In this series of chapters in Righteous Dopefiend we gain incredible insight on the unique maintenance of relationships both inside and outside of the Edgewater Boulevard community. In Chapter 6, the ethnography discusses the struggle of parenthood as a dopefiend. We learn about the similarities and differences between fathers and mothers relationship with their children. The study shows that mothers maintained the ideas that they are supposed to be the protective, nurturing, and self-sacrificing and punished themselves when they could not live up to that role. Fathers typically aimed to "harden" their sons, teach them to show respect, and frequently accused women who though drugs and homelessness became "unworthy" mothers despite their own drug addiction and homelessness.
On the occasion that Edgewater addicts were able to see their children, men typically took a more masculine role, ensuring that their children respect them and their mothers and sometimes even resorting to abuse to show the children where they stand in the relationship. When mothers got a chance to see their children, they would excessively show their love for their children and frequently obtained help from them. Tina expressed her desire to see her children and raise and love them but showed remorse as she discussed her inability to be willing to show her children her lifestyle.
According to the study, both sexes loved their children unconditionally and spoke of them with great pride. Additionally, with the exception of a couple Edgewater residents, family ties were very important to the community. Many of them rely on the hope of reuniting with their children in the future. However, the main problem stopping them from this was their love affair with drugs. They continuously submitted to drugs over seeing and building ties with their families.
In Chapter 7, we discover the dynamics of relationships between men in the Edgewater community. Despite the strong negative feelings toward homosexuality, men frequently entered into relationships that resembled a homosexual relationship. They would defend these relationships as a partnership/friendship that was strong and trusting to take care of eachother. The ethnography illustrates Petey's necessity of a partner to shoot him up and take care of him. He initially enters the drug scene through Scotty who helps him use but later dies in Petey's arms from an overdose during the evictions. After the death of Scotty, helpless, Petey develops a relationship with Hank. Hank maintains dominance in the relationship using Petey's lack of knowledge on how to shoot up as a way to order Petey around. Hank has Petey panhandling and working for money. Once Petey collects enough money, he brings it straight back to Hank instead of using it himself. According to other homeless people in Edgewater, Hank even demonstrates dominance early on in their relationship through sex. Despite the inequality of the relationship, we come to understand that relationships like this are accepted on both sides because of the need to take care of each other and have an ally as such. We discover the true love they have for one another during their episodes in the hospital.
Through reading these chapters, I raise some questions about the culture of Edgewater and the lifestyle these homeless addicts live. With the governments constant attempt at removing the homeless from their areas, what do they think they are achieving? Isn't it a waste of money to continue to evict them when they just move to the next area? Why not just enforce the public health proposition and provide the homeless community with supplies to clean their surroundings once or twice a month? Additionally, are there any studies from the drug addicts' childrens' point of view of their parents' situations? Perhaps if we study both sides of the relationship we could further understand how they could help eachother. Finally, why is it that there is typically only two people involved in a running partnership? Is there a risk of having more than two?
In this series of chapters in Righteous Dopefiend we gain incredible insight on the unique maintenance of relationships both inside and outside of the Edgewater Boulevard community. In Chapter 6, the ethnography discusses the struggle of parenthood as a dopefiend. We learn about the similarities and differences between fathers and mothers relationship with their children. The study shows that mothers maintained the ideas that they are supposed to be the protective, nurturing, and self-sacrificing and punished themselves when they could not live up to that role. Fathers typically aimed to "harden" their sons, teach them to show respect, and frequently accused women who though drugs and homelessness became "unworthy" mothers despite their own drug addiction and homelessness.
Murphy and Rosenbaum's article "Two Woman Who Used Cocaine Too Much" illustrates the importance that social class, gender, and race play in the context of drug use. They describe two young females' patterns and consequences of crack and cocaine use, however, the stories are very different due to the differences of their lifestyles and upbringings. Monique is described as an underclass, African American living in the projects of San Francisco and Becky is a middle-class, white female who, at the time of her drug use, was living in her mother's four bedroom house in a nicer part of San Francisco. Their initiation into drug use was not so different-they were both introduced to cocaine at age 14-15 through friends but Monique's continued experience with the drug was largely shaped by her poverty, race, and gender.
Monique's experience with cocaine led her to smoking crack and when resources were scarce she was exploited into a position where men were able to exercise their power over the crack and manipulate her into performing sexual activities in order to score another rock. Living in the projects, crack was readily available as long as one was willing to do what it took to get it, and the craving that Monique had for it and her lack of economic resources placed her in the position to do what it took. Becky, on the other hand, had the privilege to not have to compromise her body in order to afford a bag of cocaine. Their life after using also differed substantially. Monique, once done smoking crack, was living in a homeless shelter because even after being done with drug use she had limited opportunities in creating a more conventional lifestyle for herself. Becky was fortunate in being able to keep her drug use private from her family and therefor having support from them when she decided to stop using. This shows the consequences that limited resources, gender, and race have in the context of drugs.
In Chapter 3 of "Righteous Dopefiend" the authors describe the integrated, yet very separate, community that the men of Edgewater live in. There is constant cooperation between the men in purchasing bags and further establishing networks of companionship between each other. They seem to have an unwritten code of never leaving a man behind who is legitimately sick in an effort to not lose a friend. They all try to have each other's back when necessary. Chapter 3 also describes the ethnic differences between the men in many aspects such as methods of drug use, fashion, and sexuality. For example, the "techniques of the body" differ between the African Americans and the White men-the former enjoying dabbling with crack and heroin and only doing so intravenously and the latter primarily only interested in heroin and preferring to skin-pop rather than sit around for 30 minutes to try and find a vein. Chapter 3 also paints a graphic picture of the pain and hospital trips that take place when things go wrong or their abscesses need attention....
1. What connections are there between the importance of race in the Edgewater community and Murphy and Rosenbaum's article?
2. What better methods of harm reduction could be implemented to help the men of Edgewater?
3. What roles do power relations play in drug use?
"Social Context and 'Natural Recovery': The Role of Social Capital in the Resolution of Drug- Associated Problems," by Robert Granfield and William Cloud presents evidence from a study conducted on 46 former addicts and uncovers some interesting data. The 46 individuals were former alcoholics and drug abusers that have treated their own addictions without any outside help or counseling. This method is referred to as 'natural recovery.' The authors argue that 'natural recovery' isn't exactly natural. Social capital has a vital role in the recovery of addicts that claim 'natural recovery'. Granfield and Cloud come to several conclusions. One of their conclusions is, "Individuals who possess life options and resources because of their social position tend to have a greater capacity for getting out of trouble with drugs." The composition of the research group was mostly white working to middle class males. Most research subjects had stable incomes and family lives in spite of their drug and alcohol use. This leads to Granfield and Cloud's next conclusion, "...peoples' ability to become immersed in conventional life and develop meaningful social relations is influenced by the pre-existing social capital they bring with them into their addiction as well as the amount of social capital they are able to retain through these dependencies." The authors claim this social capital significantly aided the addicts in their natural recovery.
Chapter three in Righteous Dopefiend by Philippe Burgois and Jeff Schonberg details the racial divides in the methods of using drugs. For example, amongst the white community, there is a feeling of supremacy over the black drug users because they use heroin versus crack and use a syringe to administer the drug. They consider themselves true drug users. Chapter three also paints the divide between blacks and whites more clearly when highlighting differences in emergency room tendencies and hygiene. Whites are more likely to visit the ER and according to the interviewees, they tended to be less clean and less interest in their physical presentation. This chapter also highlighted a lot of dialogue between the authors and the main "characters" concerning the struggles and complications that come with living on the street. Many of them experienced health issues with abscesses and the chapter shed a light on the health industry as well as law enforcement and their role in treating drug abuse.
Questions: The current methods for controlling homeless populations through law enforcement has not proven to be effective in Righteous Dopefiend and in the film The House I Live In and in other research, what is the reasoning stated by city governments for continuing these methods? Why did the study in "Social Context and 'Natural Recovery': The Role of Social Capital in the Resolution of Drug- Associated Problems," not attempt to include a more varied research group? Beyond social capital, what other factors help in 'natural recovery'?
Chapter four of Righteous Dopefiend goes into detail of the childhood lives of many of the characters in this ethnography. This chapter surprised me in many ways. The first was how different everyone's path was to addiction and the eventual homelessness that it perpetuates. I was expecting most of the stories to be similar to Hank's where they come from a home with an abusive father and all the children have severe mental issues leading to their eventual addiction. However, Hank's story was an isolated case of this. Many of the individuals came from loving, caring families. Many of these families still cared for and loved them as was seen in the African-American homeless on Edgewater Boulevard. Carter's mom still let him come home every once in a while and she would cook him meals and take good care of him. They still had a very loving relationship. The white homeless, however, experienced stark contrast to their current home life situations (a recurring theme throughout the book is the differences between black and white homeless). Many individuals like Frank came from a home with a nuclear family, where everyone else in the family was doing alright, except for Frank. Frank even was a point of having hundreds of thousands of dollars from selling dope to prominent bands such as Jefferson Airplane. However, it surprise me how fast he spiraled out of control into intense addiction and eventually homelessness. This is another lesson I seem to learn very frequently is that you can't categorize individuals by judging their appearances. Everyone has a different story and everyone is very unique. This leaves me with the question though as almost everyone does judge and label. Would labeling theory apply to the current cycle of addiction plaguing the Edgewater homeless? If not, what theory do you believe best applies to these homeless? or again is one theory better suited for an individual, such as dislocation theory of addiction with Frank, than it would be for someone else?
Chapter 5 of Righteous Dopefiend goes into detail about how these individuals obtain work and legitimate or illegitimate incomes. What didn't surprise me and as this chapter shows stable work of more than a year did not happen for most of the individuals on Edgewater Boulevard. Work was either seasonal or choppy with many of these individuals being fired from several off the records type of labor. What interested me is how much some employers were able to put up with these individuals addictions. It may me wonder were these employers doing it for altruistic reasons or for their own extrinsic reasons of cheap labor and saving money, or a level of both? Many of the laborers even paid for their heroin each day, so if we could regulate this through government where heroin addicts could come into work each day get heroin through clean, legitimate sources they could work and pay taxes. These heroin addicts while working could also slowly be weened off heroin everyday while coming to work. Do you believe this would promote self-efficacy among the heroin addicts to make other improvements within their lives? How would you feel if a program like this was implemented? Do you believe this would have a better impact on the economy, due to more individuals paying taxes and sucking less resources from the government (healthcare, crime, etc.)?
This chapter focuses mainly on the heroin usage that surrounds the Edgewater community and how it effects each of the "characters." It is clear in this chapter that the disease of addiction overrides the diseases the users could contract by sharing needles, and the dangers of unsterilized needles. It also brought focus back to race and how different racial groups tended to inject their drug of choice. The focus of the moral economy system was an especially interesting section of this chapter, as it shows a different side to drug addiction than some people see.
This chapter focuses on the family relationships each individual drug user has and their individual experiences growing up. The users relationship to their family differs from person to person; some still had a relationship with their families, while others were completely cut off. Once again the subject matter was tied back to race, and it consistently showed that African American and Latino users still had familial ties, while white users were completely cut off. I find it fascinating that race is a factor in this as well. This chapter also focused on the time period the users grew up in, which played a factor in how they all call Edgewater home now.
1. How has harm reduction campaigns effected the usage of dirty needles?
2. Is there a way to take the power relations that come along with drug use and make them into something positive and productive?
3. Why do African Americans tend to stay connected with their families more than white users?
<strong>The Two Women Who Used Cocaine Too Much
The Two Women Who Used Too Much Cocaine was a case study that interviewed to women and their abuse of cocaine. The case study examined the relationship between race, class, and gender. "Monique" and Becky started using alcohol and marijuana around the same age and started using cocaine around the same age. Each of the women experienced two totally different lifestyles while abusing the substance. Monique is a minority that experienced sexual abuse while using the substance because one she could no longer afford her habit and exchanged sex for attaining cocaine, two the drugs in Monique's community were readily available because the economic constraints in the community, and three Monique's family background was impoverished and lastly because the lack of privacy and high poverty witnessed in the urban area resulted in Monique being arrested. Becky on the other hand lived a nice middle class life. She was able to afford her habit because she was able to find employment based on her connections, her parents were affluent meaning they had both attended higher education and had adequate incomes, when Becky wanted to stop using she moved to another state with her father.
1. The case study examined race, class, and gender and the power relationship between men and women. Do you think that this case study was too extreme in examining the relationship of race, class, and gender?
2. Do you think the drugs influence the neighborhood or the neighborhood influences the type of drugs and the form of drugs that will be sold in a community? (Middle class has powder cocaine and low class has cocaine in crack form?
3. Based on this reading is it what you know or who you know?
Chapter three opens with a user, Felix identifying his struggle of having a drug sickness. What I found interesting is when Frank and Carter are describing the differences in the type of sickness that crack users have versus those of a heroin user. They describe crack sickness as more mental than heroin use which is more physical. I think I would prefer the physical sickness than the mental sickness but let's hope that never happens. This chapter was very interesting, especially the moral economy section. It talked about heroin users sharing which is cool to think about because rich people do not like to share unless they are forced to. Also the since of power that the users felt when exaggerating stories about the amount they can use at a given time.
1. Do you think rich people have something to learn from drug users on the lower soci-economic scale?
2. If everyone made the same wages do you think drug use numbers would remain the same?
3. Why do you think there is an existing power relationship with drug users?
The third chapter of Righteous Dopefiend focuses on the heroin usage of the Edgewater homeless and the effects it has on the users. While they all seemed to be aware of the dangers with sharing their needles and knew about all the safety precautions, the need to rid of the withdrawal symptoms always overrode the dangers of needle sharing. They also used water to clean them instead of bleach, which still seemed to prevent the spread of disease despite warnings from others. It also explored the different racial injection techniques. While the white users frequently "skin-popped" as a quicker fix, the African Americans rarely used this tactic and would search for a long time to find a vein and get the rush of pleasure.
The fourth chapter of Righteous Dopefiend gets into the familial relations of the homeless. Most of the whites in the book rarely associated with their families anymore. In contrast, the African Americans in the book frequently spent holidays and other events with their families and kept in touch with them regularly. While some of the people in the book seemed to have rough relationships with their family, they seem to take responsibility for their actions and don't blame their parents for their situation.
1. Why do the injection techniques tend to differ depending on race?
2. Why are the black users more connected to their families while the white users are rejected from their families?
3. What led to certain members of a family becoming users, while their siblings stayed clean?
In Granfield and Cloud's article they discuss how social capital, which is the benefits that an individual accrues from their personal contacts and associations that surround them, helps people recover from an addiction. Also, they talk about a study with multiple addicts who had a "natural recovery" which means they did not use a 12 step program or any other rehabilitation treatment. Their study consisted of 46 individuals who were formerly alcoholics or were drug-dependent. These people had individuals in their lives that would not give up on them and supported them through the rough times in which they went through. These addicts also had pretty stable middle class lives which allowed them to benefit from their social capital. Stability and maintaining their relationships played a large role in these addict's recoveries. I found this article extremely interesting and profound.
In Murphy and Rosenbaum's chapter called Two Women Who Used Cocaine Too Much interviews "Monique" who comes from a lower class African-American family and lives in public housing and "Becky" who comes from a white middle class family and lives in her mother's home. Both of these girls were in their late teens and Monique was smoking crack while Becky was snorting cocaine. The authors discuss the consequences that come with crack and cocaine and how they differ. Monique was prostituting and losing everything in her life, but Becky kept her job, friends, and was even in private school. Class, race, and gender all played a part in how these girls moved forward in their lives.
How come Granfield and Cloud did not do more research in finding addicts of a lower class?
Do you think a person who lives in poverty, but has some social capital could have a natural recovery?
Do you think the majority of society looks at addicts from lower classes as lost causes so there is no point in caring?
This article tells the stories of two different women who are both cocaine users. What's interesting about these stories is that both women, although close in age, are very different types of cocaine users and have very different consequences from using cocaine. "Monique" is a young lower-class black women living in some housing projects, and "Becky," is a young middle-class white women living in a 4 bedroom house with her mom. The authors are trying to show that class, race, and gender have an effect on the type of consequences cocaine users experience. They say that women can get a hold of cocaine easier by manipulating power relationships with male dealers and that class and race help determine the type of cocaine that is accessible. It doesn't seem that the authors feel that race determines consequences, but it has a part in determining the cocaine obtainable which has an effect on the consequences they experience. Middle-class women have more of an advantage because they have more obstacles to work through before they "hit bottom" than lower-class women who not only have less holding them back, but they have less help in staying on track as well. "Monique's" drug-use increased after she had lost her job and "Becky's" increased at work as she would do it with fellow coworkers. Both of their drug use was influenced because their cocaine use was considered "cool" and they didn't experience negative effects at first. "Monique" had less crack connections and she had to do more for her dealers to get what she wanted, whereas "Becky" had many connections and didn't have to exchange favors to get cocaine.
1. In "Monique's" case, it seems that a lack in productivity (loss of a job) contributed to increasing drug-use. For "Becky," it seems that social environment contributed to increasing drug-use.
2. I wonder what the results would be in a study that examined similar types of women who denied offers to use cocaine and what lead to them swing no to trying cocaine.
3. I wonder what factors actually motivated "Monique" to quit using even though things didn't seem to look up for her.
Chapter 3, "A Community of Addicted Bodies," traces how physical and emotional dependence on heroin creates a morally bounded social network of addicts. In line with the concept of moral economy established in the past two chapters, addicts are in constant flight from withdrawal symptoms. Because the Edgewater Homeless have all experienced dopesickness, they are willing to do favors for their peers--i.e. share heroin--with the expectation that the act of kindness will be reciprocated when they are next in need of a fix. Bourgois and Schoenberg examine how the bodies of the homeless display race and social marginalization, and how these characteristics lead to conflict among the homeless. This chapter also addresses public health and emergency hospital services, showing how status as a homeless drug user often leads to unethical medical practices, such as refusing to administer anesthesia to addicts for painful procedures or delaying their care in the ER. Finally, Bourgois and Schoenberg describe the chronic physical pain and emotional distress the Edgewater Homeless endure on a daily basis, from constant hunger and unsanitary conditions to the very real threat of violence from other addicts or the police.
Chapter 4, "Childhoods," explores the various backgrounds of the Edgewater Homeless, including the extent (or lack) of familial ties. Some of the homeless maintain relationships with parents and siblings while others have been completely cut off and have no idea where their families are. Interestingly, the nature of kinship relations is consistent within races--that is, for the most part, African-American and Latino homeless still maintained contact with their families, while white the homeless were largely ostracized by their family members. This chapter also places the childhoods of the Edgewater Homeless in historical context: They all grew up in working class San Francisco neighborhoods during the 1960s-70s and were highly influenced by the counterculture that found a home there.
1. HIV education campaigns clearly aren't that effective in convincing users to change their risky injection behaviors. Have other harm reduction methods been proposed?
2. If so, is their lack of presence in the realm of public health due to the government favoring abstinence policies?
3. What history of social behaviors associated with certain races could be contributing to the fact that African-American and Latino homeless were more involved and accepted by their families than their white counterparts?
In Two Women Who Used Cocaine Too Much, Murphy and Rosenbaum analyzed the different experiences and consequences of cocaine usage for two women based on their class, race, and gender. The first woman they studied was an African American woman from a lower class background named Monique. The other woman is white from a middle class background named Becky. There were three differences noted about these two women. For one, crack cocaine is associated with people in the lower class and powder cocaine was used prominently by the upper class. Secondly, due to limited resources Monique often resorted to selling herself for drugs because men hold more power in her situation. Becky on the other hand has resources available such as money and connections with multiple sellers. Lastly, Monique came from background where she was easily caught for using drugs. However, Becky did not get caught as easily because she was able to conceal her drug use. Based on these differences women from underclass backgrounds will face more consequences than women from middle class backgrounds.
In Chapter 3: A Community of Addicted Bodies, Bourgois and Schonberg also presented differences among black and white men from Edgewater Boulevard. Patriarchal power was often the issue. Black men appeared to be more sexualized, have more street power, and are less likely to seek medical attention. White men on the other hand were the complete opposite. They were less sexualized, have less street power, and were more likely to seek medical attention. This chapter also looked at the unsuccessful public health outreach approach of harm reduction. It was seen as unsuccessful because the program targeted middle-class people; a social class in which none of these homeless people belong to. Another reason why it was unsuccessful is because it shamed the people more so than helping them.
(1) Which one of these factors appears to be more problematic: race, class, or gender?
(2) Do you believe harm reduction will be more successful if the program sought to help the lower-class people instead of shaming them? Why or why not?
(3) If Murphy and Rosenbaum examined a white woman from an underclass background like Monique do you think they will have a different result to their study?
Chapter 3 talks about the moral economy of drug users. Many homeless drug addicts tend to find themselves living in little communities of people that they relate to in drug use. These communities can be very close socially, they may even consider some of the group members their friends. They look out for each other, even if sometimes its only because they know it will benefit them later on. It is very common for these addicts to share some of their drugs with certain, trusted group members because they know that later on when they can't find enough money and start showing symptoms of withdrawals that person will hopefully be there to pay them back.
Can you consider people in these communities "friends". After all, we are lead to believe in society that "friends don't let friends do drugs".
Chapter 4 is a bit different so far because it goes into the addicts childhood taking a look at the different family structures. I think it is very interesting that there are such huge differences among racial culture. This chapter talked about how in the african american community when one of their family members get into drugs they still associate with them. This could be because in lower income neighborhoods (with high african american populations) there is a high involvement with gangs and violence making drugs just part of the norm in that society. But when a middle class caucasian person gets into drugs the families tend to disown them. Probably because it isn't in the norm for them and they feel like its not something that should be happening.
When it comes to white families that live in poor neighborhoods with their children growing up in gangs, do the majority of families still disown their kid or does the culture outweigh the racial statistics?
