• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

In this Second Edition of his investigation into the relative nature of social deviance and how the public perceives it, author John Curra demonstrates that what qualifies as deviance varies from place to place, time to time, and situation to situation. Through thought-provoking examples that include the blue people of Kentucky, a woman who believes she is a vampire, autoerotic asphyxiators, and others, Curra illustrates that deviance cannot be explained in terms of absolutes, nor can it be understood apart from its social setting. This insightful book approaches sex, violence, theft, suicide, drugs, and mental disorders in such a way that definitive or objective judgments become impossible.

Drugs and Drug Taking
Drugs and drug taking
Introduction: The Social Reality of Drug Use

What is a drug? Get any textbook on drugs, look up the term, and you will find that it is defined as a chemical substance that when ingested alters or changes the functioning of the mind or body. A textbook definition of drug gives the impression—incorrectly, as it turns out—that drugs have uniform and universal characteristics that make it possible for them to be classified as drugs. The truth is that no single uniform feature is found in all the substances called drugs that differentiates them from all the substances called nondrugs, except that all drugs have been called drugs by somebody.

Some drugs, such as heroin, alcohol, Valium, nicotine, and caffeine, may ...

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