Explore BrainMass

Social and Psychological aspects of Drug Abuse

Explain, in your own words, how sociology and psychology influence drug abuse. Then describe the relationship between these two explanations of drug abuse and crime. Support your paper with examples found from the Internet

Solution Preview

Please see response attached, which is also presented below.


Drug abuse is often the use of a drug for a purpose other than that for which it is normally prescribed or recommended.

There are many psychological factors that influence drug abuse, including calming or exciting effects, escape from reality, search for awareness & mysticism, masking pain, blunting anxiety, fighting depression, escaping mental or physical deficits, lightening other burdens, improving performance, etc. Such drugs often require increasing dosage to obtain the same effect, leading to mental and physical dependence and possibly severe withdrawal symptoms with high risks (1) There are also social or sociological factors mentioned in the literature, such as culture, family and society, such as social attitudes towards drug use, availability of drugs, etc.). In other words, drug abuse is also a social disorder. Thus, both psychological and social factors both play a major role in drug abuse.. It is a dynamic interplay of social influences (e.g., peer pressure, social attitudes about drug abuse, availability in a given culture or sub-culture, etc.) and psychological factors mentioned above.

Connection between Psychological and Social Factors of Drug Abuse and Crime

Experts have discussed the complex connection between drug use, including both psychological and social influences, delinquency and crime for decades. Substance use/abuse and delinquent behaviour are often related, especially as either drug use or delinquency becomes more serious (2).

Sociological Perspectives of Crime and Deviance

Every sociologist describes deviance differently; depending on what theories they aspire to. Thus, many different definitions exist. Becker has been important to sociology because he encourages people to look for deviance 'up the ladder'. Despite what many people believe, deviance is not just about the lower classes of people. Deviance is at every level of society from political leaders and financial leaders all the way down to the perverts and prostitutes. At the same time Becker does not touch on these points and therefore, distorts the image of what deviance really is. White Collar crime is something that Liazos finds as true deviance because it often comes from people that we would not consider deviants. (Liazos et al, 1972). (3)

A study by the Chicago school of sociology (Becker) investigated in influence of culture of crime and involved "a programme of participant observation" after which they stated that "street gangs provided the main community for young offenders" this could be because a street gang possibly provides attainable goals or ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains how sociology and psychology influences drug abuse. It then describes the relationship between these two explanations of drug abuse and crime. It is supported with examples.