"Two Women Who Used Cocaine Too Much," argues that demographic factors such as race, gender and class effect experiences with cocaine use more than the drug itself. It exemplifies this point through the perspectives of Becky and Monique, two cocaine users in their late teens. It is said that gender is a key aspect because women generally get their drugs from men, who are more likely to be selling. And the poor generally live in areas where it is easier to have access to more drugs. And racial minorities generally live in those areas too. They describe Monique's troubled past as she grew up in a single parent household and getting into trouble at an early age. Becky went to a private Catholic school, and surprisingly started smoking marijuana before Monique. Becky and Monique had very different experience with cocaine. Monique had very little money and often had sex with men for crack. Becky on the other hand socially used cocaine with her friends. In other words, Becky was a part of a "social scene". "Social Context and Natural Recovery" analyzes the social capital that these addicts possessed before and after their recovery without treatment. It was found that many with criminal backgrounds were more unable to recover without treatment. The article goes on to discuss how "approach methods" of recovery work very well. Users were able to stop their drug use with their desire to preserve social relationships, employment, etc. I found their experiment really interesting. It was really fascinating to learn the relationship between addiction/recovery and social capital.
1. Do these factors relate to all drug use? Or was their a particular reason cocaine was chosen?
2. Would the fact that both Becky and Monique were exposed to alcohol and weed early on in their life make them more likely to use cocaine?
3. Why would a criminal background make it more likely for one not to be able to recover without treatment?
'Two women who use cocaine too much" tell us the story of two young woman who have the unfortunate problem of being addicted to Cocaine. The first girl is Becky, a middle class caucasian. And the second, Monique, a lower class african american. While both girls share the problem of being addicted to cocaine, their stories are completely different. It starts with the drug itself. Like statistics show, Becky uses powder cocaine, like many other middle and upper class folks, while Monique uses crack cocaine, like is popular in lower class neighborhoods and like you hear about it african american rap music. It gets more personal when Murphy and Rosenbaum take a deeper look into their lives. Becky is able to hide her addiction behind her families wealth. She doesn't need to go out and sell her body to afford the drugs she craves unlike Monique. Becky still gets her comfortable life style and when off drugs has easier access to obtaining a job. Monique on the other hand ends up homeless and selling her body causing her more pain and anguish. It's interesting to see the differences between cultures, even though the drug is the same.
If Becky was all of a sudden thrown into the same situation as Monique, do you think she would have a harder time emotionally than Monique?
In 'Social context and natural recovery' Robert Granfield and William Cloud talk about the different reasons people quit and how people can be prone to quitting cold turkey. This reading actually interested me more than a lot of the other ones just because of the differing reasons behind quitting. They state that when a person has more to lose in life they have a higher chance of quitting their addiction, which makes sense. If a person is on the verge of losing their house, family or their job they have more incentive to quit than the person who already has nothing. The two oriented reasonings behind quitting cold turkey were, as Granfield and Cloud called them, avoidance oriented and approach oriented. Avoidance oriented means that a person will quit after having a negative experience around their addiction. I took one example of this to be a "bad trip". I have heard of people who try a drug and they have such a bad experience they never want to do it again. I imagine its something along those lines. The other one, approach-oriented, means different, important things in their life makes them want to change, whether it be their family or their job.
Which approach statistically is a higher motivator?
Is "having more to lose" than someone else really a factor when the end result is they could both lose the most important thing of all, their life?
The Granfield and Cloud article discussed the importance of social capital in helping drug or alcohol users achieve natural recovery. In this article, social capital was defined as the resources and benefits available to an individual as a result of personal contacts and relationships. Natural recovery was defined as recovering from drugs and/or alcohol use without the course of treatment. The data for this article was collected through interviews of 46 formerly drug- and alcohol-addicted individuals who overcame their dependency without help from treatment programs or groups. Their research showed that individuals who had access to employment options and social resources thanks to their social position had a greater chance of overcoming dependency trouble. Most interviewed individuals were from stable, middle-class lives. Many had stable jobs, which provided access to non-using colleagues and financial security. Furthermore, many individuals lived with a sense of obligation, afraid that they might disappoint their non-using friends. Finally, these individuals had access to (familial) relationships that provided emotional support and tangible resources to maintain a stable life. By maintaining these relationships, respondents were able to avoid "being out on the streets" and find successful employment opportunities. This article showed several implications for a harm-reduction approach for drug and alcohol dependents. It showed that recovery from misuse might be better achieved by focusing on enhancing the social capital and the circumstances within which users are found rather than focusing on the drug or alcohol itself.
1. What may be some of the difficulties in promoting a harm-reduction approach focused on enhancing a person's social capital?
2. What might be some realistic means of increasing social capital? Would it look different from a treatment/support group?
In the article by Murphy and Rosenbaum, the two authors explored the lives and circumstances surrounding two users from different economic and social classes. Monique is an African-American woman living in a public housing project. Becky, on the other hand, is white and from a middle-class family. The article displayed the stark differences between the two girls, based on class and race and the effect these had on the consequences of drug use. Becky was able to use her middle-class resources to get an education, maintain a form of employment, and avoid being discovered as a drug user. Monique, on the other hand, who had no available resources, had been discovered as a drug user, experienced the court system, and was rejected by her family for her drug use. Class also determined the kind of drugs that were available to each class. Poor women of color were physically and culturally closer to crack, whereas affluent whites had no idea where to find or buy crack. Furthermore, middle-class women had more resources available and thus rarely had to resort to prostitution for drugs. In addition, Becky and other middle-class women had a better time recovering from drug use, as well. They were able to find jobs and stay away from continued drug use. Poor women of color, however, had nothing available to them even after quitting. They were unable to find employment and had no prospects to help improve their circumstances.
3. What other variables might influence the circumstances and consequences of drug use?
Righteous Dopefiend - Chapter Three Summary
In this chapter the ethnographic team covers the physical and physiological harm that the Edgewater homeless have to deal with and some of the structural issues that exacerbate the damage. The begin by discussing the debilitating effects of dopesickness, or heroin withdrawal, which get ignored in favor of the immense high that they receive from injecting. This influences the "moral economy" among the different individuals and groups out of shared experiences with withdrawal. However, personal and community injecting practices and sexuality were affected by ethnic and racial identification, divisions, and stereotypes, but which were sometimes ignored for the greater good. The second half of the chapter focuses on the structural issues that affected the aforementioned social norms and cultural practices. The white homeless typically received medical attention more often, or really they needed more of it, because of their injecting practices (the skin popping). But taken together the Edgewater homeless found many barriers to adequate healthcare and living healthier lifestyles which exacerbated their unhealthy injecting practices. Health workers and public outreach failed to realize that their middle class health practices had no practical application for these lower class individuals. In addition, the constant raids by police took away many of their resources to live healthy lifestyles. The result is that they are always and constantly in pain.
1. Has public health policy changed in recent years to properly address the health concerns and barriers of the Edgewood homeless?
2. What sort of policing strategies should be implemented to ensure that they don't abuse the homeless or "less of home"?
Murphy and Rosenbaum Article Summary
In this article the authors cover the very different experiences two women had with cocaine use due to their differing race, class, and geographic space. That although the cover two stereotypical cases they point out that while this is by no means a accurate representation of all of the intricacies and dynamics of society it nonetheless shows several facts. Being white distances oneself from racial stigma and oppression, enables access to greater amount of economic opportunities, and reduced exposure to harder substances such as crack, whereas the opposite is true for being black. In addition, being a member of the middle and upper class allows more educational and economic resources which make it easier in controlling expenditures and avoiding drug related problems, whereas the opposite is true for being a member of the working class or poor. Most importantly, being female, in combination with the aforementioned factors, exposed the women to different experiences with men and in how their drug use was dealt with. The conclusion is that class and race have an immense impact on the context by which a person is exposed to drugs, affects their degree of use, and what sort of damaging experiences they are exposed to.
1. How would these experiences be changed if the women used exclusively heroin or other opiates?
2. In what ways can we combat the institutional barriers that were faced by Monique?
The most recent themes in our coursework, race, class and gender, have been most explicitly described in our readings. In the reading, Two Women Who Use Cocaine Too Much, it illustrates the role of race and class in shaping the cocaine experience of two different women. It describes the similarities in age and initial use for each woman, but distinguishes the experiences by the evolution of each woman's addiction. The author notes that as race has fallen into "typical" socioeconomic statuses, certain women of different races have very different experiences of the same drug. Monique, a poverty stricken women, maintains her addiction through sex trade for a rock and quickly becomes homeless as a result of her lack of resources. Becky, a middle class woman, on the other hand, is able to maintain a drug addiction that started at an age well before Monique's. Becky is able to rely on her resources, connections, and family support to maintain a drug addiction that will not put her out on the street. This demonstrates how the history of racism has shaped how women of certain races experience drug usage.
In the same light, chapter 3 of Righteous Dopefiend, the authors study a community of heroin users both white and black. This chapter illustrates the typical differences among whites' and blacks' drug habits. It describes how blacks are cleaner, more masculine, and more precise to find veins when shooting up. They wear clothes and strive for their style to match those of the hip-hop artists (their role models). They also are able to look to those hip hop artists ways of living to maintain their masculinity. Finally, they believe in the initial rush of hitting a vein rather than skin popping. On the contrary, whites tended to be much more disorganized, dirty, non-sexually active, and were not as concerned about hitting a vein when shooting up. Despite the differences in drug use and lifestyle habit of these addicts, the authors make it a point to illustrate the sense of community that surrounds these people. Throughout the study, while whites and blacks might mention that they don't usually associate with one another, when there was a need for overcoming dope sickness, pooling money to buy a bag, or calling for medical help, it seemed as though race dissolved and there grew a temporary partnership to get done what needed to be done. It was a mutually understanding among the community and if it was not respected that person might be ostracized from the group.
It was interesting to see how racism played a role in both readings. I wonder though, if Monique and Becky (with the same backgrounds and social class described in the reading) found themselves in a community that was similar to the heroin community of Righteous Dopefiend, would they have had different outcomes? Rather, if Becky, with her background, and Monique with hers, both ended up on the streets under a bridge using cocaine, would Becky's middle-class background be enough to help her out of that situation? Or if an addict gets that far, does the luxury of that background eventually dissolve?
I also wonder if it is difficult to gain trust from other users in a community similar to the one described in Righteous Dopefiend. If I were a user just wandering town and came across the camp, would I be accepted immediately or would I be excluded until I "proved" myself one way or another to be a member of the camp? How might might acceptance or rejection from the group affect my addiction problem?
Finally, if Becky had had the exact same background as Monique, how might simply her race have been beneficial to her addiction and homelessness? Would she have had to become a toss up like Monique or would her race alone prevent her from reaching that far?
The third chapter of Righteous Dopefiend is called A Community of Addicted Bodies. This chapter starts out by talking about the physical dependency that heroin can have on the body. Felix opens up the narration, with his journey of needing heroin before he can even process that he is awake. He gets the shakes and other physical symptoms early in the morning because he needs his heroin fix so desperately. The chapter then goes on to talk a bit about the history of heroin in the United States, in a section called The Moral Economy. I was surprised to read that heroin injectors brag about how much heroin they use, usually by exaggerating. If I was addicted to something like heroin, I wouldn't be bragging; I would probably be hiding in shame. But that is the difference between the kind of community I live in, and the one they live in. I found the section about using the hospital, and the other consequences of heroin (such as HIV) especially interesting to read, mostly because HIV and infections are sometimes forgotten when learning about drug addiction.
The fourth chapter of Righteous Dopefiend is called Childhoods. I had a feeling that this chapter was going to be particularly emotional, and would answer some of the questions I had during chapters one and two about where these addicts came from and how they ended up where they were. From the text, we learn that most of them grew up poor (with a few exceptions). They share common themes of poverty, racial struggles, gang activity, abusive or absent parents, and having nowhere else to turn. This reminded me of some of the theories we touched on in class, such as anomie. These people seemed to have grown up in a world without norms, and they may have turned to drugs to find solace. This chapter made me aware of my own privilege even further than I usually am, which is often a somber realization.
1). Where did the term "the moral economy" come from? What does it mean, in terms of heroin?
2). For those that came from less-than-poor backgrounds, do they ever regret ending up where they are? Or are these things outside of their control?
3). How has living with the anthropologists changed the way the addicts see themselves, and their community?
"Two Women Who Used Cocaine Too Much" was about two cocaine users Monique and Becky. Both women were in their late teens when they started using cocaine but they both had different backgrounds. Monique was poor and lived in a housing project. Becky lived in a nice four-bedroom house and came from a middle class family. Race and gender plays an important role in women drug use. African American women that are poor usually turn to performing sexual acts for money quicker than white women because the white women have more financially resources. Also when middle class white women quit using drugs they have a better opportunity of being successful because they have more resources to help them quit and they will return back to their middle class life. Most females start using drugs with friends or with a male. When Monique quit using drugs she was depressed and in a homeless shelter. She didn't have anybody to help her get her life back on track. When Becky quit she went to college and her mom was supporting her financially.
Chapter 5: Making Money
The chapter begins by explaining that most people in San Francisco used to make their money by working in the shipyards but once globalization happened the companies left and the jobs they provided. Most of the homeless drug addicts used to have jobs in manual labor. The homeless men would work odd jobs for the local business owners but were paid little money. The men would usually lose their jobs frequently because of their behavior which was drug related. Only a few businesses on Edgewater boulevard hired the African American homeless men and they usually only hired them if the white men where unavailable. The white men had different panhandling styles than the black men. The white men would beg people for money and the black men seen begging as undignified.
Does race have anything to do with the types of drugs used and the consequences it has on the users life or does socioeconomic background play the biggest role?
Since housing projects seems to be a main place where drugs are used and sold, why isn't anything being done to eliminate them and provide better housing options for the people living there?
Why is dignity so important to the black homeless drug addicts?
Murphy & Rosenbaum
In "Two Women who Used Cocaine Too Much," Murphy and Rosenbaum detail the experiences of two different women - Becky, a middle-class white teenager and Monique, a lower-class black teenager - who get caught up in cocaine use at a young age. The chapter explains the importance of the social and economic factors in shaping drug use patterns, experiences, and consequences. The authors propose and reiterate many times the existence of "protections" for Becky. For example, she had her own private room in her mother's house, connections to a decent part-time job, and more money and resources to "dissipate before [she] hit[s] rock bottom" (101). Monique, on the other hand, started smoking crack after using powder cocaine for a while and lacked the same "protections" afforded to Becky. Monique had been denied by her mother and spent some time in a group home. After she left, she had little money but was still addicted to crack, so she began to use her body - her only resource left - in order to obtain the drugs. Women usually get access to drugs from men (100), but the power relationships in the two situations are different. One of the biggest differences between the two girls' stories is the relationship between drugs and sex. Becky did not need to use her body when she wanted more drugs because she had other ways to get cocaine. Monique, with no money, was denounced a "rock house toss up" for performing sexual acts in exchange for drugs. She ended up having more damaging emotional and mental consequences than Becky did due to the different social contexts in which they used drugs. The reading lists various "protections" like money, job connections, and stable living situations - what are other "protections" not discussed by Murphy and Rosenbaum? Additionally, how might have Becky's story been different had she started using crack?
Righteous Dopefiend: Chapter 4
This chapter deals with the heroin users' childhoods and their understanding of their family dynamics. Overall, African Americans maintained continuing relationships with their relatives and family friends while whites often spoke of their "outcast statuses" with their families. Many of them were no longer welcome around most of their family members. The chapter went on to detail the specific childhood experiences of the book's "characters." Sonny recognized himself as being the "black sheep" of his family while still maintaining a close, caring relationship with his mother. He understood his situation as a drug user as his own choice and took responsibility for his homelessness. When relatives asked Sonny to live with them or get into a methadone maintenance program, he declined, rationalizing his homelessness as "evidence of masculine autonomy and control" (122).
The chapter also discusses socialization into drug use, crimes, and gang violence. None of the white heroin users (aside from Al) had been arrested for gang activity as adolescents, while all the African American users had due to their peers and social environments. Bourgois states that whites first got into drugs and crime and violence was a result of long-term, out of control drug use, but that the African Americans were "formed into professional outlaws before they begun to use drugs" (133), due to gang involvement and violence in their communities.
The chapter talked about the paradoxical love/abuse continuum and the way it complicates the relationships between users and their close friends and family - can you (and/or how would you) apply the idea of this continuum to other types of addictions or harmful activities that come between families? What would it look like?
Granfield and Cloud. Natural Recovery and Social Capital.
Granfield and Cloud examine "natural recovery" from substance abuse/addiction, and how it is connected to social capital and larger social structure. Natural recovery is a recovery from substance abuse without going through any official treatment programs, or "cold-turkey" recovery. While drug addictions and its recovery have seen as rather an individual actions, the authors in this particle argue that the will and availability of natural recovery is connected to the larger social structures. Also, natural recovery reflects avoidance-oriented recovery (in which one experiences a negative consequence of substance abuse) and approach-oriented recovery (in which recovery results from pulls by the conventional society), and drug addicts' paths to natural recovery highlights a combination of these two orientations of recovery. The analysis of people who naturally-recovered showed that social positions matter, and that social capital is unequally distributed throughout society. The authors argue that social capital is related to one's ability to connect to the conventional society, and more social capital one has, he or she is more likely to take the natural recovery path. For instance, someone who is more to lose (like a good job or good relationships with family members) by drug abuse and its negative consequence is more likely to quit using drugs. Social capital also provides emotional support for addicts who want to get out of addiction. Because social capital is unequally distributed throughout society, occurrence of natural recovery is also unequally distributed across class, race, and so on.
Murphy and Rosenbaum. Two Women Who Used Cocaine Too Much.
This article highlights the intersection of class, race, and gender in cocaine use among women. This article is based on two case studies, however, it shed lights on how the intersection of class, race, and gender create different ways of drug use and recovery. For instance, to obtain money or drugs, Monique (a black poor woman) sell her body; while Becky (a white middle class woman) has access to work and money so she doesn't have to sell her body to obtain drugs or money. The kind of cocaine they use also differ. Monique uses crack while Becky use powder cocaine and weed. This difference is influenced by the social structure and class. Crack cocaine was first introduced in the urban areas (especially ghetto), and its use was rather contained in these areas as poor blacks often deal these; while powder cocaine is more expensive, and dealt at some affluent areas. Also, class influences one's ability to hide drug use. Becky who lives with her parent has her own room, and is able to conceal her drug use, especially from police; while Monique uses drugs in more public spaces where police could easily find and arrest. Also, while Becky was able to get off drug use and has a job, Monique lived in a homeless shelter and while staying away from drugs, there was a high possibility of reusing. These differences are produced by class differences (and its intersection with race and gender). (This article highlights Granfield and Cloud's argument about social capital.)
1. How would social capital related to dislocation theory?
2. How would social capital thesis be highlighted on Righteous Dopefiend?
3. How would social capital thesis differ from control theory tradition? (Since social capital and social bonds seem to be similar, I wonder how they differ or similar to one another)
4. Based on social capital thesis and illustration of two women using cocaine, how would you approach to change drug policy?
In chapter 3 of Righteous Dopefiend there was a clear focus on the moral economy of the community under the I-beam and the idea of dopesickness, or the withdrawal from their specific form of opiate. This chapter also included the culture of addiction, such as the dopefiends injecting one another when one was going through a withdrawal, and the racial and individual differences between them. Sometimes these differences need to be put aside and the members of the group have to work together to get through their struggle together, as a sort of support group. One of the main difference between the races when it comes to the culture of their society, is the way they go about doing their drugs. Whites are very unsafe and lucrative when they go about injecting themselves as opposed to the blacks that tend to take their time injecting and leave less of a mark on their bodies.
In Two Women Who Used Cocaine Too Much the authors argue that class, race, and gender are more important in shaping the experiences that cocaine users have with using the drug, instead of the actual drug itself. A very dominant aspect of this idea is the class that the woman belongs to because she will have to expend more resources before she officially hits "rock bottom". There were a few differences that put the two women, Becky and Monique apart from each other when it came to their drug use. One of these things was that Becky had the ability to conceal her drug habit from parental and institutional supervision.
What are some other reason that Becky was better off in her drug habit than Monique?
What do you think the differences between middle class women and upper class women might be?
Do you agree that the drugs are not the problem when it comes to the consequences and that the race, gender and economic class are what matter?
Murphy and Rosenbaum
In 'Two Women Who Used Cocaine Too Much', the authors record the experiences of two cocaine addicts. Monique's cocaine addiction was overwhelming and resulted in her exchanging sexual favors for hits of cocaine. Becky was able to maintain a job and bought cocaine with her friends. She even got high while on her shifts working at a coat check. The differences between the two women were their race and social-economic status. Monique was African-American and lived in public housing. Becky was white and middle class. These different backgrounds and races played a role in how their lives turned out, even though they used the same drug. Before getting into cocaine, Monique grew up in public housing and never knew her father. She was neglected by her mother and was eventually placed into a group home. Becky lived in a middle class suburban home and attended private school. Becky also grew up in a single parent home after her parents divorced. Both Becky and Monique had similar first experiences with cocaine. They both did not experience the high, but continued to use because there were no negative consequences in doing so. However, their racial and social-economic status differences made cocaine more available to Becky and crack more available to Monique. After deciding to quit cocaine, Monique went to a homeless shelter. Becky moved to Hawaii and went back to school. She also quit drinking and smoked marijuana less frequently. The authors concluded that the economic status and race of the two women affected the outcome of their drug use more then the actual use of the drug.
Would the results have been different if it had been an middle class African-American woman and a low class white woman?
What are ways that the lower class can escape the repetitive cycle of drug abuse?
The chapter begins by covering the moral economy, which describes how the addicts will share and offer drugs to one another knowing that the other person will owe them sometime in the future. The authors described how they would often do non drug related favors for each other as well in order to get a share of heroin. Addicts also had a sense of pride when it came to how much heroin they used throughout the day. Racial stereotypes of certain drugs still existed on the street as well, although all races used the same drugs. The researchers observed a difference between black and white men in terms of their sexual performance. The black men tended to gravitate to the heterosexual persona that was portrayed in hip hop. They publicly looked for sexual partners and even engaged in relationships. On the other hand, most of the white men did not pursue sexual activity, but merely reminisced about it.
Where do the resources used to treat the homeless and drug addicts come from? Is the emergency room described government funded?
