of treatment for drug offenders within the criminal justice system has rapidly expanded. California's recently enacted Proposition 36 (Prop 36) initiates for the first time on a mass basis the court-supervised drug treatment that began a decade earlier on a much smaller scale with the original drug courts. This chapter compares the Prop 36 program for diverting nonviolent drug offenders into court-supervised treatment with the original drug courts.
Findings – The research shows how court-supervised drug treatment has evolved from a personalized care program in the original drug courts to a mass processing operation under Prop 36. The research finds that the social problem solution of offering treatment to more drug defendants created its own unanticipated consequences and problems, including significant standardization in the operations of the court and a dilution of many useful features that defined the early drug courts.
Practical implications – “Farming out” drug defendants to probation and treatment makes case-processing and treatment potentially less effective therapeutically. The chapter raises questions about how social control can extend its domain without “breaking the bank” and what the consequences are for how social problems are handled.
The abuse of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) has become one of the most important social problems in modern society. AOD abuse causes untold personal anguish to the abusers and their families, is associated with high levels of crime, and the health consequences include death and disability. Billions are spent on treatment, prevention, and incarceration. The papers in this special issue focus on two key issues in the study of AOD abuse: etiology and treatment. Etiology is a key factor because it is the foundation for prevention and treatment programs. If the etiology of AOD abuse can be unraveled, abuse can be prevented and treatment can be effectively targeted. But, effective treatment also requires an understanding of how treatment works.
The theoretical model draws on the pioneering work of Spector and Kitsuse (1973, 1977) describing the stages that a social problem goes through. These stages are…
The theoretical model draws on the pioneering work of Spector and Kitsuse (1973, 1977) describing the stages that a social problem goes through. These stages are conceptualized as cyclical in nature, with stages repeated (in modified form) across multiple cycles. Although the model provides for multiple cycles, only the first two cycles were explicitly formulated in the original paper. However, consideration of the developments described in this collection requires that we consider additional cycles, and doing so allows us to expand the model beyond its original formulation.
The societal institutions for dealing with social problems are in a constant state of change. New problems are “discovered,” old problems are redefined, and new remedies are implemented (Peyrot, 1984). Each of these changes is worthy of attention in its own right, as are the larger trends within which these individual changes occur. Many of the contributions in this volume of Research in Social Problems and Public Policy address social problem solutions that are collaborative, interdisciplinary, and interinstitutional in nature. These contributions reflect a larger societal trend toward the medicalization of social control, especially the increasing role of mental health practitioners within the criminal justice system. Some contributions reflect an increasing social control function in institutions outside the criminal justice system, for example, the schools. In the latter situations, social control efforts can become routine features of institutional practice. Although such social control efforts may not increase the role of criminal justice agents per se in schools, they often employ school personnel in law enforcement and judicial capacities (e.g., campus police who enforce laws and campus regulations [especially related to students’ use of alcohol and drugs] and judicial administrators who adjudicate student (mis)behavior and mete out “appropriate” punishments [e.g., mandatory participation in campus alcohol intervention programs]).
The etiology and treatment of substance abuse are matters of great concern in applied social science. This special issue of the International Journal of Sociology and…
The etiology and treatment of substance abuse are matters of great concern in applied social science. This special issue of the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy consists of a collection of papers on these matters presented in regular sessions on Alcohol and Drugs of the American Sociological Association at the 1995 meetings. Also included are models for study of the progression of substance abusing careers and for the evolution of drug alcohol treatment developed by the panels' discussant and co‐editor of this issue, Mark Peyrot.
This paper examines the determinants of neighborhood readiness to engage in collective action for substance abuse prevention. Factors investigated include community…
This paper examines the determinants of neighborhood readiness to engage in collective action for substance abuse prevention. Factors investigated include community composition (characteristics such as SES, presence of children, racial composition), community context (drug problems and police resources), and community organization (formal neighborhood association functioning, informal neighboring, collective activities). Data were obtained from 188 community leaders who reported about their neighborhood, and census data were aggregated to the neighborhood level. Community composition and context factors had opposite effects on formal and informal neighborhood organization: SES was positively associated with informal neighboring and negatively associated with formal organization, while drug problem severity was negatively associated with informal neighboring and positively associated with formal organization. Yet, formal and informal organization were positively associated with one another, and both were positively associated with perceived readiness of the neighborhood to engage in additional drug prevention activities in the future.