How do we understand drug use? How are drugs related to our social worlds? How should drug use be understood, approached and dealt with? Insightful and illuminating, this book successfully discusses drugs in social contexts. In an elegant manner, the authors bring together their different theoretical and practical backgrounds, offering a comprehensive and interdisciplinary introduction that opens up a wide scientific understanding moving beyond cultural myths and presuppositions. Powerful and engaging, this book discusses main questions within the field of psychoactive drugs research, such as: Why do people take drugs? How do we understand moral panics? What is the relationship between drugs and violence? How do people's social positions influence their individual involvement in drug use? This is an invaluable reference source for students on criminology, sociology and social sciences programmes, as well as students and drug service practitioners in social work, social policy and nursing.
Chapter 32: Drug Scares and Moral Panics
Drug Scares and Moral Panics
Moral panics occur when the behaviours of certain groups of people (youthful drug takers or the urban poor) are subject to intense negative attention via media reporting of a supposedly novel and escalating ‘problem’ among their number. The police then deal with the problem in a repressive manner in order to protect the wider fearful public. Drug scares are specific versions of a moral panic, with a drug thought to be inherently dangerous and risky at their heart.
Drug scares and moral panics are crucial to understanding how the 37 war on drugs has been waged with relative impunity from critics. Illicit drug use has long been framed as a profoundly moral issue, giving rise to popular ...