In the readings for this week Two Woman Who Used Cocaine Too Much by Murphy and Rosenbaum, it showed the reader the personal view of Monique and Becky. Who would sell her body for drugs. Like the readings that we have done before from the book "Righteous Dopfiend" by Bourgois. In Two Woman Who Used Cocaine Too Much by Murphy and Rosenbaum, it portrays many of the similarity in drug abuse, but it does give the reader a narrower focus on the female's experience. In the reading by Murphy and Rosenbaum, it argues that class, race, and gender are an important role in the experience and consequence of using cocaine. Which I thought was an interesting intersection study on cocaine. I do feel "sickened" and sympathized towards Monique, because she was an example of a worst case scenario in the case of cocaine abuse. She was a black woman, and was from the under-class. Thus causing her more strain and stigma as a woman who is living with an addiction to drugs.
One thing that also was surprising in the reading to me was that both Becky and Monique weren't addicted or like cocaine at first. Due to the fact that they both didn't know what to expect from snorting the drug and didn't know how to appreciate it. Thus leading me to think about the study on "marijuana getting high." How there was a study on getting high by smoking weed. Which was a learning process for the user, because for the first time users, they wouldn't know when they are high. Part of that was what to expect of the drug until many uses later.
A question from about this reading is that Monique's addiction was found out by her mother and the court system at the age of 15. Why wasn't anything done to prevent her from using drugs? Also does class have to do with not getting her treated?
In the reading Social Context and Natural Recovery by Granfield and Cloud, they explored the natural recovery of the misuse of drugs such as alcohol and cocaine. In this article, it gave my statistics(numbers) of many studies. One theory that they look upon that strike me was the "avoidance initiated recovery(avoidance-oriented) where the person who is experiencing negative consequences of a drug stops using it. It sort of reminds me of the pre-cognition of the human mind. Where if we were to ask a person why they are doing something pertaining certain stigmas and consequences, that they would stop doing it.
-getting marry, getting a job, new relationships could also be part of the (avoidance-orientation)
-Bottom-hitting event was also a way for people to use drugs.
-The idea of social capital in "maturing out" of crime was also in interesting idea of natural recovery from drug abuse.
-The study by Granfield and Cloud was on 46 participants (21 cocaine addiction-25 alcohol) via semi-structured 2-4 hrs interviews.
My question for this article was "what are the benefits of this study for the people who participated and the general public?"
Righteous Dopefiend- Chapter 3
More than simply the addiction to a drug by a person to satisfy psychological cravings, is the harsh reality of the necessity of the drug to be used by that person to reduce withdrawal symptoms, physiological disorders and return to a state of optimum functioning. A Community of Drug Addicts, thus, is not created out of pure interest for drug consumption, but more as a support group. Chapter three of the book deals with understanding the characteristics of such communities, on how people behave and interact with one another, and what are the key differences amongst them. Addicts find it their moral responsibility to help other addicts to reduce the pain of withdrawal symptoms and physiological dysfunction, by raising money to buy dope and other drugs to treat and satisfy their cravings and needs. Within these communities, are racial behavioral differences in treatment and consumption. The key primary differences the authors pointed out how whites were more disorganized and rash in their drug treatment and injection, causing more harm versus African-Americans, who took their time with injections, and caused relatively less harm. Another difference was in the cultural influences for these groups. Whites had a hard time proving their masculinity and stature,because there weren't many role models for them to look up to. African-Americans on the other hand, were influenced by hip-hop culture, and it gave them something to look up to. Some other factors such sexual performance,gender roles, medical help,networking and so on, were also distinguishable within these communities among racial lines.
Righteous Dopefiend-Chapter 4
A vital part of the life of drug addicts is how their families reacted to their condition, how their families supported or severed ties with them, and how this in turn, impacted their behaviors. The authors,in their research, found vital differences in family dynamics and coping,across racial and gender lines, to the idea of their loved ones being homeless and addicted to drugs. Within these distinctions, the authors recalled stories of both affectionate and forgiving families,stating the example of Sonny,but also abusive and manipulative families, when in particular talking about Tina. Gender roles did play a role in each case, with Sonny playing the role of a protector for his family, whereas Tina was a caretaker, but did not receive adequate reciprocation. For the most part, the addicts had little to no contact with their family members, and the rare circumstances that they did have contact, was due to medical emergencies. Here as well, the division along racial lines meant that whites were less bonded with their families,than were African-Americans and Latinos. There are also the dynamics of the gender roles and behaviors of the mother and father in these families. In Latino households,for example, the mothers would bear the burden of their sons' homelessness, destructiveness and the pain that comes along with resorting to patriarchal system of family relations. The fathers, were more overpowering and abusive in their behavior. All these factors affected the psychological mindsets of homeless drug addicts.
Chapter three titled A Community of Addicted Bodies, begins with a description of the "moral economy" of drug sharing, which describes the comradery between the Edgewater homeless and their willingness to help each other stave off dopesickness by sharing their heroine with one another, a point that Bourgois and Schonberg later relate back to their likeliness to take part in risky drug practices like sharing syringes. A significant part of the chapter is dedicated to the techniques of injection, particularly the ways that they vary racially and the health concerns surrounding heroine injection. Bourgois and Schonberg explain the many ways that the United States health care system does not help and can even hinder the health of the homeless. A major concern with heroine injection mentioned in this chapter is the development of abscesses associated with "skin popping" a technique used primarily by the white men that involves shooting heroine under the skin rather than intravenously. This can cause infection that eventually leads to an open wound and in some cases flesh eating bacteria; one man mentioned had maggots living in his abscess. Something that really struck me in this chapter was the fact that some surgeons will operate on an abscess without using anesthesia or pain killers because they view the wounds as self inflicted and therefore not worthy of normal standards of practice. I found this incredibly upsetting; while I can understand the frustration especially since these people don't have insurance and can't afford to pay for treatment, removing huge amounts of skin without any sort of pain reducer is outrageously inhumane and isn't doing anything to get at the source of the problem. The way these men are treated by mainstream society is truly heartbreaking, and Bourgois and Schonberg bring up some very important points about our flawed system that spends more time and effort taking away their syringes and blankets than helping them survive. They also give an interesting perspective on harm reduction, while of course it's better than doing nothing harm reduction focuses primarily on educating addicts about what they can do to prevent serious health problems. Treating addiction in this way is assuming that these people are rational actors and should be held "morally responsible for choosing a lifestyle that avoids risk" which is over simplifying the problem and in many ways shames them for their supposed "choices". Chapter 4 was an interesting perspective on the early lives of the Edgewater homeless, it describes the childhood and young adulthood of some of the men (and Tina) most of whom were raised in dysfunctional and/or abusive homes. I think that this is an important backdrop for the study, it is fundamental in understanding how these people wound up addicted to heroine and living on the streets.
Some questions that I found myself wondering while reading these two chapters were:
As researchers how did Bourgois and Schonberg manage to keep a clear boundary between themselves and the homeless? Especially in the face of some very serious health concerns, I really wonder how much they did to ensure the men's safety.
How did the medical professionals get away with refusing to treat the men? or worse how did they get away with treating them in such inhumane ways? I wonder about what laws (if any) exist to protect the health of the homeless.
I also found myself wondering how the Affordable Care Act might change our policies surrounding health care for the poor and homeless, and how that might change societal views on healthcare for the homeless in the future. As a society we don't currently seem to view the homeless as human beings worthy of medical care.
In chapter 4 of Righteous Dopefiend, a number of drug users are interviewed on their childhood. They describe their relationships with their families and how their drug use has impact those relationships. A number of individuals no longer keep in contact with their families and have become disconnected with them because their usage has taken over their lives. Some, on the other hand, remain in contact with their families but their drug use has clearly put strain on their relationship. There appeared to be a connection between race and family relationship attainment. African Americans tended to maintain their relationships with their families throughout their addictions, while whites did not.
Why do you think whites did not maintain relationships with their families and blacks did?
Do you think race and socioeconomic status played a part in family relationship attainment amongst these individuals?
Why might these families choose to either maintain or discontinue relationships with their addicted family member?
The article Two Women Who Used Cocaine Too Much, followed two young girls, Becky and Monique who got caught up in the life of crack and cocaine, but endured opposing experiences due to their socioeconomic status and race.
Becky grew up in a white, middle-class, suburban neighborhood and became involved in cocaine due to the influence of working coat check at a club, and easy access through a male employee. Although she used cocaine on occasion, it didn't effect her long term life-style. She was able to maintain a job and a relatively normal life. She was also never exposed to crack cocaine anytime throughout her drug-use. After moving away from her old lifestyle she was able to continue pursuing her goals and easily kicked the cocaine habit.
Monique on the other hand had been exposed to cocaine at an early age and thereafter was exposed to crack cocaine in which she began using in the exchange of sexual intercourse. Monique was an African American that had grown up in a low-class urban area and had lived in the projects throughout her entire life. Her and her family did not have much money and she did not receive support from her family growing up.
What kind of influences on their drug use did Monique and Becky share?
How did race effect each girl's drug use independently?
In what why have men influenced the girl's drug use?
In their article Two Women Who Used Cocaine Too Much: Class, Race, Gender, Crack, and Coke, Murphy and Rosenbaum show that class, race, and gender are the most important factors in shaping ones experiences and consequences with drug use. The authors describe two different stories of crack and cocaine use, one of an African American girl living in poverty and a white girl living within the middle-class. Murphy and Rosenbaum explain that race and social class are key because they influence geographic location and a persons access to drugs. Also a middle-class woman who uses will have more resources to sustain their life style, whereas a women living in poverty that uses will not have these resources and will be forced to engage in illegal acts to maintain their lifestyle. The authors conclude "individuals who possess life options or have a stake in conventional life tend to have a greater capacity for controlling their drug use or for getting out of trouble if they don't."
The Granfield and Cloud article entitled Social Context and "Natural Recovery": The Role of Social Capital in the Resolution of Drug Associated Problems, shows the role of social capital in the "natural recovery" of self-remitters. The authors interviewed several addicts who quit without the assistance of treatment to see what was instrumental in their transformation. Granfield and Cloud found that individuals who had stable lives (jobs, financial status, etc.), who had obligations to others that increased their motivation to act in certain ways, and who maintained the relationships they had before, during, and after their drug use possessed greater social capital than others who did not had these. These aspects of social capital were key to the addict's recovery. The authors conclude that social capital is distributed differentially amongst drug and alcohol users and that those who possess larger amounts of social capital will be more likely to need less intrusive forms of treatment.
1. Both the articles focus a section about a person's social capital or stake in society, why do drug treatment centers/groups not take into account the benefits these can have on a person's recovery?
2. What potential social policies could come out of Granfield and Cloud's findings? Do they fit into the ideas of harm-reduction?
3. Can we transform communities to be a place where a person can hold social capital?
In chapter three of Righteous Dopefiend, "A Community of Addicted Bodies", Bourgois and Schonberg focused on the culture of addiction and the racial and individual differences between the addicts under the I-beam. Under the I-beam and surrounding areas, there was a general understanding that helping, in the case of dope sicknesses, came before most feuds and personal differences. They also found racial difference between addiction such as crack being the black man's drug despite periodic use by whites. The authors also looked at teh methods of administering used by whites and blacks. Blacks rarely "skin-popped" and would spend hours searching for a suitable vein. This focus on administration to the vein resulted in more intense highs but also more blood-borne disease. Whites often "skin-popped" rather than searching for the elusive vein. While this reduced the time necessary for getting high, this often lead to large abscesses.
In chapter three of Righteous Dopefiend, "Childhoods", Bourgois and Schonberg focused on the relationships the addicts had with their families. Most of the addicts underneath the I-beam came from lower-class neighborhoods, often from up the hill. Despite the similar socioeconomic backgrounds of the addicts, the level of acceptance by their families differed. They found that black people and Hispanics were often still included and accepted by their families. They often spent time at a family member's home. Whites, on the other hand, were rarely still accepted and included by their families. They were reluctant to even contact their families when they were sick.
1. How did the family members of the white addicts react when they were contacted by Bourgois and Schonberg for interviews?
2. What do Bourgois and Schonberg think are the best methods for harm reduction?
3. Do the authors think that the amount of resources being used to treat the repeated self-mutilation injuries of the addicts at the hospital is ethical?
Aside from the intimate apartheid, the racial segregation which was introduced in chapter 1, chapter 3 introduces the topic of dopesickness and its moral economy. Dopesickness is withdrawal from opiates. When a close member of the community would go through or begin this withdrawal, other members would usually inject a small amount of the drug into them. This system would try to aid each other from going through these withdrawals. When these individuals begin to have a bad relationship with one another, this system begins to break down. Does this system create a stronger community between the addicts? Or will it eventually create greed, knowing that the individual would receive a small dose of substance if he starts to go through a withdrawal? (Wouldn't have to find his own drugs, and relies on others for it.) Is this system strong enough to break down the racial barrier?
This chapter focuses on the childhood or early life of Edgewater Boulevard residents. Several individuals were interviewed for this chapter, which showed the wide variety of backgrounds that many of these individuals came from and the different factors that lead to them becoming drug addicts, while all of them coming from a bad childhood. Some had a great relationship with their family, some stole from their parents, and some haven't seen their parents. Do the types of relationships with family cause addiction? Location? Or both?
Hey class I am not certain if this is true but I ran across this today.
Chapter 3 - A community of addicted bodies
Chapter 3 discusses dopesickness and how the moral economy within the group represents a safety net from becoming dopesick. Everybody who used heroin had been dopesick multiple times, and when someone was dopesick there would almost always be somebody else giving them a small fix to delay the sickness. Dopesickness was a common enemy that everyone could come together to fight. But if bad blood came between members of the group, such as when Frank and Felix stopped being running buddies, they might not help the person out of a sickness. The chapter also discusses intimate apartheid, or racial segregation, among users, and Al's rejection of the segregation. It seems that heroin users liked to stick with people who had similar attitudes about injecting, similar demeanors while high, and similar levels of trustworthiness. Health issues are brought up in the second half of the chapter, and Hogan's various emergency room visits are detailed. Hogan's abscesses land him in emergency room surgery multiple times, and he says twice that he wishes he would have been kept at the hospital longer. While our interpretations of these experiences in Righteous Dopefiend are limited to what is written on the pages, I must ask this question: do these addicts ever hesitate in performing the destructive behaviors of heroin injection? They have all been using heroin for years, sometimes decades, except for Tina. It seems very troubling that everyone is so ok with being trapped within this subculture. Do they have no desire to get off heroin? Or do they think they don't have the strength to cut the opiate out of their lives?
Chapter 4 - Childhoods
This chapter on childhood discusses what early life was like for the residents of Edgewater Boulevard. They all had troubling childhoods, but they also had unique life events that influenced their addictions. Some had good relationships with their families, while others hadn't seen their parents in decades. Sonny and Carter reminisced together about their own separate times at Log Cabin, a juvenile correctional facility in San Francisco. Most of the residents at Edgewater Boulevard spoke respectfully of their mothers, although Felix's Highway Patrol brother revealed that Felix stole from their mother to buy heroin.
Frank and Tina both consented to interviews with family members; these were great sources to get more information on the addicts' childhood, and to confirm or deny various stories told. Tina talks about her experiences as a child, primarily her first experiences with witnessing sex work within her house. And Frank spoke with his dad for the first time in 15 years, mainly about their relationship and where things went wrong. Frank spent the entire interview seeking approval of his father, although he did not receive much.
Did Tina ever think she could do something different with her life? Or did she feel destined to prostitute herself because she saw it so often as a child? And did Felix truly forget that he was stealing from his mother to buy heroin? Was he strung out each time he stole furniture? Or maybe he has blocked that memory out of his mind due to his desperation to please his mother?
Granfield and Cloud - Social Capital & "Natural Recovery"
This study conducted by Robert Granfield and William Cloud explores the association of a person's social capital and their ability for "natural recovery". Natural recovery is the cessation of alcohol and drug use without formal treatment groups or programs. Many related studies have shown that natural recovery can be more promising than treatment or 12-step processes. The authors are drawing on the thesis that life circumstances pose a greater barrier to effective self-change. They begin by defining two recovery routes taken for natural recovery. The first is avoidance-oriented. This is when individuals experience negative consequences of their substance abuse; often referred to as "hitting-bottom". The other route is approach-oriented. This is when the pulls of the "good" life are exemplified by value systems like work and stable living. Jobs, families, friends, responsibility and religion are all "pulls" in approach-oriented recovery. Granfield and Cloud states that self-change is strongly associated with the ability to reflect on the costs and benefits of continued use. Their study examines the role of social capital which is described as the sum of resources an individual has of relationships and recognition. They conclude that one's social structural position and associated social relations mediate the ability to experience self change. Having stable environments provides users with the opportunity to witness the consequences of excessive use.
Murphy and Rosenbaum - Social Class vs. drug experiences
This chapter by Sheigla Murphy and Marsha Rosenbaum, reflects on the experiences of two women in their study regarding how race and class effect drug experience. The thesis of this section is to show that race, class and gender are important in shaping different experiences and consequences of use. To understand the consequences of cocaine and crack we have to understand the differences in the setting of use. Studies have shown that women, including the two mentioned in this chapter, gain access to cocaine and crack principally through men. As well, poor minority women live in areas where certain drugs are more available. Class is a crucial in determining aspect of the context or setting of drug use. Their study reveals that middle-class women have more resources to pull from before they "hit bottom". Whereas, poor women with fewer resources are more easily coerced into trading sex for drugs. The two women referenced in this chapter are Monique and Becky. Monique is a Black American from a poor neighborhood and Becky is white and middle-class. Monique's experiences with crack may have started the same as Becky's but the following consequences of her drug use are very different. Monique is forced from her home, stigmatized, forced to trade her body and ultimately arrested. Becky was able to maintain a "normal" lifestyle, she was able to use her drug in private and never had any legal consequences. Murphy and Rosenbaum's concluding statement is that though drugs can affect anyone from any race or class, those who have more life options (middle-class) have a greater capacity for controlling their drug use or for getting out of trouble.
1. How does Bruce Alexander's dislocation theory apply to Becky's story?
2. This study makes it sound like crack does not exist in middle-class white areas. Didn't we learn that whites were twice as likely to use crack?
3. How does race affect "natural recovery"?
The first chapter of Righteous Dopefiend discusses the race relations present among the crack and heroin users on the streets. While the camp the ethnographers visited was originally occupied by white people and one Latino man named Felix, the presence of one black man named Carter led to a shift in the racial make up of those in the area, until eventually all of the white people had moved away from the area. While different race groups don't tend to get along very well, everyone is surprised by the strong friendship that occurs between a white man, Al, and a black man, Sonny. While they have betrayed each other at times, this behavior seems common among the other drug users in the area.
The second chapter mainly focuses on an African American crack user named Tina and her romantic relationship with Carter. Tina has a long history of physical and sexual abuse starting from her childhood. On the streets, she goes into outbursts in order to get people to stop messing with her, as there is a high level of violence against women on the street. Carter and Tina both take care of each other, and have to steal things and resell them in order to get by. Towards the end of the chapter, Tina reveals that she has recently started using heroin, though she seems ashamed of her actions.
Why is Al and Sonny's friendship so easy for them to maintain, but so difficult for others to understand?
How was Stretch's sexuality perceived by the rest of the community, or did he have to hide it from them before he left the camp.
Did Tina act with the same sense of shame when she first started using crack, or was that an acceptable drug to use in her mind?
The Dislocations Theory of Addiction chapter explains Alexander's theory on addiction, which revolves around the idea that one must have some attachment to society in order to live a healthy mainstream life. Alexander insists that we must develop an interdependence with society in order to feel like we belong in the social world, and when we don't we can become dislocated. He also argues that our quickly globalizing free-market society encourages individualism and competition, which in turn produces mass dislocation. For those of us who do not achieve psychosocial integration it may seem necessary to devote ourselves to an alternative lifestyle as a replacement for integration or a way to adapt to dislocation. These substitute lifestyles according to Alexander often lead to self-destructive behavior and addiction when the individual cannot cope with dislocation. Alexander says that the dislocation theory does not medicalize addiction; does he believe in medicalized treatment as a potential solution? Does this theory apply to treatment or just as a causal explanation? I also wonder what other aspects of society might contribute to dislocation.
The introduction to Righteous Dopefiend by Philippe Bourgois and Jeffrey Schonberg describes the book as an ethnography that aims to explore the lives of drug users living in poverty and the "large scale power forces" in society, in order to understand why addiction is such an enormous problem in the United States despite our wealthy and powerful global status. Their goal is to portray the reality of life on the streets for these heroine addicts in order to gain a deeper understanding of the social forces at work. The chapter begins by describing the day to day lives of some of the homeless heroine addicts living under the freeway systems in San Francisco, and their never ending search for another fix. It gives us an overview of what life on the streets entails for the Edgewater community of homeless addicts from a firsthand source.
Chapter 1: Intimate Apartheid discusses the ethnic and racial tensions of homeless drug addicts in San Francisco. Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg describe the segregated black and white homeless encampments, while also acknowledging that racism was treated as self-evident and acceptable. White drug addicts abandoned an encampment "to escape from the niggers" (36). Although the authors acknowledge widespread racism with blacks and whites, they reveal that the two groups needed to interact in order to buy and sell drugs. Additionally, the relationship between Al and Sonny displays that there are exceptions to intimate apartheid and segregation.
Chapter 2: Falling in Love focuses on Tina and Carters relationship, and gives a snapshot of life on the streets from a woman's perspective. Because Tina is one of the few women in the area, she uses her femininity in order to get drugs, alcohol, and food. Tina grew up in a culture of sex work and drugs, and has learned the hard way that homeless women must be assertive in order to get what they want. Tina and Carter have a romantic relationship, and share food and drugs with one another in order to survive.
-How does the homeless encampment mirror mainstream American society?
-Why are relationships and trust so important for survival? Tina and Carter. Al and Sonny
-What happens to the children of women like Tina?
In the first chapter of Righteous Dopefiend, the authors introduce all of the "characters" of their ethnography. They also describe the main area of their focus, known as Edgewater Boulevard in San Francisco. They followed and was apart of the lives of the heroin users who called Edgewater home. They also discussed the topic of race in this chapter. The races in the Edgewater community tended to stick with people of their same race. However, they describe an incident where Carter, an African-American man, became a regular in the white heroin scene. That lead to a few more African-Americans mingling within the white community. They also described the social hierarchy that appeared in the community; the African-American drug dealers were at the top, followed by the homeless whites. This ethnic segregation is known as intimate apartheid, which derives from childhood experiences.
Chapter Two focuses more on the female experience of being a heroin user in the streets. Women are scarce in the at Edgewater Boulevard due to the dangers of violence they could face, including rape. Looking at the hierarchy in the community, women fall at the bottom of it along with the homeless whites, which poses a danger in itself. This chapter focuses on the pasts of women and how it shapes the femininity they can or cannot display in the streets. Despite it all, Tina, one of the women highlighted in this chapter, celebrates her femininity as apart of something that makes her who she is.
1. How does race only affect social relations and does not stop the sale of drugs between the races? Is money the main factor?
2. Looking at the ethnography from a research methods view, how are the subjects compensated during this study? Are they at risk for criminal persecution from the police?
3. How does racism continue to be a factor even in Edgewater Boulevard even though all of the people are in the same situation?
In Chapter 1 Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg introduces the people who live around Edgewater Boulevard. Mainly that area consisted of homeless white men. However, over time blacks began to move in to the area. Social hierarchy is apparent between the different races in that area. The African American drug dealers were above in the social hierarchy followed by the homeless whites who were below it. Bourgois and Schonberg define the ethnic segregations as intimate apartheid--which results from the participants' everyday practices driven from habitus since childhood (p. 42).
In Chapter 2 Bourgois and Schonberg's examines the role of femininity in their ethnography. Women do not come around as much as men at the camp at Edgewater Boulevard due to the potential violence they can face, such as rape or murder. Similarly to the importance of social hierarchy among the different ethnic races between men, women appear to be at the bottom level with the homeless whites. However, Tina is different from the ordinary women because she stands her ground. She uses her sexuality and femininity to get what she wants from men. According to Bourgeois and Schonberg, sexuality and femininity was a huge part of her childhood that shaped her habitus. She was constantly exposed to that type of environment where not only racial and social differences matter but gender as well. Tina's story is an example of Bourgois and Schonberg's idea of intimate apartheid.
1. If the homeless whites also participated in drug dealing would they be at the same level of social hierarchy as the black drug dealers or eventually become higher?
2. What connections can you make regarding the importance of social status among these participants in Righteous Dopefiend to those in his other ethnography, In Search of Respect: Selling crack in El Barrio?
3. In Felix's situation he is struggling to mark himself with other races to fit in. Do you believe Bourgois and Schonber's definition of intimate apartheid applies to Felix? In other words, has he developed this habitus of gaining respect more important than pursuing the interest of others from his same ethnic group?
Righteous Dopefiend Ch.1 summary:
In chapter one of Righteous Dopefiend Phillipe Bourgois discusses the idea of "Intimate Apartheid" which conveys, "...the involuntary and predictable manner in which sharply delineated segregation and conflict impose themselves at the level of everyday practices driven by habitus" (42). The chapter follows his and the other members of the ethnographic team's early time spent with the various people in a central camp of homeless, and the area surrounding it, in Edgewater Boulevard underneath an eight lane highway in San Francisco. Over this period of time the social hierarchies among them changed along ethnic, racial, and socio-economic lines depending on the number of one particular group. But as Bourgois this is a mistake to label them as social groups because, indeed, it takes away their individual identity. They are influenced by marco-sociological factors that have entered into their everyday interaction with each other. Indeed the ways that the people describe themselves, each other, their drug habits, and people they encounter reveal a complex social structure that is shocking but also surprising in how demonstrates how oppressive ideologies perpetuate themselves everywhere.
1. What are some of the limitations of this research?
2. What policy changes would you make in order to address the issues that the subjects in this chapter talk about? (For instance, "gangs" running a homeless shelters? Or how police go about enforcing laws on homeless individuals).
3. How does this experience relate to fictional representations in crime drams, such as the character Bubs in the Wire?
Bruce Alexander Reading:
The reading by Bruce Alexander covers his ideas on the Dislocation Theory of Addiction and the various ways in which it engages addiction, to any sort of behavior socially accepted or not, in a new way than the typical theories that we have covered earlier in the semester. He defines this theory as addiction arises from a lack of psychosocial integration with society. Also defined as "a poverty of the soul' or in other ways which outline an argument that if there are only two sides to an argument then that person does not understand the immense complexities of human existence. Globalization has caused an increase this sort of addictive behavior and that it is a result to prolonged dislocation. He outlines four of the traditional dichotomies present in the War on Drugs discourse that are false because they promote a obscuring picture of the total problem, which the dislocation theory seeks to point out. The false dichotomies are; addiction as a medical or criminal problem, addicts as out of control or acting of their own free will, addiction either being psychological or physical, and drugs either being prohibited or legalized. If anything should be taken from this it is that there are many different facets to any one issues and that multiplies exponentially in the context of other issues. Thus, treating addiction in dualistic and absolutist notions severely hinders meaningful dialogue and action.
1. How would you reorder the federal government's drug schedules (if at all) in order to promote a more productive dialogue on drug laws and their enforcement?
2. What are some practical applications of Alexander's theory of addiction?
In chapter 1, Intimate Apartheid, Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg the ethnographers and photographers discuss how they became a part of the lives of a few dozen homeless heroin injectors in an area of San Francisco that they call Edgewater Boulevard. They talk about how the scene is mostly whites and how each race usually stays within their race. But, in the second year an African-American named Carter became a regular in their scene. This attracted three other African-Americans and they ended up taking over the encampment and the whites moved out. The homeless had to learn to commingle between the races and share their limited resources.
In chapter 2, Falling in Love, we find out more about Tina and Carter. Tina drinks and smokes crack while Carter injects heroin. They end up becoming a couple and begin doing nighttime scavenges to make money for their addictions. We find out that Carter is a Vet and a cook. Tina discussed her past with Jeff and how selling sex for money ran in her family. She also went into detail about the violence and sexual abuse she had endured when she was a child. She didn't establish herself as a "ho'" because she did not have a pimp so she was in control and not a man. At the end of this chapter Tina has a little secret to tell Jeff that she had started shooting.
Tina's Mom expected her to get money from the man she first had sexual relations with, what makes an individual especially a mother make her child experience something like that?
Why do you think that Bourgois and Schonberg decided not to spend the nights at the encampment with the others?
Is Sonny's reaction regarding Tina shooting heroin really that sincere?
Chapter 1 begins by describing the area where all the drug addicts live which is under a freeway and the order in which they came to live there. The lives of some of the inhabitants of the camp are briefly explained. The dope fiends racially divide themselves but they get along with each other enough to coexist. The dope fiends once all had places to stay and stable jobs while using drugs but they quickly became homeless and jobless when they made a mistake that subsequently got them evicted from the places they were staying. Most of the racial tension stemmed from the white dope fiends being angry with the black dope fiends for taking their territory, which led to them having to find alternative places to live and sell their drugs.
Chapter 2 is about the experience of a woman dope fiend on the streets. Tina is addicted to crack and alcohol. Even though she partakes in the dope fiend lifestyle she still manages to be feminine. Since Tina is a woman in a male dominated environment she tends to be loud and aggressive so nobody won't try to hurt her. Tina is involved in a romantic relationship with Carter also a dope fiend. Tina throughout her life used sex as a way to get things she needed and wanted from men like food, money and drugs.
1. Why do the dope fiends feel okay with buying drugs and selling drugs to dope fiends of different races but they don't feel it is okay to be friends with them?
2. Why did the white dope fiends view Frank as an honorary white?
3. Why did the storeowner allow the dope fiends to sell drugs in front of his store without calling the police?
Bruce Alexander's chapter on the Dislocation Theory of addiction begins by discussing the importance of psychosocial integration. Psychosocial integration is the interdependence between an individual and their society. Without psychosocial integration one is prone to dislocation, which is a type of isolation one has from society. It is theorized that dislocation is what steers one into the direction of addiction. Alexander says that capitalism hinders psychosocial integration and actually promotes dislocation from society, thus leading to addiction. He goes on to say that addiction is a form of coping with prolonged dislocation from society. Next he talked about four false dichotomies about drug addiction. First, it was asked whether or not drug addiction should be considered a medical or a criminal problem. Second, whether one addicted is powerless in their addiction, or if they are acting within their own freewill. Also, whether or not drug addiction is psychological or physical and if drug prohibition or more drug legalization is the right answer.
The first chapter of Righteous Dopefiend introduces the fieldwork of Bourgois and Schonberg. We are introduced to a group of homeless heroine users who live together in encampments on the streets. They talk a lot about the ethnic hierarchy in the neighborhood and about a lot of racism that exists there. Many of the main characters, whites and Latinos included, are prejudiced toward African Americans. When more black people move into the encampment, the whites move their stuff away from their space and complain that they are too loud at night. They discussed how even though the residents were essentially forced to mingle amongst different races on a daily basis the racism was still present.
1. Could the argument be made that it is actually addiction that leads to dislocation?
2. What does Alexander mean when he says dislocation is not only individually painful but is "socially destructive?"
3. Why was racism so prevalent in the encampment in Bourgois' research?
Righteous Dopefiend (introduction, 1, 2)
This book is based on a years long fieldwork in San Francisco on homeless people. The introduction shows how urbanization and city structure shaped areas where homeless people lived, that there is a generation gap in the attitude toward drug use (younger generation tends to avoid using drugs due to fear of being addicted and lose everything), and that homeless population has established an economic structure based on moral, exchange, and social network. These factors have led homeless people to establish a relatively solid community where mutual dependency is inevitable. Chapter 1 focused on the ethnic structure in which is quite segregated-Whites hang around with whites, blacks are with other blacks, and latinos are working with other latinos. Black people are stigmatized by white homeless people, and are labelled as lazy, violent, and cannot be trusted. Chapter 2 shed lights on women on streets. Men on streets tend to adopt patriarchal attitude toward women that women are weak and should be domesticated, and that they should not be on streets. However, women who appeared on the book portrayed themselves as strong and independent. They often used sex as a means of power to get money, food, clothes, and other materials. This relying on sex rooted in the childhood normalization of violence and sex. (Chapter 3 also highlighted the relationship between Carter and Tina who were black, and how their love developed and functioned in homeless environment.)
Alexander, Bruce. The Dislocation Theory of Addiction.
The dislocation theory is a theory about a lack of psychosocial integration. In other words, this theory is about how individuals lack their psychological and social connection to the larger community, and how this disconnection leads to an addiction. This theory argues that the free-market society (globalized strong capitalism) which is the driving force of the US economy and society has created a space where competition is so intense. According to this theory, an addiction is a form of adaptation to achieve psychosocial integration (addiction is an adaptation to the dislocation), and that a drug addiction is created by those people who failed to adopt to this market ideology and failed to keep up the cultural push to keep succeeding.
1. What other factors related to urbanization could influence the emergence of homelessness and the structure of homeless community?
2. What other alternatives are available for women like Tina in society and homeless community?
3. How can dislocation theory be applied to righteous dopefiend?
4. What other forces, in addition to free-market society, could contribute to dislocation?
In the reading, Bruce Alexander talks about the plethora of addiction models and theories that have been formed over the years and how basically none of them can really be proved or disproved. These theories keep piling up but in general it seems that there are a few larger theories that most researchers come to agree upon. Alexander uses three principles to explain dislocation theory, the first being psychosocial integration as a necessity. Psychosocial integration is the idea that individuals try to fulfill their own personal needs of individuality and success along with seeking out social belonging. The lack of this integration is what is called dislocation. Dislocation is something that most can handle for a decent amount of time, but when when dislocation is severe or lasts for an extended amount of time, it can result in confusion, sadness, shame and can eventually lead people to make self-destructive choices. Alexander also talks about the globalizing free market as something that, even in prosperity, creates dislocation among individuals on a large scale and that in a free market economy, this is natural. In order to achieve the most highly functioning free market society, people have to act out roles and make trades of labor and profits, and this tears apart psychosocial integration by not allowing individuals to act according to their needs and not being able to really be immersed in society. In order to cope with this, in some cases, inevitable dislocation, some people get wrapped up in addictive behaviors to things that help them forget their troubles or help them find themselves in some way. Addiction comes from seeking out a substitute for a lack of psychosocial integration but no matter how long an addiction lasts, it isn't effective. In fact, it seems that an addiction, which leads to destructive habits, not only doesn't fulfill anyone's needs for psychosocial integration, but also makes dislocation more severe and even more prolonged. In most addictions, people sacrifice social activities to indulge in their addictions meaning many social interactions are being cut out. As addictions worsen, addicts become even more disconnected from society so that by the time an addict figures out how to kick their habit, they are already so far dislocated. This is probably also why many addicts go into relapse.
1. This theory, according to Alexander, has relevance to Freud's ideas about ego and that the lack of ego development can make one more prone to addiction. Alexander also mentions something about youth, which leads me to believe that if this theory is correct, then it makes sense that a lot of addictions start around highschool age for people. This is a prime time for people to try and discover themselves and where they belong in society.
2. I feel that with combining dislocation theory with development in general, there could be a lot of predictions made about who is more likely to experience dislocation and why that is or may be the case. Someone's emotional stability and their interpretation of the social world could effect the degree of dislocation that they experience.
3. I wonder how prevalent this theory is among scientists who research addiction. I wonder how many other theories there are the are similar to this one and how widely accepted they are.
"The Dislocation Theory of Addiction," chapter 3
In chapter three, Alexander discusses psychosocial integration, its importance, and the problems that can occur with the lack of it. As defined by Alexander, psychosocial integration is interdependence between an individual and society. He means that one must find a balance between individual satisfaction and involvement and belonging within a community in order to feel fulfilled. He then goes on to describe dislocation as a lack or loss of psychosocial integration, often caused by the free market society's model of extreme, individual competition that can alienate people from their communities. Prolonged dislocation can lead to despair, shame, emotional anguish, boredom, and forms of self-destruction. Dislocation can be a cause of addiction(3) if the person cannot adapt to the sustained dislocation. The consequences of being addicted to something (e.g. work, shopping, food, religion, drugs, alcohol, etc.) are more sustaining than the 'unrelenting torment of social exclusion and aimlessness,' and thus people become addicts to cope.
Dislocation theory is not used to explain the use of drugs and rituals for recreational, cultural, or therapeutic reasons, and additionally does not explain why some people get addicted to one substance or activity, while other don't and end up taking on another activity in an addictive manner. How might we adapt or change the dislocation theory to address this? Or would we need a different theory altogether? How can we use the dislocation theory (or how would we explain) the different outcomes of addictions (e.g., death, recovery, lifetime addictions, etc.)?
Righteous Dopefiend, chapter 1
In chapter 1, Bourgois introduces the individuals he observed in San Francisco - heavy users of drugs who experience varying degrees of homelessness. Some stayed in single room occupancy housing or in shelters while others stayed in motels, with friends or relatives, or slept on the outside. In fact, the frequent transition amongst these different options by those in need of housing is what makes determining the transition to homelessness difficult. Bourgois also discusses the social dynamics of different homeless encampments, all of which had hostile boundaries between racial groups that were mutually dependent. All of this complicates the structure of the social network. Bourgois talks about a "gray zone" where the struggle to survive overrides what he calls "human decency" - it is understood that everyone is just trying to live day-to-day, so betrayals are often forgiven.
Chapter 1 also dissects the racial hierarchy and reveals the assumption of supremacy by the middle-class whites in these encampments, despite their low-class status. Additionally, at one point, Felix (the only Latino) classifies all the African Americans as "scandalous crack monsters" and who occasionally fills the roll of "honorary white" (30, 37). As readers, we begin to understand the rules and operations of these micro-societies. What are the implications of the "gray zone" and where else is that idea applied?
In chapter one of Righteous Dopefiend, titled Intimate Apartheid, we are introduced to a wide cast of characters: Max, the first to settle in the area. Felix and Frank. Petey and Scott, who were nicknamed "the Island Boys" by Felix. Al, a toothless man. Rosie, Al's girlfriend. Hank, who seems to be the eldest of the bunch. There are also some other women who pop in and out of the camp, but only one had a name- Nickie. These people were all settled in the area because of their shared addiction to heroin and other illegal drugs. The chapter outlined social hierarchies, even amongst homeless heroin users, as well as talking about racial disparities and inequalities. One quote from chapter one that stuck out to me was: "The homeless, middle-aged, white heroin injectors we befriended were at the bottom of the corner's social hierarchy and often displayed their low status by begging in tattered clothing." This painted a particularly strong image in my mind.
Chapter two of Righteous Dopefiend is called Falling In Love. It focused a lot on a woman's role on the streets. Many women come from broken homes, and have been victims of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse (or a combination of one or more). These women often times use their sexualities to get what they want, whether it's drugs, money, food, or some sort of stability. Women are also treated very poorly on the streets. This makes them less likely to want to act feminine. Despite this, some women, such as Tina, celebrate their femininity as a sense of identity. This was very interesting to me, because it was a very bold move for her to do in order to stay safe and alive in such a harsh climate.
Some questions that I had about these chapters are:
1). How were these people made to feel safe while talking and being interviewed by the sociologists? This makes me think back to my social research methods. Were they compensated in any way?
2). Race, gender, and class were all thoroughly discussed in the first two chapters. Will we hear more about other social issues, such as sexuality and disability, in later chapters?
3). I want to know more intimate details about each person in particular- what caused them to use drugs, when they started, what they did before drugs, how drugs have changed them. Hopefully we will get more of that in later chapters, too.
In his article, The Dislocation Theory of Addiction, Bruce Alexander describes psychosocial integration and shows how the lack or loss of this leads to dislocation. Psychosocial integration, as described by Alexander, is the interdependence between individuals and society which normally grows and develops throughout a person's life. The author goes on to say that when a person has lost this integration, dislocation happens. He goes on to say that because of this dislocation, some turn to a different lifestyle that is seen as a substitute for psychosocial integration. Many times this lifestyle becomes a drug one, and leads to addiction. The theory does have several limitations, including not being able to show or explain why someone who is dislocated becomes addicted, when another dislocated person does not. Despite these limitations, the author shows that the theory can disprove four different dichotomies that are held by the public about addiction.
In Chapter 1 of Righteous Dopefiend, the authors describe the ethnic layout of the Edgewater homeless community. The ethnic hierarchy is unlike that in dominant society. whites in the community are often held at the bottom of the social chain, seen as "white trash" by African Americans primarily. Despite this, because of racism within dominant society, whites in theses communities often hold the ideology of being superior. The authors described the influx of African Americans into the underpass and the subsequent white flight to a different area. The authors described that there was hardly any racial mixing.
1. In his article, Alexander describes the problem of dislocation as a result of the free-market. How would he explain addiction through this theory in places such as China, or Russia?
2. Could we ever dissolve the problem of dislocation? Will there always be those who have addiction due to this problem because of our free-market system?
3. Why is there such a disparity between men and women in terms of homelessness? The book mentioned that street life is more dangerous for women, but there must be homeless women too?
In chapter 1 of Righteous Dopefiend, Bourgois and Schonberg examined the ethnic hierarchies that were present in the San Francisco area. They followed a group of white homeless heroin addicts and observed their interactions with other ethic groups. The researchers noted that individuals tended to stay in groups with their own ethnic groups. The group of heroin addicts that were being observed had a encampment underneath a highway. This encampment was originally composed of only white inhabitants, but eventually African Americans began to filter in as well. The first African American to join was Carter James. He was originally accepted into the group because of his willingness to share and contribute to the encampment with money from his job. However, as his addiction got worse, he eventually was kicked out of his sister's house and lost his job as well. His entry into the encampment brought 3 other African Americans into the group as well. This integration brought up racial conflicts between the white and black groups. Eventually, white members left the encampment and set up a new one several blocks away in order to 'escape the niggers'. Eventually, several Latinos started living in the encampment as well. Even though the different ethnic groups had to compete for the same resources since they were in the same location, their close proximity to one another made their dislike for one another worse.
What are the motives behind the racist behavior that the ethnic groups display? Both are in the same situation as being addicted and homeless, so what benefit is there to incorporate racism?
How does law enforcement deal with these types of encampments? It was mentioned that several encampments had been 'evicted' but just set up in a new location.
In chapter 1, it was frequently mentioned that women had a difficult time on the streets. In chapter 2, the researchers noted that Tina, one of the African Americans who moved into the encampment, would make up for her lack of physical strength by having outbursts when she was disrespected. She would also use her femininity to obtain things that she wanted. She set Carter and Reggie against each other in order to get gifts of crack and alcohol from both of them. Tina told Schonberg about her experiences as a child and how she was sexually abused by strangers as well has her own family members. This led to prostitution as a way to get things that she needed, like cigarettes, alcohol, and bus fares. However, Tina still distinguished herself from 'ho's', who depended on pimps. Carter and Tina eventually created their own private encampment and began living in a way that resembled a domesticated lifestyle.
How do women who exchange sex for drugs/commodities deal with pregnancy? Are there healthcare options for those who become pregnant while addicted or homeless?
Righteous Dopefiend: Ch.1 - Intimate Apartheid
This opening chapter covers the first couple years of the ethnography. The ethnography is about the lives of homeless heroin users in San Francisco. Some of the observations made in the first year were that there seemed to be very few Blacks in the encampments. There were whites and a few Latinos. The authors discuss the transition of Blacks to San Francisco. According to them when the ship yards closed in the south many migrated to the west coast harbors for work. They also tended to live in these areas creating a community that is segregated from others. As the bayside communities became wealthier the black tenets had to move out. When blacks started to move into the primarily white encampments they kept to themselves. Which was fine with the Whites because the feared the Blacks would rob them. One of the encampment residents, Hank, believed that Black people had a lot of kids elsewhere in the city that they collected welfare on. So they were considered better off than the whites. The fears of the Whites regarding Blacks was unfounded. According to the authors, looking back on their first year there were no real incidents of robbing or mugging that occurred. In fact, most of the people who tried to help these men were Blacks. The men in this particular area were mostly middle-aged and non-violent. It was in the second year that Bourgois and Schonberg saw an influx of Black in the encampment which subsequently caused most of the whites to move to a new location. This kind of segregation is a reflection of what the authors call "Intimate Apartheid'. It is the predictable manner that segregation and conflict are evident and enacted in everyday practices.
Righteous Dopefiend: Ch. 2 - Falling in Love
Bourgois and Schonberg use this chapter to explore the life of a homeless female drug user. It is rare to have a woman living in an encampment. Tina is a woman who lives in the black encampment with Carter. It is believed by the homeless men that it is hard for a woman to live that kind of lifestyle. The authors note that there is a lot of violence against women on the city's peripheral. Tina sits down for various interviews. Her life story is riddled with early sexual abuse. There have been studies done that draw strong connections between early sexual abuse and sex working as an adult. The experience Tina had led her to have a different perspective on relationships. To her, relationships are largely reciprocal. The worth of all her relationships with men are measured by what benefits it gives, or what gifts they can give her. Though she never considered herself a prostitute, she does recall many times where she has traded sex for cigarettes, bus far, alcohol and of course, drugs. In her current situation she has given using sex as a commodity and relies on Carter to bring home the goods. The authors then follow them through a series of courtship events. They reflect on Tina assuming the role of homemakers by arranging their camp into a kind of home. I feel that this chapter is meant to give a very humanistic light to the lives of homeless drug users. They still have the same desires. They desire safety, love and affection.
1. Why hasn't heroin gripped the Black community as it has Whites?
2. Did the authors spend night there? Did they have an apartment nearby?
3. The authors evaluate the social forces that pushed them out of the ship yard neighborhoods. But what are the social forces behind the White homeless?
In chapter one Bourgois and Schonberg talk about the racial issues that the dopefiends find themselves apart of. Much like olden day America, racism is very present in these groups. The whites hang out with other white people and black people hang out with other black people. Each groups has their own camps and then socialize between groups as little as possible. It was mentioned that they will buy and sell from each other but the relationship doesn't go far past that. Which shows how much their addiction affects them. If one hates a group so much that they refuse to stay in the same camp with them but is still willing to submit when in need of a high-the addiction must be strong. One white man said that they try to stay away from the other racial groups for fear of being robbed, even though both groups have committed their own crimes to feed their addiction. Eventually, when blacks slowly started moving into the white camps, the racism was so prevalent that a majority of the whites left and started a new camp.
Why is it that racism is more prevalent in the dopefiend community than it is in a majority of today's culture?
In chapter two Bourgois and Schonberg switch from racism to the relations between men and women dopefiends. In these groups, which are around 20 people, they say that about less than half a dozen are actually female. This chapter has a large focus on a young woman named Tina who is in a relationship with another member named Carter. Tina talks about her abuse growing up and how her two role models both turned to prostitution to aid their addictions and payments. At the age of 16 Tina's mother convinced her to do the same. Eventually she realized she didn't need to rely on men and is in a committed relationship with Carter. This chapter analyzes the relationships between the men and women in these camps.
If we were to look at the overall heroin addict statistics - would the distribution between men and women be the same?
Can Tina's relationship with Carter be considered a "healthy relationship" ?
Alexander's chapter titled "The Dislocation Theory of Addiction" focuses on Alexander's own theory of addiction. He begins by discussing the necessity of psychosocial integration for the wellbeing of society and the individual, and says that free-market society is damaging psychosocial integration because it requires that everyone pursue their own selfish interests in order to function properly. Alexander says that a lack of psychosocial integration causes dislocation which in turn makes people more vulnerable to addiction3 as a way of adapting. After tying in his dislocation theory to other concepts from people like Erik Erikson, Alexander discusses the "boundaries of the dislocation theory" by saying that the theory only applies to his third type of addiction, and that it is not clear how people become addicted to different things. Next, Alexander goes through four "false dichotomies:" medical or criminal, out of control or free will, psychological or physical, and prohibition or legalization. He argues that the first three become irrelevant in the face of his dislocation theory, and discusses the fourth but not very much in the context of his theory.
Bourgois and Schonberg's introductory chapter to "Righteous Dopefiend" explains a lot of concepts and methods for the rest of the book. The authors include a couple of sections of field notes, but focus on explaining the ethnography they conducted and who the Edgewater homeless are. They write about ethical issues such as confidentiality and the possibility of drawing attention to the heroin addicts, and the challenge of learning to interact in the addicts' culture. Next, Bourgois and Schonberg justify their use of photographs and editing dialogue to remain true to the original meaning. They discuss abuse, in the sense of drugs and in the sense of the verbal insults the users say to each other, along with symbolic violence and relate the concepts to Marx and Bourdieu. In the next section the authors use Primo Levi's "Gray Zone" concept to talk about how the heroin addicts are trying to survive, and then they outline the book chapter by chapter.
1) When Alexander writes that addiction is neither a medical nor a criminal problem, what implications does this have for other theories that we have learned? Do any of the other theories of addiction still remain relevant?
2) Bourgois and Schonberg talk about how they would occasionally give money to the heroin addicts in their study. Was this ethical if both men knew that the money could potentially go towards buying illegal drugs?
3) How does the "Gray Zone" concept from "Righteous Dopefiend" tie in with Alexander's dislocation theory?
In the first chapter of Righteous Dopefiend, Phillippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg show us the apparent racial disparities among the poor and homeless in the San Franciso area. the dopefiends would not associate themselves with those of a different race. Hank, a middle aged homeless man says that blacks are around but they don't hang out, everyone will buy from anybody but when it comes to just sitting down an using together, well that just wouldn't happen. The racism is clear at this point as the other residents speak some derogatory terms about the blacks that are having the barbecue in the alley, and talk about how they'll buy from you then come back to mug you. Eventually the dominantly white Edgewater homeless area became rather diverse and they were forced to interact across ethnic lines.
In the chapter on the Dislocation Theory of Addiction, Bruce Alexander attempts to answer why so many people are becoming dangerously addicted to destructive habits. These destructive habits are not limited to drugs and alcohol but can include, religion, demeaning relationships, video games and so on. Addiction is a way for someone who is suffering from dislocation to adapt. Finding membership of a group, even if it be destructive to your health, gives you a better feeling than being socially isolated or excluded. As a person becomes dislocated from society, it is possible for an addiction to happen to any person at any time. This makes me think, if one plays video games for hours on end, and binges on that video game for a certain amount of time, does this mean that the person is addicted to the video game, or they just really enjoy playing them? Is there a need for someone to have physical dependence on something before they are considered to be addicted?
What kinds of people are more at risk to be dislocated from society?
Is there a way to see someone becoming dislocated before the process is complete?
The chapter on the Dislocation Theory of addiction from The Globalization of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit brings about a lot of interesting ideas. It focuses its main points on why some people become addicted to dangerous habits and what in society can contribute to it. It starts of by explaining the in every culture people feel the need to belong and to be integrated into their society. Whether it is in different friendship groups, work, or other activities. It mentions that when a person fails to become integrate into their society in a way that the society sees fit, they become dislocated from society and they try seeking another type of closeness. One of these options is addiction. When a person is addicted to one thing or another they become part of a group of people who also share this addiction with them and so in turn they become relocated into this group.
A couple things about this article made me think. Bruce mentions in the introduction that people nowadays are becoming addicted to things like the Internet and TV. I feel like we are using addiction as a scapegoat in a lot of cases. My friends and I watch TV every single day. We binge watch shows on Netflix and once that show is finished we find another. I would never say we are 'addicted' to TV, I would just say its something we REALLY enjoy doing. So what constitutes and addiction like that when it has nothing to do with an actually physically addicting substance?
It also talks about how solitary confinement is still used as a form of torture due to the fact that as human beings we crave social interaction. As I learned in my Intro to the Criminal Justice class, a lot of the times when an inmate asks for protection inside prison, he/she is placed in solitary confinement. Does society see this as a safe and okay way to solve the issue?
One of the biggest questions asked in the article is whether drug addiction should be seen as a health problem or as a criminal problem. Is there a way for both sides to be correct and to find a common ground solution?
The intro to 'Righteous Dopefiend" really just describes in great derail what life is like on the streets. I found it interesting to read when they added in their field notes- it really made you feel like you were there and even in the first excerpt I learned things I hadn't know before. Like that you can sell your leftover cotton ball for $2. The intro really illustrates just how intense an addiction to heroin can be.
Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg delve themselves into the lives of a group of middle aged San Francisco heroin injectors so that they may relay just how the social constructs work. These people that steal and beg to get their fix every 5-8 hours before withdrawals start coming in are the same people that Bourgois and Schonberg are entrusting to protect them while they are out on the streets.
It is interesting to see the difference is some addicts versus others. How would one differentiate between which addict you could trust and which one would hurt you and steal your camera equipment?
In chapter one "Intimate Apartheid", Phillipe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg discussed the race relations hat occurred under the I-beam and outside the corner store. Despite their similar addictions to heroin or crack and their varying degrees of homelessness, the people described in Righteous Dopefiend fell into three social categories. The first category was composed of the white individuals who were the first to live underneath the I-beam. They included Hank, Hogan, Scott, Petey, Al, Max, and Frank. The second group of individuals was composed of blacks and included Tina, Reggie, Carter, Sonny, and Stretch. The last group contained the Hispanics and was composed of Felix, Victor, and Little Vic. Initially, the group under the I-beam was composed only of white individuals with the exception of Felix. They regarded the blacks with a general disdain. Carter, part of the black group, joined the encampment and many others followed him. As the amount of blacks increased below the I-beam, the whites began to move away. Felix, as the only Hispanic at the time, felt torn between the two groups despite his tight relationship with Frank. When he met Victor and his son, Little Vic, he began a group of Hispanics with them and he alienated Frank when they robbed him. This chapter of the book describes the race relations between those living under the I-beam and congregating at the corner store.
In chapter two "Falling in Love", Phillipe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg discussed the male-female relationships in the encampment. They specifically focused on the relations between Tina, one of the only females in the camp, and other men in the camp. Tina used her femininity to gain possessions and power within the camp. She originally focused on relations with Reggie and Carter but eventually developed a monogamous relationship with Carter. Bourgois and Schonberg used interviews with Tina to understand her motives. She described her history of sexual abuse by family and family friends and also her history with prostitution. Both Tina's mother and aunt's used prostitution as a mean for income and her mother instructed her to do the same at age sixteen. Despite her reluctance to become overly dependent on a man, Tina developed a deep relationship with Carter. She and Cater moved their camp further away to offer some privacy and protection. She accepted the typical "female" role of housekeeper in their relationship but was always wanting to assist Carter with the "male" role of providing for their "household". Chapter two describes the life of a female dopefiend under the I-beam and her relationship with men in the area.
1. How do the other men in the encampment feel about the relationship between men and women in the camp?
2. How do men in the camp feel about Tina's use of her femininity to gain possessions and power? Do they feel resentful?
3. What were the racial attitudes of those in the encampment before they became homeless? Did homelessness increase prejudice as prison does?
"The Dislocation Theory of Addiction"
The question that this reading asks is, "Why are so many people dangerously addicted to destructive habits in the globalizing world of the 21st century?" The paper talks about the ideas of psychosocial integration or the profound interdependence between society and the individual then grows and develops during an individual's life. According to Bruce Alexander not one person is able to be psychologically self-sufficient. Throughout their life they will devote themselves to establishing their place in society. When a person is dislocated or the loss of psychosocial integration bring upon despair and shame to the individual. Alexander links the trauma of sustained dislocation t addiction3. This happens because an individual will substitute the rewards of psychosocial integration with addiction3 when they experience dislocation. Alexander then goes into detail about the ideas and assumptions behind dislocation theory, including information that the theory was discussed in Plato's 'Republic'. Alexander then finishes with discussing the 4 false dichotomy's' of dislocation theory. 1- Is addiction a criminal or medical problem. 2- Is addiction the point where a person is out of control or action of their own free will in regards to the addiction. 3- Is addiction psychological or physiological. And finally 4- is the problems of having government legislation focus on drug prohibition or legalization.
1) Why is only addiction3 related to dislocation/psychosocial integration and not addiction4.
2) How can Alexander claim that there are issues classifying a person as being out of control or of own free will in terms of addiction? Isn't known that addiction the point where a person needs outside forces to end the addiction because it's completely consumed them (they can't willfully stop).
"Righteous Dopefiend Ch. 1 Intimate Apartheid"
In chapter 1 the researchers observed a predominately white encampment of homeless dopefiends. Instantly the racial tensions became clear. Because the camp site was situated in a very ethnic part of San Francisco, during the day there was mixing of race. Typically the whites would hang with whites; blacks with blacks, Latinos with Latinos so on and so forth. I found it interesting the whites had typical feelings against blacks as middle class whites did. Whites stayed away from blacks because they could not trust them and were in fear of getting robbed. They saw blacks as being rowdy and bad for business. This escalated when blacks began to move into the camp site. Slowly the whites left as they became uncomfortable around the blacks, until eventually there were no whites left in the camp. The whites formed a new all white camp that was separate from the black camp. This segregation and hatred for the out races is where the term intimate apartheid comes from. The reading also discussed the overcrowded penal system of California and how people would get a small sentence for parole violations instead of for the actual crime.
3) Because the researchers found little evidence of black on white crime, if the two communities would have been integrated and not segregated would this same observation hold true? Or is it because of the segregation that there was little black on white crime?
The first chapter of Righteous Dopefiend opens up in San Francisco, where homeless drug addicts are described in detail by their skin color. This chapter has a strong emphasis on the segregation that both Black and Whites have created for themselves, termed intimate apartheid. Both groups create "gangs" and separate themselves from the other groups to fight for resources. And when these resources become scarce, the hate for the oppsing group is amplified. This obvious hate for the other group can be also expressed int he interviews with the two ethnographers, Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg. White individuals who were interviewed had the common responses calling Blacks "Niggers". They also criticize the deviant behavior of Blacks as the "Nigger way". Hypocritical, because the White individuals also act in a similar way. Similar expressions are also created by the Black individuals. They insult the ethnographers themselves and insult other Black people who did an interview with the ethnographers. Other groups, such as Latinos, do not necessarily face this discrimination as commonly as Blacks or Whites, as they more simply choose a group to associate with. If this wasn't a race issue, would it be an issue concerning another status? (Reputation, territorial control) How far back in history does this idea stem from? Does this same concept apply everywhere else?
Chapter 2 delves more heavily into the female perspective, specifically through the experience of Tina. As we can see from this chapter, a female's perspective is much different from a male perspective. Tina, who grew up associated with prostitution, has resorted to it in order to survive and make ends meet. Goods that she exchanges sexual services for food, crack, and alcohol. Is exchanging sexual services as a means to survive moral? What could have been other ways around this lifestyle, based on her experiences growing up? Do you think that this lifestyle is acceptable for woman who are in the same boat?
Chapter 1, "Intimate Apartheid" introduces many of the core subjects of Bourgois and Schonberg's ethnographic research, a group they refer to as the "Edgewater Homeless." This is a group comprised predominantly of homeless men with heroin addictions, though many of them exhibit alcoholism and use crack as well. This chapter addresses the ethnic schism that exists even in a social network in which everyone is equally resource deprived. Even the encampment under the overpass where many homeless lived eventually adopts segregation, as many of the white homeless move out once black homeless move in. The interracial interactions are often quite hostile and demonstrate the way in which racial antagonism persists absent of neighborhood-wide patterns of segregation that can be found in most of urban America. However, despite the racist attitudes of many Edgewater Homeless, this chapter also displays how mutual dependence--for drugs, alcohol, food, and other resources--often overrides their deeply ingrained prejudices.
The second chapter, "Falling in Love," explores gender roles among the Edgewater Homeless and the often blurry boundaries between romantic love and sex work. We meet Tina, a charismatic middle-aged woman who grew up in a poor, broken home, the victim of molestation and abuse on multiple occasions. As a result of her upbringing, Tina spent most of her life making her own way on the streets. To counter her frail stature, she has an extremely aggressive personality and does not take disrespect lightly. Her survival strategy includes maintaining a network of men with whom she exchanges sex for crack, alcohol and other resources. She is adamant in her claims that she doesn't need validation from men, and throughout her tumultuous relationship with Carter she tries to assert autonomy. In the process of trying to assert independence in her relationship, however, Tina ends up perpetuating patriarchal arrangements.
Questions for discussion:
1) How is it that racism can continue to persist even when everyone is the victim of larger structural inequalities that have contributed to their lack of resources?
2) Is Tina's exchange of sex for drugs, alcohol, food, and/or bus fare an act of defiance against male oppression or is she simply perpetuating the objectification of women?
3) What do you make of Tina's mother's lack of genuine concern--i.e., she was more upset that Tina didn't get paid after she lost her virginity--for her daughter's sexual activities at such a young age?
In the first chapter of Righteous Dopefiend we begin with the ethnography of homeless drug addicts living in San Francisco. The two ethnographers are Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg. These two individuals become intertwined into a world of homeless addicts; telling us their trials and tribulations. The first chapter the racial boundaries that occur in this setting are explained and detailed. The phrase intimate apartheid is used to describe the close segregation that is created among the black and white homeless addicts. The segregation really doesn't surprise me too much. Similar social groups occur in jails as well, with whites creating gangs or cliques and blacks doing the same thing. When resources are scarce, a hatred for the 'other' is brought out with much more efficiency. This is shown with the many whites that are interview in the book referring to black individuals as 'niggers' or generalizing some of their deviant behavior, though similar to their own, as the 'nigger way'. There is also racial discrimination created by the black population. This is shown in the way some of the individuals talk and act towards to the ethnographers or insult blacks that do talk to the ethnographers. There is one biracial friendship, though, that opposes this intimate apartheid. This is the somewhat chaotic relationship of Sonny and Al. They seemed to be the only extended intermingling between the blacks and whites. Individuals of Latino descent, such as Felix, seem to display autonomy in their decisions to choose which ever particular group to hang out with. Thus, the divide between races in this population of people seems to be particularly a black/white issue. Though there are many races comments made, both races seem to be willing to openly buy and sell drugs with each other. However, they don't seem or want to share encampments with one another. This makes me wonder why the commonality of homelessness isn't strong enough to bring the races together? Is this because homelessness leads to an increase in hatred for one another due to the competing for similar resources? If so, would there be less segregation between races if less individuals were involve that were competing for the same resources?
In the second chapter of Righteous Dopefiend we are introduced to our first female character, Tina. In this chapter we dive deep into Tina's past life, discover her personality and the circumstances that brought her here, and learn about the love story between her and Carter another dopefiend living around this area. The story of the women on the street is displayed in this chapter. I find this rather fascinating, because so far the narrative of homelessness has been all male. Tina describes her life on the street as being very different than from a male's life on the streets. Tina, unlike the other men interviewed prostitutes herself out in exchange for goods, such as clothes, food, shelter, crack, and alcohol. Prostitution has been around her ever since she was a child at 8 years old helping 'hos' on the street hide from cops or their pimps. Her mom made her get money from a man that took her virginity at 16. Tina's early sexual experience, whether it would be molestation, sexual assault, family members prostituting in front of her, give me a different perspective on the idea of prostitution. Prostitution doesn't have to be looked at in the negative immoral light that we as Americans commonly see it as. One can look at it as a viable and economical means to get by in a male-dominated world that provides little resources for anyone, especially women. Why do we view the exchange of sex in such a different light than we view the exchange of any other goods? What can we do to create better situations for individuals, such as Tina, so that they don't have to rely on prostitution? How could Tina not go down the path, which she did, when all the positive outlets in her life seem to come from the exchange of sex? Tina does describe this phenomenon of learning through socialization that exchanging sex for good was not only encouraged, but the right thing for her to do.
In Chapter 11 The Great Drug Debate The War on American Drug Policy, Inciardi begins by describing some of the perceived benefits of drug legalization. The author states that because of these benefits, there comes many questions about regulation specifically (which drugs should be legalized, where should drugs be sold, etc.) that are unanswered by those who favor legalization. In Chapter 12 War Is Not the Answer, Inciardi spends some time describing both California's Proposition 36 (a diversion program) and Delaware's model of treating drug addicts (treating drug-involved offenders in corrections). He suggests that these diversion and treatment programs are the best way to treat drug offenders.
In Husak's The Disadvantages of Prohibition, the author claims that the state lacks a good reason and that is has a good reason to not punish illicit drug users. He also claims that the disadvantages and harms that come about from prohibition far outweigh the advantages or benefits. He describes eight different areas that have negatively affected by drug prohibition policies. These areas include: racial bias, health, foreign policy, crime, lies and hypocrisy, civil liberties, corruption, and money.
1. What would Inciardi and Husak's reaction be towards the legalization of marijuana in both Colorado and Washington State?
2. Why has there not be a more concentrated effort towards evaluating drug treatment programs?
3. Is the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington State going to end in a similar situation that California's Prop 36 found itself? Is it an instance that the public said they were ready for, but in reality they were not?
1) There are many forms of addiction, but most conflict in some way or another. Psycho social integration is a bond that forms between society and an individual. It is both inward and outward. It is nearly the same in contemporary and traditional cultures, it's the sense of having freedom, yet still belonging. the lack of this is called Dislocation by Karl Polanyi. It does not imply moving geographically, but rather mentally. It has been given many names since then, such as alienation. It is often connected to material poverty, even though these do not go hand in hand, it can have many other causes. A free market society produces mass dislocation, they try to dominate every aspect of human life. The author emphasizes that free-market is slowly taking over, but what about all the non-profit organizations and volunteering that is slowly being integrated into peoples lives? With the internet and the media, these are becoming more and more popular. The article suggests that the free market affects parents and kids alike in the Western culture, and it creates dysfunctional families. People create substitutes to fill the void of dislocation, these being addictions such as shopping and gambling, and even more harmfully, junkies. They are not sufficient enough to fill in the gab felt by dislocation, and without their addictions, they would seemingly have little to live for. It is a 'lesser evil'. We are often pushed into these addiction by friends, advertisements, etc. Occasionally addictions are accepted, the author giving the example of a bohemian artist. Why are these users more accepted just because they are more famous than average junkie? Addiction is not maladaptive. One common theory is that the cause of addiction lies in the individual who is addicted, another is that drug addiction is the prototypical addiction. The author says that Erikson's work is the most important research before the current one. The dislocation theory, however great, has boundaries. For example, it is not meant to explain therapeutic, ritualistic, or cultural drug uses, only addiction. It also does not explain why some dislocated people get addicted to one drug, and other people to another drug, or none at all. Erikson described the fragmentation of identity as one possible cause. This is the European refuges that emigrated to the United States and had cultural conflicts among one another. Does it matter how far after WWII? I know plenty of families that are first generation and, as far as I know, only two have had any sort of addiction problem, these families did however, have multiple problems. According to the author, the greatest fault of the dislocation theory is that it cannot explain why one dislocated person meets a tragic end, while another similar dislocated person is able to recover. This theory flatly contradicts most addiction theories, it also gets bogged down by insolvable debates. One debate is whether addiction is a medical or criminal problem. Another is whether addicts get addicted out of their own free will, or if it is out of their control. A third is whether an addiction should be classified as a psychological or physical addiction. And finally, whether drugs should be prohibited or legalized.
2) The introduction explains how they went to an area between highways and through some files of garbage to get to the camp site area where they were doing their heroin. The author describes a detailed process of how they prepare the heroin. Three of the men, assumed to be homeless since they're squatting between the highway, inject the heroin in different ways. They all have some type of job, moving furniture, painting signs, and dealing. Surprisingly most of the stereotypes about the homeless seem to be true, they're generally middle age or older, drink a lot, there are not too many women, and move around a lot to avoid cops, and even though some work, there are definitely others who do not. Then came a short paragraph on what they gave up to be homeless and inject heroin, followed by what it takes to be accepted with them. How would the study have been different if they were not accepted into their lives so openly? Next they go over a transaction between two of the homeless, good injection in exchange for the leftover heroin. Cops was the only worry to them. Another section explains how the authors continuously worked together throughout the project. Then follow with how they laid out their work. Towards the end, they go over a few social theories on class, suffering, etc. They described the gray-zone and how it did and didn't relate to the homeless they were studying, then finish off with an outline of the book. Chapter one starts off with a quote from Felix in the header, and the text describing a new formed camp. They did a quick overview of the people who moved in to the camp. I wonder what Rosie's story was, was she homeless too, and just moved from camp to camp? Or did she have a place to live and a decent income and just used Al for the drug connections? They watched Hank become homeless, when asked why he didn't want to go to a shelter, he said they had gangs. Only two other women hung out there, one a prostitute, and one with a welfare paid apartment that she let the others occasionally use in exchange for heroin. Life on the streets is more rough for women. In the first year, all but one were white. The whites were on the low social end in this, being considered "stanky white dopefiends". There was a lot of racism going on, whites didn't trust the blacks, even though in the first year the only violence between races happened when a white guy ripped off a black guy. Carter was the first black guy in the camps, they also watched him slowly integrate to the camp through drugs. First living with his sister, then when his habit got out of hand, the camp. He attracted even more African Americans, most still having a place to live, and just going to the camp for drugs. Reggie and Felix get into a argument, Reggie seems to have an anger problem. He also intimidated an Arabic cashier. Hogan left as a result of this, and when he was caught, even the cops didn't want to get close enough to him to give him a ticket. People began to pity him, and even the other homeless stopped by to give him old cottons. The cashier and authors too give him stuff. Felix and Frank, once close, drifted apart. Victor and other Puerto Rican's started occasionally dropping by. Older Vic had a drinking problem, leading to domestic abuse. Little Vic tried to protect his mother at that time, but now smokes crack with his father. Older Victors remembers the past differently. Felix was so hung up in having his own crowd, he even turned against Frank. Little Vic drove off with his girlfriends SUV, with another woman, leaving is girlfriend behind in a drug high. Soon his girlfriend and Tina became buddies. Little Vic was eventually imprisoned, but not for as long as he should have. The only other Latino stayed mostly with a dealer girlfriend who disappeared and was presumed dead because of a drug deal gone wrong. Felix made good money selling clean needles. When Felix could no longer deal with the blacks, he moved back in with the whites. Al, when getting back stayed with the whites, and everything seemed normal. He said nigger and only awkward silence happened, he even got a car and moved into it with Sonny. They maintained a decent friendship, not always splitting everything, but always having one another's back. Chapter 2 began with a quote from Tina, and described her personality. Carter and Reggie were courting her, but her and Reggie got in a quarrel at the corner store. They became friends again, but no sexual tension anymore. Reggie was arrested over a gun, and even though there was the 'three strikes you're out rule' in California at the time, he only got eight years. Tina and Carter got close, but she wanted to keep partying and he didn't want her too. She called him a 'righteous dopefiend'. Stretch also fooled around with men for stuff. Tina grew up around pimps and prostitutes and made friends with some of them. her two older brothers are dead. She figured out her aunt was a prostitute at age twelve, she didn't have sex til she was sixteen, and when her mom found out she made the guy pay for it. She lived with her friend, a guy, and his wife, and they all did sexual things together, not always consensual. At that same time period, some guy stalked Tina and tried to rape her but failed. Her cousin raped her when she was seven or eight. Started selling her body just for necessities. Sometime after this she attempted to become monogamous with Carter, and they even adopted a dog. Jeff goes over one day for a dinner carter hand prepares. Why is frequent violence okay to them? Do they ever get scared that their last stint will get them killed, or is that just a risk they learn to accept? Violence apparently strengthened their relationship. Jeff was unknowingly a partner in one of their petty crimes, and this upset him, so he stopped doing little things like giving them rides. A few years later Tina apologized for this. Carters sister died and he was going to be sent to jail for stealing, but they let him go for that. Tina came to the funeral, and they slowly began integrating themselves ever so slightly into the family. Carter got money out of it though so he bought them a camper. This helps them store stuff and travel to deal and pick up drugs or stolen goods. After a while, they get a truck just for their drug deals and Carter is even working with a fella. After a while, it was rumored that Tina was injecting Heroin, Al and the others became concerned for her. She did pull jeff aside to confess one day, and this leads to chapter 3.
Husak - Disadvantages of Prohibition
In Disadvantages of Prohibition Husak is arguing against criminalization by equating the use of drugs to any other activity that is purely recreational and pursued for pleasure. He claims that in order to determine whether or not it is just to punish users of illicit drugs, we must first decide whether or not there is any positive value involved in recreational drug use. The difficulty of defending the value of anything recreational according to Husak is convincing those who do not enjoy something that it has value for others. Husak points to the 100,000 fatalities each year caused by prescription drugs to confirm his argument that the primary issue our society has with illicit drugs is that they have no medical value; we do not put value in any recreational activities, particularly recreational drug use despite the fact that they result in fewer fatalities.
In the second part of this chapter Husak outlines eight negative consequences of punishing illegal drug users. the first is racial bias - drug criminalization often targets minority groups. The second is Health - illicit drugs are not as unhealthy as our society believes, especially when compared to many legal recreational activities. The third is foreign policy - throughout history prohibiting drug trade has lead to dangerous conflict. next is crime - Husak argues that the majority of crime revolving around illicit drugs is due to the fact that the transactions are illegal and drugs are expensive. the remaining arguments are lies and hypocrisy - our drug policy is not based on truth, civil liberties - drug policy violates our civil liberties, corruption - referring to police corruption surrounding the illegal drug market, and money - our drug policy costs an exorbitant amount of money.
I think that a lot of what Husak says is relevant, however some of his claims are a little extreme and perhaps misguided; he makes claims such as "according to one doctor" which are not terribly convincing. A few questions came to mind while reading this article: How would Husak suggest the decriminalization process go (what steps would have to be taken for a clean transition)? Would he decriminalize all drugs? where do you draw the line?
Inciardi -Chapter 11
Inciardi begins the chapter by outlining the proposed benefits of legalizing drugs which include arguments such as potential drop in drug prices and drug related crime. While he admits that these arguments may appear valid, he dedicates the remainder of this chapter to describing the potential consequences of legalization that haven't been addressed by the "naive" supporters of decriminalization. He brings up some very good points about which drugs would be legalized and how the legal drug market would look. He also brings up the potential public health and behavioral consequences that must be addressed, and the fact that drug related violence probably wouldn't decrease with legalization. Overall this chapter asks some really important questions, all of which must be addressed if decriminalization is going to be considered seriously.
I completely agree that supporters of legalization tend to overlook some obvious unknowns about a free drug market, I found myself wondering: would the negatives involved with legal prescriptions drugs transfer to illicit drugs once they became legalized? For instance many supporters of decriminalization argue that prescription drugs are more dangerous, isn't this simply because they are legal and more available? wouldn't legalizing illicit drugs make them just as dangerous?
The Great Drug Debate states reasons why drugs should be legalized which include saving billions of dollars that is spent each year to enforce drug laws, less crime because the government could sell drugs at a cheap price, so drug users don't have to prostitute and rob people for money. Also the money that would be saved by legalizing drugs could go toward helping the people who are addicted to drugs get treatment. Although there are many reasons why drugs should be legalized none of the proposals give concrete details on how this should occur. The age limits of drugs, the types of drugs that should be legalized and the potency of the drugs aren't discussed among other factors. The negative effects marijuana, heroin and cocaine has on the body is stated.
1. If smoking marijuana brings three times the amount of tar the lungs than a filtered tip cigarette, how does marijuana in pill form affect the human body?
Blog post #3
In The Disadvantages of Prohibition, Husak questions and evaluates justifications of punishment for drug users. He provides reasons for why criminalization and the current drug policy are counterproductive and even harmful. He explores the idea of values being attached to certain activities and one of his main arguments is that society cannot successfully justify its reason for placing little value on and demonizing recreational drug use. The value attached to health and medicine is the reason for the widespread use of prescription drugs despite its consequences. Furthermore, our willingness to classify the use of certain drugs as medical leads us to accept huge risks like the dangerous short- and long-term side effects of prescription drug use (131). Husak's other big argument is that prohibition has negative side effects due to injustices present in the criminalization of drug use. He lists eight main areas of injustice: racial biases, health, foreign policy, crime, lies and hypocrisy, civil liberties, corruption, and money (134-151).
What would be the most important steps to take to move toward getting more people to reject criminalization and place value on recreational drug use?
"War is Not the Answer" by Inciardi presents reasons for why the criminal justice system's current punitive approach to drug possession and use is harmful, focusing on the prison population. He also addresses the ineffectiveness and counter-productivity of the "War on Drugs" and the ridiculousness of the hundreds of thousands of prisoners whose only crime was possession of drugs (312). Additionally, he provides a historical background for rehabilitative and treatment-based options in the diversion model of the criminal justice system. He advocates for a harm-reduction and "therapeutic community" model approaches. How will the treatment models change as society progresses? What are some ways to promote the success of harm reduction programs in today's society?
In Chapter 11: The Great Drug Debate, James Inciardi examines the issue of legalizing drugs. Some of the main arguments that revolve around legalizing drugs according to Inciardi are: public health and behavioral consequences, crime and enslavement, drugs/violence and expanded market. He also mentioned that drug policy terms such as prohibition, legalization, decriminalization, medicalization, and harm reduction have multiple meanings that are problematic to different people who are analyzing the drug debate. Some of the terms can work interchangeably with one another such as legalization and medicalization.
In Chapter 12: War Is Not the Answer, James Inciardi argued that the problem with drug is not solved by incarceration but rather through treatment programs. In California proposition 36 gives adults convicted of nonviolent drug possession the option of participating in drug treatment (p. 313). Diversion programs were soon created along with drug courts to assist in treatment. One issue that Inciardi highlighted on is that there are not enough programs to meet the needs nationwide. The majority of the people incarcerated are serving time for drug related offenses. Inciardi also focused on the success of Delaware's programs. Their treatment programs were proven to be successful because it consisted of three stages: (1) prison-based therapeutic community, (2) "transitional" therapeutic community on a work release setting and (3) aftercare.
1. In Chapter 12 he focused particularly on the success of Delaware's treatment programs. What are the other states that have demonstrated positive results from implementing similar treatment programs found in Delaware? Inciardi mentioned that a few states also proved to be successful but he failed to mention which states those were.
2. Inciardi mentioned that divergent treatment programs are aimed primarily towards youths. Are short-term (youth) drug users more likely successful in these treatment programs than long-term (youth) drug users?
3. Marijuana is a very problematic drug due to its high contents of chemicals that affect a person's respiratory system. In California what are the positives of legalizing the drug? Are these health and behavioral consequences overlooked depending on how much is prescribed through medicalization?
Husak "Disadvantages of Prohibition"
In this chapter, Husak is arguing that there is no justifiable reason for punishing recreational drug use. Husak compares recreational drug users to both mountain climbers and sky divers. This comparison is effective because all three activities are done solely for personal enjoyment and can be dangerous. Yet using drugs, unlike other recreational activities, is illegal in the United States. The author goes on to briefly detail eight counterproductive aspects of the decriminalization of drugs. These eight aspects include: racial bias, health, foreign policy, crime, lies and hypocrisy, civil liberties, corruption, and money. In general I wish the author had provided more statistics to support his points. For example, Husak states that "Some studies claim to conservatively estimate that 30 percent of police officers have been unlawfully involved with illicit drugs" (149). It is hard to take this statistic seriously without a citation, or further explanation. Husak also states that "One doctor estimates that prozac has led 25,000 people to commit suicide that would not have otherwise done so" (130). Again, this is an alarming statistic that needs more support than the testimony of one doctor.
Inciardi "The Great Drug Debate"
Inciardi uses this chapter to contest the most frequently used arguments used by those in favor of legalization. He examines marijuana, crack cocaine, and heroin, and reveals the negative side effects of each substance. Inciardi also raises a series of thought provoking questions that would undoubtedly need to be addressed before any illicit drug is legalized. Clearly, Inciardi is using this chapter to challenge the views of those in favor of drug legalization.
-Why do you think Husak did not address the harmful effects of some illicit drugs? (perhaps he does this in other chapters)
-What types of social stigmas are attached to recreational drug users?
-What drugs can be used recreationally and responsibly?
-What drugs are too addictive/dangerous to be used responsibly?
Husak, D. / Disadvantages of Prohibition
Husak's main argument in "Disadvantages of Prohibition" is centered in the fact that our society, despite claiming to be free, frowns upon the recreational use of drugs because there is no value attached to the act when it is solely for the pursuit of pleasure. He asserts that recreation in any form, and the pleasure it awards us, is valuable, and that politicians should extend this recognition to recreational drug use of illicit substances as well. Prohibition is unjust because the government has no good reason to punish drug users, and definite good reasons not to punish them. He argues that drug prohibition harms us all because it is counterproductive, as it encourages racial bias, is indirectly damaging to the health of users, leads to illogical foreign policy, increases crime, leads to lies and hypocrisy, limits civil liberties, corrupts government officials, and wastes taxpayer dollars.
Inciardi, J. / Chapter 11 "The Great Drug Debate: The War on American Drug Policy"
In this chapter, Inciardi outlines the arguments in favor of the legalization of drugs, which essentially maintain that U.S. drug prohibition impose a massive cost in terms of tax dollars, crime, and infringements on civil rights and individual liberties. He goes on to say that while arguments in favor seem valid on the surface, they do not fully address the negative consequences of a legalized drug market, nor do they provide answers regarding what specific drugs should be legalized and what that legalization would look like--i.e. what kind of potency would be allowed, where the raw materials would come from, who should be able to use them, where they should be allowed to be used, etc. Inciardi also points out a multitude of public health and behavioral consequences that might accompany the legalization of drugs, as well as refutations of the argument that violent crime would decrease in the event of legalization. He points out that an expanded market would give advertisers virtually limitless means of promoting their product (drug), which could likely lead to an increase. Inciardi also argues that it is naïve to believe that legalization and regulation would keep drugs away from youth, citing the availability of regulated licit drugs like tobacco and alcohol to youth as an example. Ultimately, this chapter aims to point out many of the under addressed issues that would likely accompany full decriminalization of drugs.
1) Given that legalization is such a hot topic right now, I'd be interested to know whether the issues Inciardi pointed to as overlooked have gotten more attention?
2) Husak's discussion of deaths associated with legal prescription drugs included a claim that roughly 100,000 deaths occur from legal drug use, but that this is still higher than "even the most pessimistic of estimates" about illicit drugs. I'm curious--what are current estimates about illicit drug related deaths, and how are such figures determined?
3) It would be interesting to discuss in class some parallels between Husak's thoughts on the relationship between the legitimation of certain drugs for medical purposes and the previous readings we've done on the medicalization of the drug user.
James A. Inciardi, in Chapter 11, focuses on the pros and cons of legalizing drugs, and how drugs are related to current sociological issues. He references Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's argument in a debate about US drug control to show that, so far, the war on drugs has done more harm than good, especially when it comes to overcrowding in prisons and changing crime rates. Crimes rates due to drugs have greatly increased because by making drugs illegal, they have become harder to obtain and harder to pay for. Due to the high risk in drug distribution because of drug laws, they are sold at higher prices and users become desperate when it comes to getting the money they need to support their habit. In addition to user crime rates increasing, by making drugs illegal, penalties have been created for drug distributors, meaning more people getting arrested and potentially prosecuted, further crowding prisons. Also, in general, the demand for drugs hasn't had significant decrease meaning that drug laws, which are enforced to reduce use and demand and distribution, are not getting their intended job done.
Inciardi, on more of a negative side, talks about all of the technicalities that lawmakers would have to take into consideration if they were to legalize drugs. Things like what drugs should be legalized, should legalization have age limits, where and how should drugs be sold, etc. I say negative side only because I feel like the fact that the legalization process seems to be so much more difficult, lawmakers might be tempted to just leave laws the way they are. Inciardi also goes into detail about the negative side effects of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin to show some cons in drug legalization and these negative side effects most likely contributed to making these drugs illegal in the first place. He presents arguments for drug legalization and how it wouldn't have effects on violent crimes. Most studies that he draws examples from basically say that some drug users were committing violent crimes before they became users, and that others are violent for there reasons in general and that the drugs probably don't have as much of an effect their criminal activity.
All in all I really liked that Inciardi presented points from both sides of the arguments because it lets me, a reader, get a bit of information from multiple angles in order to weigh out the costs and benefits for myself.
Inciardi's chapter 12 talks a lot more about the waste in effort and money that the drug war is. Already, drug-related punishments and arrests and the criteria used to judge how those situations are handled are not very well define and contain a lot of gray area. This leads lawmakers to make misguided decisions.
1. By legalizing drugs, Inciardi brought up issues that would have to be considered as far as regulating drug use much in the same way that alcohol is regulated today (with age restrictions etc.). By regulating drugs in this way, would that cause people to look at these drugs as less harmful or on a more plane more equal to alcohol?
2. Inciardi compared naming problems and actually developing problems to the question "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" So I also wonder how legalizing drugs would effect drug use. If these "more serious" drugs were regulated in the way that alcohol is, these hard drugs would be looked at as less threatening. Would that cause decrease drugs problems? I feel that by naming drug problems and knowing that certain drugs are so addictive, people mentally feel addicted to them when they do them before actually becoming physiologically dependent.
Disadvantages of Prohibition states that people shouldn't be punished because they are drug users. In order to punish people for recreational drug use there needs to be a good reason for doing so. If recreational drug use is seen as beneficial than there is a better chance of it being accepted. Husak uses the second school of thought to explain his point on drugs. The second school of thought says the nature of a just society is to allow its people decide what activities are valuable to them and there shouldn't be any limitations as what activities are viewed as valuable because people have different views on what is and what is not valuable to them. But the activities that people view as valuable to them can't harm anyone else for it to be viewed as valuable. In the reading it explains how prescription drugs have harmful and beneficial factors but people that use them are not punished because they are viewed as having value. Some of the reasons that Husak views prohibition as unfair because it targets minority groups more than any other groups, health of people using illegal drugs is affected negatively because they can't get clean needles for free which could prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. Drug users are also less likely to go to see a doctor if they are having medical problems. One of the biggest benefits to decriminalizing drug use would be the financial gain the government would see. Billions of dollars are wasted trying to fight to stop people from using drugs, which hasn't been successful. The money that is being wasted can be used in a way that would benefit all citizens like better education and help drug addicts receive help to stop using drugs.
1. Why won't the government stop criminalizing drug use and see if it creates a bigger problem for society or not? If it doesn't create a problem then drugs should remain decriminalized and if it does than drugs should just be criminalized again.
2. Why does the government continue to let cigarettes be legal but not marijuana? Marijuana has proven health benefits for people and cigarettes don't have any and are very harmful to people.
3. It's obvious that the billions of dollars that the government spend on the war on drugs isn't making a significant difference, so why do they continue to spend the money every year instead of coming up with a completely different approach?
Despite United States' failed attempt at prohibition throughout history, namely alcohol prohibition, this country continues to take stabs at it. Mr. Husak discusses the negatives of prohibition and the positives of drugs. He begins by discussing how silly it is to question and deny the pleasure that an individual gets out of recreational drug use. He compares it to other common activities that consume a person's time like soap operas, or amusement parks. He states that humanity has yet to determine an agreed upon definition of a just society and therefore it seems silly to determine certain actions or activities illegal. He says, the only reason certain things have been criminalized is a result of the words that commonly are attributed to them. He points out that there is a definite danger and risk to consuming drugs and being around people who consume drugs, however, continues to argue that the state has no "good reason" to punish those who use drugs recreationally.
Husak then forges forward to what is a more interesting perspective of the debate: the negatives of prohibition. He names and supports number of disadvantages. These disadvantages include: racial bias, health, foreign policy, crime, lies and hypocrisy, civil liberties, corruption, and money. Most of these are self-explanatory if you know the basics about the debate, however, I thought there were a few that he explained quite well and posed a difficult argument. He mentions that crime may be a problem when drugs are illegal because people commit crimes to get them. He also states that high rates of incarceration from drug charges can increase crime as inmates return to the community and are jobless and lost several years of their life. His argument for lies and hypocrisy is also quite interesting as he states that the way the media and educational programs "demonize" drugs is a lie and they fuel that deceiving thought process among others. He also states that many of the programs to prevent kids from using drugs are run or helped along by people who admit to their own abuse of drugs.
Incardi takes the debate even further by dissecting the arguments of drug legalization, specifically marijuana. He begins by listing the typical arguments supporting the legalization of drugs including lower drug prices, less government corruption, civil liberties, and the unrealistic possibility of completely abolishing all drug production, distribution and use. His most forthcoming and unique points, however, arise in the "unresolved" issues of legalizing drugs. These issues include the process of determining which drugs (if not all) are worthy of legalization, age laws for legalized drugs, the decision of grandfathering in current users and distribution regulations (among many other questions). He then continued on to discuss support for certain drugs against negative arguments. He brought up the health benefits of marijuana and the reality of the actual LACK of incredibly negative effect of crack and heroin. He also touches on the idea that drug use came first and society labeled it as bad, drugs were not always "bad." Finally he discusses the idea of not necessarily "legalizing" all drugs but maintaining strict regulation on the use of drugs. He says that certain people from certain backgrounds are more prone to using drugs and that the community is stuck in its ways despite the laws. If we form the laws to prevent societal harm rather than individual harm, we may be better off.
Concerns about mass involved drug offenders has increased a lot in the last few decades. Since 1980 arrests have tripled and many of those were possession violations, twice as many people in a year are convicted for a drug felony compared to a violent felony arrest. Drug offenses account for more than than a third of felonies in federal court and almost half in state courts.(pg. 312) Most of these offenders are first time offenders being charged with small amounts of possession. The Bureau of Justice Statistics conducted a study that showed that 58% of drug prisoners had no prior history of violence or high level of drug activity.(pg. 312) This is where it seems like there is a problem in the system. I am not condoning drug use but it is necessary to give prison time for first offenders? I feel that it isn't worth our tax dollars to lock someone up for a small offense if they have no criminal background. Encouraging someone to go through a drug court and either get treatment or outpatient help seems like a better option.
California's Proposition 36 is one of the best laws, most states should take this into consideration. If a person can strike a plea deal with the judge and go to receive the option of treatment or incarceration, I think it would make someone think twice about their addiction. We need to help people with their addictions and help them admit to having a problem instead of just opting for jail time. What other states have taken this into consideration? As we have read in past articles drug courts are better regulated and are a better way for the offender to receive help and have a good support system. Drug involved correctional settings are another way for offenders to receive treatment but in a more formal setting. Therapeutic communities are one of the most valuable forms of treatment for offenders. The TC's are separated from the rest of the prison population which allows the offenders to work closer with the treatment. What is the relapse rate of those coming out of a correctional treatment setting to those coming out of an inpatient setting? Both options of inpatient and correctional can be very healing for a person and can bring them to the front of their problems and solve their addiction. If the correctional setting is more focused on the addiction and not on the crime then a person can be successful.
Inciardi Chapter 11
Inciardi writes about the drug legalization movement and the positive and negative effects if legalization were to occur. He writes about some of the speculated benefits of legalization, including lowering drug prices, lowering drug-related crime, and keeping public liberties safe from being violated by law enforcement. Inciardi also examines some unresolved issues with drug legalization. A few examples of questions that Inciardi had include what drugs should be legalized and what age, if any, should be set for legal consumption. Next, Inciardi examines marijuana, crack and cocaine, and heroin in depth. In the marijuana section, he states that smoking a joint is much worse for respiratory health then smoking a cigarette. 4 times more tar is deposited when smoking marijuana. He also states that the belief that pot helps people function better isn't true. Instead, marijuana allows people to tolerate problems rather then deal with them. In the next section, Inciardi talks about the connection between drug legalization and violence. He says that legalization may not necessarily mean a decrease in crime. Drug crime often occurs when a user cannot obtain their drug, and this could occur when a drug is legal or illegal. At the end of the chapter, Inciardi covers prohibition and regulation. He compares cries for drug with regulation with the regulation of alcohol and tobacco, both of which are heavily abused.
Husak Disadvantages of Prohibition
Husak is writing in support of ending the prohibition of illegal drugs. In the first section of the chapter, he covers what he believes are positives of drug use. He repeatedly compares drug use to other activities that one could do, including reading and cheering for a football team He states that while some people find enjoyment in some things, other people might not experience the same feelings in those same things. He uses this idea to justify the idea that some people will enjoy using drugs while others will not. Husak states that a drug user should not need to defend his or her use of drugs. In the next section, Husak covers the negative effects that prohibition has. He covers negative effects such as racial bias, health, and crime. He talks about how more whites use illegal drugs then blacks, and yet 62.7% of drug offenders in prison are black. Skewed demographics in prison populations show that there is racism in the prosecution of drug users. Husak concludes that the prohibition of drugs doesn't just affect users, but non-users as well.
1. Is the legalization process of marijuana in Washington and Colorado in line with what Inciardi predicted?
2. If Husak is supportive of legalization of drugs, how would he respond to Inciardi's statement that regulation isn't necessarily an answer to all problems? Especially regarding the regulation of alcohol and tobacco, which are regulated but still abused.
3. What would Husak's plan for legalization be? Does he want all drugs to be available for the public or does he still think that regulation is necessary?
Legalization of certain drugs has been a hot button topic for some time now. The closest thing we have recently come to was the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado. Passing these laws did not come with any ease and was pushed very hard but those who supported the legalization of marijuana. What happens when we legalize one drug though? More drugs will be pushed to become legal as well and this could not be a good thing for our country. Inciardi points out that Kurt Schmoke in 1988 thought that there were too many overcrowded courts and prisons and high rates of addiction amongst the US. Yes, overcrowding has been a problem but wanting to reduce that doesn't make sense by legalizing drugs. Some sentences given to criminals are excessive but are not taken lightly either.
There are those that debate that more positives could come out of legalization. Some examples are; Drug prices would fall, users could obtain their drugs at low government regulated prices, levels of drug related crime would significantly decline and ect.(pg 285) While all of this makes legalization more appealing, it still causes for concern of peoples well being and other peoples safety. There are any concerns will each drug that could become legal. Marijuana is not as harmful as some of the other drugs but still have consequences for your health when consumed. A big health concern that Inciardi pointed out was respiratory problems, when smoking marijuana you are inhaling carbon monoxide four times greater than one cigarette.(pg 289) Since tobacco is mixed in with the marijuana you are causing damage from the tobacco intake as well. The potency in recent years is a big concern for the drug as well. The amount of THC in marijuana these days is high and could become ever higher as the years go on.
Dr. Szasz had many fair points about drug abuse and use but also simply wanted to push the problems under the rug and act like they were not there. Is this effective? Is he right in saying, "Ignore the problem and there will no longer be a problem"?(pg 293.) In some ways it make sense that drug control could not be as tough because then yes, overcrowding of jails wouldn't be an issue. I wonder if drug use would go up though and if abusers would be entrapped to use more often because it is now easier to get their hands on. I have always heard that marijuana is the gateway drug. If it is the gateway drug for users to upgrade to a different drug, than isn't it the same for legalization. It is the gateway drug for other drugs to become legal as well. It is a topic that will never have both sides agreeing. There will be arguments to push legalization and arguments to keep it illegal.
The author compares punishing drug users to punishing book readers, though he also states that punishing a book reader would be even more pointless. According to the author, the real question is whether we place any value on drugs. Throughout time, people have been trying to explain a 'just society', as well as what activities in this society are of value. There are two basic thoughts on this. A philosopher captures the entirety of societies opinion and sums it up, or every person has a slightly different view of a just society, and it is the philosophers goal to provide ideas. Why are there only two points of view? I feel like philosophers would have come up with a lot more. The author questions why we should apologize for our recreational use of drugs, when we don't have to apologize for indulging other pleasures. Those who have high self-esteem are more likely to use licit drugs, even though the reasoning behind using illicit and licit drugs is basically the same. People like to devalue others activities that they do not understand or participate in as well. To argue that drug use is positive, spiritual value is often brought up, along with arguments for creativity. What about amphetamines, and other drugs people use to be more productive even if they do not have a learning disability? Like taking adderall to focus on cleaning your house for six hours, or to stay awake during your night shift at work. I would consider those more recreational than medical. Medical uses are usually accepted, whereas recreational are not. Drugs do have side effects and risks though, even when taken as told. We allow people to take huge risks that are not drug related (skydiving, bungee jumping, etc) but when it comes to drugs, it is often punished. Moods are one thing we use recreational drugs for, such as relaxing, or having fun. Most of these moods created are good, and should not have a reason to be defended. Drugs can however be counterproductive, but drug laws have always been focused towards minorities, for instance, African Americans are statistically more likely to be arrested for drug use than whites. Black's also have to live with 'dual frustration'. Drugs are not as bad for health as has been previously assumed. Deaths are more readily caused by prohibition than the drugs themselves. Leading people to have to stake more trust in the unknown and unclean for fear of being caught otherwise. Drug policies can often lead to things more harmful than the drug itself, including wars. By trying to prevent drug use by creating laws against them, it is just creating more crime that doesn't need to exist, even indirectly. An example that the author gave was, those who seek but do not have the means to attain drugs, will resort to stealing and laundering. However, even if drugs were legal in this case, they would still cost money, so wouldn't people still steal to try to get the drugs? Mistrust is often created between people. The systems that are meant to educate them deceive them as well. Finally, corruption and the spending of money on useless policies and restrictions are important factors in why the system should handle drugs differently
In James Inciardi's chapter, The Great Drug Debate: The War on American Drug Policy he talks about both the positive and negative outcomes to the legalization of different drugs. He first talks about some of the positive things that would come about with the legalization of illicit drugs. Some of these outcomes included the lowering of drug prices, levels of drug-related crime would fall, and drug users would not have to resort to other illegal activities to support their habits (prostitution, burglary, robberies, muggings, and other street crimes). Some of the arguments for the objecting side to the legalization of drugs included, there would be behavioral and health problems that would outweigh the consequences of prohibition, and that drug-related violence would increase.
In Douglas Husak's Disadvantages of Prohibition he discusses many of the negative effects of prohibition. The first one being aimed at racial bias, he states that prohibition has always been aimed or selectively enforced against a certain minority. Blacks and Whites have roughly comparable drug use rates, but blacks are arrested and prosecuted more harshly at a much higher rate. He discusses how the fatalities attached to illicit drug use are more closely related to drug prohibition that the use of the drug. Husak states that along with the incarceration of so many individuals just for drug use, this could make the communities in which they live in, much more dangerous in the long run. The last counterproductive effect he states about our countries drug policy, is that we spend so much money on the policies that we create to combat drugs instead of creating policies to legalize them and create revenue for the government.
1. Do you agree with what Husak states about the negative effects of prohibition?
2. If our country were to legalize marijuana, how do you think our nations debt would look in 10 years?
3. Do you think that the connection that people generalize between the African American community and crack-cocaine will ever be broken?
In James Inciardi's "The Great Drug Debate", Inciardi discusses the positive and negative aspects of legalizing illicit drugs and he discusses the physiological, social, political, and economic effects of the illicit drugs. Among the positive aspects of the drugs are less crime, less imprisonment, less corruption, and lower drug prices. Among the negative aspects of drug legalization, he lists degraded interpersonal skills and emotional development among the young, troubled family lives, and difficulty in the obtaining and maintaining of jobs. He provides arguments for maintaining criminalization and decriminalizing drugs and his argument seems to be that somewhere in the middle may be the best for our country.
In Douglas Husak's "Disadvantages of Prohibition", Husak provides a very fair analysis of the positives involved in legalizing many illicit drugs. He first list the positive effects of drugs and makes the argument that rarely are other pastimes or legal drugs as harshly scrutinized as illicit drugs. Then he lists the eight disadvantages of criminalizing drugs: racial bias, health, foreign policy, crime, lies and hypocrisy, civil liberties, corruption, and money. He argues that the United States and its citizens would be in a better position in each of these respects if illicit drugs were legalized. Husak does not detail the negatives of drugs in his chapter but he does not pretend to either.
1. What drugs does Inciardi believe should be legalized/decriminalized?
2. What drugs does Husak believe should be legalized/decriminalized?
3. What, if any, does Husak see as the negative aspects of illicit drugs?
Inciardi discusses the shifts in severity of the War on Drugs in chapter ten of his book, the former of which is called "The Great Drug War." Presidents Reagan, Bush Sr., and W. Bush all favored military-style tactics to combat the drug market, and much of their anti-drug activity spread outside the borders of the United States. Many demand-reduction strategies were not only failures but actually introduced adolescents and young adults to the world of drugs. But despite the obvious failure in multiple aspects of the War on Drugs, the US government continued to stand by these tactics. And this is understandable; how foolish would the government look if they ended this war on drugs with such little success to show? And how would the United States' relations with other countries change if their stance on drug policies, which are relevant in every nation, were to change so drastically? While we wouldn't likely gain allies in Peru and Columbia, relations would undoubtedly be very different. And might America's relationships with other developed nations that are tough on crime suffer as a result?
Husak wrote in his chapter called Disadvantages of Prohibition that there is a bias among legislators in measuring severity of punishment performed against violators of various drug laws. Husak recognizes the existence of a double standard when people expect an explanation of others' interest in some activities, but not others. He states that the perceived value of an activity will subjectively change each person's opinion about its occurrence. After putting to question the level of harm perceived in society, Husak next brought up the negative effects of prohibition, discussing racial profiling in laws as well as the dangers that come from operating within the realm of high-risk illicit drug use. The ongoing international war on drugs has led to countless acts of violence and war that are arguably more detrimental to society than use of the drug itself. Husak goes on further to evaluate the concept that decriminalization of drugs would actually reduce crime rates, improve understanding of drugs, reduce the use of questionable investigative tactics by police and lawmakers alike, and ultimately save the federal government billions of dollars annually.
I must ask myself what it would truly take for drug criminalization to end, or at least to reduce in severity. A major barrier that our society faces in this respect is our opinions about drugs, namely our tendency to use drugs in excess, simply because they are drugs. What would happen if drugs were completely decriminalized one day? There would undoubtedly be rampant drug use at first, because of the novelty of the situation. We would likely see large increases in drug overdose rates, mainly by people who tried drugs for the first time after the end of criminalization. In this theoretical situation, drugs would most likely continue to be identified as the cause of these overdoses and deaths. This is because Americans do not like to accept consequences for their actions; rather, many choose to place the blame on other conditions or objects. If such major changes to drug policies were made, could Americans change their opinions about drugs in such a way that the inherently-American tendency to live for excess not apply to drug use? Unfortunately, I do not see such major changes in the minds of Americans happening in the near future.
Inciardi Ch. 11 - Legalization
In this chapter Inciardi discusses the debate surround the legalization of drugs. There are many theorized benefits of legalizing drugs that are currently banned. It's debated that drug law have created a reality for our society that is worse than the drugs themselves. The cost of the Drug War is far greater than the cost of legalization. Some believe that legislation that has passed to control drugs hasn't managed to reduce the demand for them; which effectively does nothing for society. It is impractical to make something illegal that so many people are committed to using. Inciardi addresses the possible positive outcomes that could result in legalizing drugs. There are potential profits to be gained by growing crops here, to regulating the cost and purity. There could be less overdosing if doses and purity were regulated. There are of course many questions that would need to be answered before a drug was legalized. Some of these questions are: which drugs to legalize, what potency, will there be age restrictions, where should it be grown, who should advertise, will establishments be able to serve them like they do alcohol, and many other questions. Inciardi then discusses specifics of particularly popular drugs. The reality of Marijuana is that it is not a risk free drug. In fact, there are there are over 2000 chemicals in cannabis sativa when lit. The chemicals are fat soluble, so they store up in the body in the brain, liver, lungs and reproductive organs. As well, the THC potency in marijuana has risen since the 1960s. Back then it was as strong as 1/10 of 1% now it's 5%. In another strain of weed, Sinsemilla, the potency is 14%. THC impairs psychomotor functions in the user and can render the person unable to operate any kind of machinery. Inciardi then goes to discuss Drug related violence and concludes from various theories and studies that due to other variables that drug related violence is unlikely to drop with legalization. Also, that there is a strong potential for the number os users to rise if drugs are legalized because many people feel drug are hard to find. Legalization would make them easier to access.
Inciardi Ch.12 - Supply reduction vs demand reduction
In this chapter Inciardi covers the history of successes and failures in the many drug use treatment sentences given by drug courts. It is said that supply reduction strategies used by the government are much higher than implementing demand reduction strategies. Supply-reduction does nothing to lower demand. Since 1980 drug arrests have tripled with more than 80% being for simple possession. Most of the people in federal prison for drug crimes are first time, non-violent offenders. The war on drugs has been ineffective, only causing a drastic rise in incarcerations. California's Proposition 36 was meant to give non-violent drug possessions offenders the option of participating in treatment instead of prison time. This kind of system started in the 1970s as a criminal justice diversion for youth and minor offenders. The U.S. currently has about 1600 drug courts that are supposed to implement these strategies but the success of these programs is hard to determine due to inconsistent programming. Yet the prison population continues to grow. Whether successful or not there simply are not enough of these programs available to meet the need. Residential Substance Abuse Treatment programs for inmates are helping to fund drug treatment in prisons. These programs are trying to break the drug-crime cycle while still imposing a punishment on the offender. These systems are usually three steps. The first is isolating users into a therapeutic community that is away from other prison life and prison lifestyles. The second step is to transition people back into society by allowing them have work release. This can cause problems however, by allowing them back into communities where drugs are available. The last step is release on parole or supervision. This is paired with outpatient treatment and mandatory counseling and group therapy.
1. Why can't there be a work-release with a contracted company that wouldn't put former users back in a using-capable environment?
2. Why wouldn't the govt want to capitalize on drug legalization? It's a huge market that would bring in money vs wasting money.
3. Why isn't there more standardization in diversion treatment programs?
James Inciardi- Chapter 11- The Great Drug Debate:The War on American Drug Policy(2008)
In Chapter 11 of Inciardi's The War of Drugs, the debate between the legalization and criminalization of drugs, its use, its distribution, and the effects of both, socially, politically,economically as well as physiologically, are discussed and explained in great length. The proponents of legalization argue that, given policies that are put in place to control drug use and distribution, simply exacerbate existing issues of street crime, addiction, criminal activities, foreign drug trade and so on,legalizing drugs would be holistically beneficial to the American Society. Legalization would control or resolve most of the issues, that are caused by the system in relation to drugs, and as such, as proponents argue, the demand for drugs would decline. Those opposing legalization,provide historical,sociological,physiological and psychological reasons on how drugs impact each of these areas, and to what extent does the harm caused by drugs, outweigh the benefits of legalizing them. Inciardi's in his work, explains the nature and effects of particular drugs, namely Marijuana, Crack and Cocaine and Heroine. He does suggest that the proponents of legalization provide arguments that in many ways, lack depth in the potential use,classification and effects of drugs, so as to leave many questions and areas of contention unanswered. The main effect of the prohibition of drugs, is the increased demand by drug users in the black market, which is something that legalization proponents use in their arguments,as something that can be controlled. It seems that both legalization and prohibition have its valid points.
Douglas Husak-Legalize This! The Case for Decriminalizing Drugs "Disadvantages of Prohibition"(2002)
Morality is a highly perceptual subject, and what constitutes it depends on how one views it. Morality comes in conflict with the use of drugs, on the basis of which is either socially approved or condemned, based on its effects, and further, legalized or criminalized. Douglas Husak seeks to find the reasons why drug use can actually be a positive to society, but also to find reasons why it should not be prohibited. Husak uses comparison tools, to compare engaging in drug use with other risk-involved activities such as skydiving or skiing. Moreover, his analysis of the use of drugs, suggests that drugs are not merely used to cure psychological ailments, but also as a recreation. He outlines that given drugs have been used to derive pleasure, and since political philosophy for centuries, has endorsed the idea of helping people gain pleasure, the use of drugs should within this framework, not be prohibited. Thus he states that the state does not have reasons that are valid enough for prohibition of drugs, also stating that if drug use has value, the state needs better reasons to criminalize it. Given his main contention about the use of drugs, he looks at the potential negative effects of prohibition of drugs. These include racial bias created law enforcers, People's health, Foreign Policies, Corruption in Government, Crime, Hypocrisy by people in authoritative positions,Civil Liberties of the people and Money. These factors make the drug war even more complicated to tackle.
1)Do Law enforcement agencies have stronger reasons to incarcerate people who engage in drug use, based purely on the potency of the drug?
2)How effectively does Drug use reduce street crime? Will other types of crimes emerge, that were not known before, if drugs are legalized?
3)If drugs were to be legalized, will it cause less racial disparities ?
In Douglas Husak's Legalize This! he discusses the disadvantages of the prohibition of drugs and how illicit drugs should be legalized. He goes through the positive effects of drugs and how recreational illicit drugs seem to get a bad reputation, especially when recreation is so valued. He states that we do not have a good reason to punish individuals for recreational illicit drug use and that even book readers and sports fans should be treated the same as these drug users. In this chapter, he discusses the negative effects of prohibition and eight harmful consequences of it. These consequences are racial bias, health, foreign policy, crime, lies and hypocrisy, civil liberties, corruption, and money. He uses examples for each one of these consequences some are racial profiling, corrupt police officers, high crime rates, and the amount of money the government spends and wastes on combating drugs. I understand these issues but, if we decriminalize illicit drugs will our future children just want to get high and not want to succeed in life? Why does Husak tell us that prescription drugs cause about 100,000 fatalities each year in the U.S. when they are taken correctly and that this figure far exceeds deaths caused by illicit drugs? He really needs to pull some more numbers for me to want to believe this is true. Also, if we decriminalize all drugs than wont we just end up with an endless amount of individuals in rehab? Rehab may be cheaper than prison but those too will become overcrowded.
In Inciardi's chapter 11 The Great Drug Debate he discusses the pros and cons of legalizing illicit drugs. Some pros are that drug prices fall, less crime, less imprisonment, and even less government corruption. But, he brings up many unresolved issues in the quest for legalizing certain drugs. Such as which ones should be legalized, age limits on who can use the drugs, potency levels, and even who can distribute these drugs. These are just some of the questions that Inciardi brings up, but he also goes into the arguments against legalizing some drugs. Certain drugs have public health issues and behavioral consequences. He speaks about how marijuana, crack, cocaine, and heroin all have consequences that can affect families, jobs, and personal relationships because these drugs when taken by teens can block interpersonal skills and emotional development when taken at an early age. Inciardi also speaks of the crime and enslavement argument which talks about the drug black market. There is also the drug/violence argument that talks about the crime increasing throughout the years at a rapid pace. He does go into other arguments against the legalization but, harm reduction is something he mentions that has many confused. Harm reduction is used to reduce the risks and consequences of drugs, so Inciardi discusses medical marijuana and methadone maintenance and how they are still controversial issues. He also, states how harm reduction has been around for decades and that more research needs to be done. After reading these I myself can say no for the legalizing of these illicit drugs. Would you want the surgeon who just smoked some crack cutting you open? No I think not.
Husak's chapter on the "Disadvantages of Prohibition" makes an argument for the decriminalization and possibly even the legalization of illicit drugs in the United States. Husak makes this argument by first discussing the positive effects of drugs and talking about the recreational use of drugs. Husak argues that other dangerous activities, such as skydiving, are not criminalized even though they are committed solely for recreation and pleasure, while illicit drugs that are used recreationally are criminalized even though they are less dangerous than other activities. He also points out that people such as football fans are not expected to defend their interest despite it having no productive effects, while drugs are only accepted by society if they have some helpful effect like Prozac. Husak goes on to argue that prohibition is not only unhelpful, but actually detrimental and he provides eight points that prove the negative outcomes of prohibition in the United States. These points are racial bias, health, foreign policy, crime, lies and hypocrisy, civil liberties, corruption, and money.
Inciardi's chapter, "The Great Drug Debate", discusses pros and cons of drug legalization and decriminalization in the United States, although Inciardi seems to focus more heavily on the cons. He begins by listing several benefits of drug legalization such as drugs being cheaper and there being less crime. Inciardi then writes about ten main questions that would need to be addressed if drugs became legalized, including which drugs should be legalized and what government agency would enforce drug regulations. Next, Inciardi goes drug-by-drug discussing the harmful health and behavioral problems that can arise from the use of each drug. The next section talks about the enslavement argument, saying that "a thing does not exist until it is imagined and given a name." Inciardi writes about drug use's relationship to violence, and he argues that legalization of drugs would not likely reduce the surrounding violence because there is still violence associated with alcohol use. He talks about possibilities with marketing drugs and how use would inevitably be portrayed positively, and then discusses sophism. Inciardi defines prohibition, legalization, decriminalization, medicalization, and harm reduction and goes on to discuss harm reduction and the slippery slope around it.
1) How did Husak's argument about prohibition harming health relate to the harm reduction articles by Nadelmann ("Commonsense Drug Policy") and Cooper, et al. ("The Impact of a Police Drug Crackdown on Drug Injector's Ability to Practice Harm Reduction: A Qualitative Study")?
2) Inciardi writes that drug users are "forced to engage in prostitution, burglaries, robberies, muggings, and other street crimes" to afford drugs, but then in his next point says that they are not "real criminals." How is it that those who partake in these crimes are not "real criminals" just because they are doing it for drug-related reasons?
3) Husak says that the money from taxing drugs should be used for education, while Inciardi says that the tax money should be used towards "preventing drug abuse and treating those harmed by drugs." How do you think the money should be used if drugs start being taxed?
For this week, I read both articles by James Inciardi. The first chapter, The Great Drug Debate, talked about legalizing drugs and the pros and cons of doing so. It started out by talking about the main arguments that the pro-drug legalizing side had during a meeting about it in 1988 and 1989. These arguments focused mostly on how drug prices would fall, and on moving people out of jails and freeing up the criminal justice system to make room for what they called the "real criminals of society." The rest of the article was about debunking these claims, including arguments from the public health standpoint, behavioral consequences standpoint, the crime and enslavement standpoint, the drugs and violence standpoint, and the expanded market argument.
The second chapter, War Is Not The Answer, talked about the War and Drugs and if it should continue or not. The money spent on this war has far exceeded even our wildest imaginations. Billions and billions of dollars are pumped into incarceration and punishment to keep drugs off of the streets both domestically and internationally. In reality, the money would probably do better in a treatment facility or on education helping people to get better from their drug addictions or other issues regarding drugs and crime. This chapter seemed to focus more on not why drugs should be legal, but on what the money that goes to them should be used for. It also talked about the Golden Fleece award, which I had never heard of, and was a great way to open the chapter in a more relatable and funny manner.
Some questions and comments I have from these readings are as follows:
1). Because this was written in 2008, I would be curious to see what Inciardi thinks about the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Would he agree with the stance?
2). In the first chapter, Inciardi talks about the negative consequences of a lot of drugs, including marijuana. He mentions that not a lot of research is conclusive and that they are still looking for evidence to back up claims. Has this changed in the past six years? Are there studies that have looked at the long-term benefits or risks of marijuana use?
3). Are there other countries that have better drug policies than the US? Could these models be used here?
Commonsense Drug Policy
This article by Ethan A. Nadelmann explored the positives of harm-reduction in term of combating drug use in America. One argument that Nadelmann made is our drug policy in America is flawed because the creators and enforcers of the policies are clueless; drug control officials do not use scientific approaches when making claims, police officers, generals, politicians are considered drug czars but none of them have a public health background. Also, independent commissions evaluate drug policies but their recommendations are not followed because their recommendations are considered risky. Lastly, Nadelmann argues that drug policies are not designed, implemented, and enforced by virtually no input from the millions of Americans they affect most: drug users.
I particularly found this article interesting. An item that I thought was interesting was, "Most American drug related problems are associated with domestically produced alcohol and tobacco" (1998). This was interesting to me because the legal substances are causing more harm than the substances that are illicit and look down upon by our society. I thought we should probably target users of tobacco and alcohol than illegal substances.
The entire time I was reading this article I was thinking who has a vested interest in opposing harm-reduction models. It is clear and evident from European studies that harm-reduction is effective in reducing crime, reducing deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS, corruption and death. The evidence that has been collected is from reputable sources and researchers and programs such as safe need exchanges and methadone programs are helping. Why isn't America supporting these programs? I think America overall is profiting from users.
Do you believe that America is profiting from the drug war and this is one reason why politicians are not in favor of harm reduction model?
The article made the claim "Methadone is the best available treatment in terms of reducing illicit heroin use and associated crime, disease, and death" after viewing Methadonia do you think this claim is invalid?
After reading this article do you have any other ideas on how we can reduce drug use in America.
Reading 2 The Impact of a Police Crackdown on Drug Injectors' ability to Practice Harm Reduction: A Qualitative Study
By: Hannah Cooper, Lisa Moore, Sofia Gruskin, Nancy Krieger
This article was primarily based on research from police crackdowns in New York City. The research explored the relationship between drug injectors and police crackdowns. The researcher police monitoring made it difficult for homeless men and women to inject safely and police searches reduced the number of users carrying safe equipment.
The researchers define harm reduction as drug injectors want to protect their health and they are capable of protecting their health. When users protect their health they are also protecting non-users health because they are not necessarily transmitting diseases. The second definition that is given is social geography which states that society and space are mutually constituted. The past and present interactions of economics, political and social systems give shape to space and thus we can understand ourselves in the world.
I enjoyed reading the discussion and results section of this article because it had beneficial information and contested my thinking. One fact that was consistent with my thinking is crackdowns caused users to use in other places. The police crackdowns did not reduce using but instead of discouraging users from using in certain areas.This is quite relevant to course content that we have been learning about the US and prohibition. I also thought the differences among female and male users was interesting women tended to inject by themselves but men were able to use in a group in order to prevent being caught because there was a look out.
How is prohibition similar to police crackdowns or different (prohibition in terms of eliminating a drug and the text made this statement Likewise, participants experienced local streets and parks as intensively monitored spaces during the crackdown and accordingly endeavored to shift their drug-related activity elsewhere: by injecting at home, retreating to the precinct's spatial margins)
How do we create a positive atmosphere for users and police? It is important for police to keep communities safe but it is also important for users to have faith in the legal system.
3. How can we add protection for women users?
Roe - Harm Reduction Strategies
This article written by Gordon Roe in the Critical Public Health journal is focused on the history and evolving functions and perspectives on 'harm reduction' strategies. It is stated here that the harm reduction concept began in the 1960-1970s. In the Netherlands in the 1970s there was a movement for the balance of harms which brought discussion on the whether strict enforcement of minor drug offences was in the best interest of society and the individual. In the 1990s Canada implemented a program in response to the spread of HIV/AIDS. This program viewed specific criminal subcultures as communities with specific medical needs. By supplying clean needles and condoms they felt would reduce the risks associated with these diseases. Harm reduction accepts that drug-taking cannot be prevented. instead it focuses on the health and crime consequences. Roe writes that many of these programs target 'at risk' populations. The programs are becoming increasingly less about policy change. This factor does not help the 'at risk' populations. Though the programs serve as functions for safely enabling people to use drugs it does dot prevent drug use.
Cooper - Police Crackdowns and harm reduction practices
This report in the Social science and medicine journal studies the effects of a 'drug crackdown' police strategy on the ability for IV drug users to practice harm reduction. This study takes place in NYC in 2000. The thesis here is that drug users who fear arrest are less likely to carry around sterile syringes, resulting in less safe methods of drug use. Many of the crackdowns occurring between 1982 - 2001 were user focused versus dealer focused. This study also supports the idea that some drug users are unable or unwilling to stop. Therefore, harm reduction methods are there to reduce the societal risks by providing clean, safe, indoor locations. The study methods produce a sample population from NYC's 46th precinct that is primarily Black and Latino. The results show that police presence did in fact impair ability to practice harm reduction due to a few different effects: The elevated police surveillance and the increased risk of 'stop and searches'. Though this is true of the results the participants also noted that they failry supported the crackdown. They wanted safe places for their children, who would be less exposed to drugs and the violence that occurs in these areas.
1. According to Cooper Police crackdowns lead to less drug usage on the streets. Is this really such a negative? There would be less chance of having syringes laying around right?
2. Are harm reduction programs really utilized? I have hardly ever heard of them.
3. Could there be a better way for these programs to target the groups who are most likely to unsafely inject? How are their services publicized?
In Cooper et al.'s article, the authors discuss the negative health impacts that resulted from the increased drug crackdowns by the police in New York City in the 1990s and 2000s. As the drug scare emerged in the United States and as arrests for drug possession increased, the police adopted new strategies for catching drug users. This included crackdowns, which were heightened surveillance and arrests of drug users. As these crackdowns increased in New York City, drug users had to adopt new strategies for consuming and carrying drugs. Many of these techniques were based on social factors, such as class and gender. Drug users were more likely to shoot up quickly, without checking the purity of their drugs, which could lead to easier drug overdoses. Also, users were less likely to clean their injection site, which increased the risk of infection. Drug users also were more likely to share needles instead of carrying them around, which increased the risk of transmissible diseases like HIV. Lastly, when transporting the drugs, drug users oftentimes carried the drugs inside their mouths or inside their bodies to avoid police detection. Thus, the police crackdown on drugs caused drug users to adopt habits that were much more unhealthy. One thing I was curious about was whether the police crackdowns were targeting specific drugs, such as heroin or whether the crackdowns were just trying to limit all drug sales? I also wondered whether the general public was supportive of these crackdowns and whether the crackdowns actually were able to decrease violence at all?
In Nadelmann's article, he discusses the harm reduction drug strategies that have been adopted in European countries and the counterpart measures that have been discussed and adopted in the United States. He talks about how European politicians and the general public initially were very against the harm reduction strategies since some people thought these strategies were calling for the legalization of drugs or the support of continued drug use. However, countries started to adopt different measures, largely because of the outbreak of HIV and AIDS in the 1980s, including the decriminalization of certain drugs, extensive methadone programs, needle exchange programs, and "safe rooms" where drug users can get high. These different programs have met varying resistance, but in most cases, the programs have been extremely successful and well-received. For a program that legally administered small doses of heroin to addicts, the drug users were less likely to be violent and actually ended up wanting to get off of the drug. Few, if any, of these measures have enjoyed much success in the United States. The question I had was whether most of these programs were still in use in Europe? Also, has Europe adopted any other harm reduction programs recently that have enjoyed success?
Commonsense Drug Policy
According to the author, Ethan A. Nadelmann the "war on drugs" has made matters worse, not better for both society and the individual citizen. The amount of people behind bars for drug abuse went from ~50,000 people in 1980 to 400,000 in 1997 a eightfold increase. According to the author these are the results of a drug policy over reliant on criminal justice solutions. The efforts of the U.S. to keep drugs from being produced abroad and exported to American markets have failed miserably. The drug business has only increased over the years. The problem with the drug policy is if we were able to stop importation of drugs like herion they would only be replaced by drug readily available in the U.S. New harm reduction approaches to drug policy are spreading throughout Europe, and Australia. This is different that demand-reduction strategies (which are still important) Harm reduction includes, providing sterile needles to prevent further spread of diseases like HIV, allowing doctors to prescribe methadone and heroin so addicts don't support the black market , creating "safe injection rooms" so addicts to don't shoot up in public locations, employ agents to test for drug quality at parties to curb deaths from MDMA, decriminalizing small amount of hard drugs and cannabis completely. The article went further in-depth about needle exchanges and how they do save lives. The author made a good point by stating that "Methadone is to street heroin what nicotine skin patches and chewing gum are to cigarettes? with the added benefit of legality." The author thinks doctors need to be given more latitude in prescribing methadone. Therefore, it needs to integrated into mainstream medicine and not so heavily controlled by the government, which will increase its availability to curb addiction to black market drugs.
1. How do you prevent addicts from abusing methadone by making drug cocktails to increase the high?
2. How will implementation of harm-reduction keep a person away from black market drug dealing? If less people use black market drug then isn't it possible for the price of drugs on the black market to be lower than the price of prescription Heroin or Methadone.
The impact of a police drug crackdown on drug injectors' ability to practice harm reduction: A qualitative study
The study was formulated based on the notion that injectors were too scared to carry syringes because of fear of arrest so they used dirty needles instead. This made them susceptible to diseases like HIV and Hepatitis. Between 1982 and 2001 arrests for drug possession in the US more than doubled. In the 1960' to early 1980's drug enforcement focused on high-level drug distributors and manufacturers but a fear that sky rocketing drug prices would increase crime shifted the mindset. Instead law enforcement focused on low level dealers and users. The NYPD followed these similar policies and in 1996-2000 they deployed TNT to target precincts where drug offences were high. What ended up happening is those precincts that were targeted were impoverished and had a large black presence. This indicated that some of these policies being taken up by law enforcement were racially prejudice. This study wanted to focus on harm reduction, which is based on the idea that some drug users may be unable to abstain from drug abuse. Thus, the government needs to support drug abusers to use drugs in a safe way that will reduce mortality and prejudice. After the study New York State law changed to allow a person to possess up to ten syringes without a prescription. The researchers advocate for a discontinuation on drug crackdowns and for government designed programs to be installed to reduce public drug activity by not harming drug users.
3. Installation of harm reduction strategies may give the public the idea that using drugs are safe. How would this strategy prevent even more people from resorting to drugs to get high?
Ethan A. Nadelmann-Commonsense Drug Policy,Foreign Affairs(1998)
Nadelmann's article evaluates the effectiveness of US drug policies, by finding data and statistics that present the effects and results of implementing such policies, the overall attitude in the American social and political sphere regarding public health policies and regulation and the prohibition of drug usage, and a comparison between techniques used in the US and in other countries, particularly European Countries, on how drug usage is controlled, and public health is maintained. Within his analysis, Nadelmann claims that there is less political and social action taken in the US, to control the spread and effects of drugs, than compared to other countries, and he concludes so by analyzing how major drugs in the US are treated. There is a large consensus in the US that drug-related crime, diseases and death, is the reason why law enforcement agencies, enact laws against drug usage and distribution, rather than focusing on scientific research, to help better treat the people who were users, and were afflicted. In other countries, as Nadelmann points out, there is better organization,supervision and maintenance of the treatment of drugs and drug users, which focuses on eradicating or lessening the problem, than simply reacting on the consequences. So when analyzing the whole issue of drugs and drug usage in relation to public health, Nadelmann says that drug control policies are ineffective, if they attack the user, rather than wipe out the consequences of it. They should aim at creating an atmosphere which aids in helping these addicts.
Cooper H. et al-The impact of a police drug crackdown on drug injectors' ability to practice harm reduction(2004)
Hannah Cooper's study discusses the effects of police investigations and crackdowns on street-level drug use, and how the surveillance of these areas,whether increased or decreased, correspond with the behavior patterns of the drug users. The study was designed to look at how factors such as race, age, gender, education level, and the participants ideas of public and private space, contributed in their behaviors in reaction to these crackdowns. A common behavior that was noticed was when the participants in the study, stashed their drug syringes around the precinct,rather than simply carrying,which was the result of the crackdown. The study conducted and the results produced, were a consequence of finding patters of behavior in the participants after the crackdown,having previous knowledge of how crackdown tactics work, and what are the effects, and interviewing the participants, in the experiences with different law enforcement agencies. The increased amount of surveillance on the precinct and the participants, gave the victims increased health issues, because of deprivation of essential drugs required to maintain body health, and also creating social inequitable relations(Cooper H. et al 2004). The study findings made Cooper conclude that these crackdowns must be discontinued, because while they may be aimed at ensuring public safety and reducing drug usage, they increasingly conflict with injectors' capacity to engage in harm reduction. There must be more access to drug treatment,rather than simply enforcing a drug crackdown in reducing drug activity. These crackdowns undermine the health of the community's ailing and vulnerable.
1)Are there any particular anti-drug usage policies in which the US fares better,in terms of desired results achieved, than other countries?
2)How much can education help in reducing drug activity, rather than simply enforcing drug laws?
3)To what extent are the police able to comprehend the effect of crackdowns on the community's health and harm reduction action, and does that change their behaviors during surveillance? Do the police enforce different techniques of surveillance in other cities/neighborhoods?
In The Impact of a Police Drug Crackdown on Drug Injectors' Ability to Practice Harm Reduction: A Qualitative Study, Cooper et al. interviewed 40 illicit-drug-injecting residents in New York City. They focused on the role that the police had in their participant's drug use practices. They found that the constant monitoring of public places and police crackdowns affected these people from engaging in harm reduction (p. 673). In fear of getting caught and being seen injecting, these people felt rushed to inject and often reused their needles without cleaning it properly to save time (pg. 679).
In Commonsense Drug Policy, Ethan A. Nadelmann argued that the U.S. tends to focus on supply-reduction in Latin America and Asia to control the drug problem in the U.S. However, that does not help because most of the U.S.'s drug problems occur inside the U.S. He later argues that the U.S. should focus on harm-reduction efforts as presented in Europe and Australia because it recognizes that prohibition has failed to reduce drug abuse, crime, disease, and death (pg. 113-114). He concludes that politically the U.S. should reevaluate their drug policies. Mainly, the U.S. needs to acknowledge the practice of harm reduction to stop the spread of HIV instead of focusing primarily on casual drug users.
(1) In Cooper et al's study their participants consisted predominately of Blacks and Latinos. Have they conducted further research in an area with more diverse racial backgrounds to see if there are any different impacts on the roles of the Police and surveillance?
(2) Cooper et al. also mentioned that there was a difference in gender roles in their study. Could it be that men are exposed to the drug scene more so than women?--Resulting in their faster and accurate injection than women? Has there been any research done to further explore this topic of gender roles and drug injections?
(3) Nadelmann argued that the political practices of Europe and Australia are promising for drug control. The article was written in 1998 and it has now been about 16 years since it was written. Was the policy as promising as Nadelmann has predicted? Were there other factors that affected the policy over time that were unknown when the article was written?
As a student born and raised in the United States, it was interesting to read about the complete variance between the US drug policy and other countries. In the reading Commonsense Drug Policy by Ethan A Nadelmann, he discusses the history of "harm reduction" as a plausible effective policy change in the US government. Nadelmann begins by pointing out the ideology of US politicians and legislation that is based on the "drug war" that began in the 80s. With the peak of illicit drug use by teenagers in 1980 and the subsequent more than 50% decrease throughout the next 12 years, several warriors against drugs think that highly punitive measures are effective. They also began to believe that if they cannot fully control the use of drugs, they should look to reducing the supply. From there they set up ways to fight the flow of drugs from Latin America and Asia. The US government would destroy crops, offer to peasants "crop substitution" and interfere with drug trafficking routes. Nadelmann reports that these may have immediate impact or little temporary impact, however, in the long run, the demand will always overpower the attempts of drug elimination. Crop substitution is not lucrative enough for those who produce drug crops, crop destruction simply leads to new crops in other areas and drug trafficking interference leads to new routes, new traffickers and new methods. Additionally, Nadelmann points out that foreign drug supply is not the only source that fuels drug use in the US--several drugs are produced and sold right here in US without even touching foreign countries.
Nadelmann however, analyzes the policies of foreign countries in their efforts of harm reduction over drug elimination. Several countries in Europe and Australia have realized the futility of demand reduction and punishment of users and sellers and have turned to reducing the social harms that stem from drug use. Several of these countries see problems such as crime, HIV-AIDS, other health problems, death and corruption. Harm reduction efforts provide safe "shooting galleries," sterile needle dispensers, broadened prescription liberty for doctors, addiction treatment and rehabilitation and the decriminalization of drugs or at least certain amounts of drugs on an individual. With the implementation of all or some of these practices, countries have seen (and it is possible for US to see) a large decrease in punitive costs, HIV-AIDS stemming from drug use and criminal deviance. Nadelmann points out that these harm reduction practices like sterile needle dispensers and shooting galleries are incredibly cost effective as well.
Nadelmann discusses how US was able to pioneer the use of methadone to curb heroin addictions but legislation stopped there in terms of the political openness to discuss harm reduction practices. Additionally, since the initial use of methadone, the United States has failed to expand accessibility and effective methadone treatment programs.
Nadelmann also notes, however, that the lay people of the United States are increasingly open to harm reduction implementation and in recent years have formed groups and movements supporting the idea. Nadelmann says it is important to remember that "harm reduction" does not mean "legalization" but simply controlling the likelihood of overall social and economic harm caused by drugs.
In the more recent article Harm Reduction as Paradigm, Gordon Roe utilizes the paradigmatic path that "harm reduction" has taken to show its possible ineffectiveness. He points out that the success that harm reduction has had in other countries has helped with the support of its idea here in the US. The problem, however, is that it has simply evolved into a "movement" and not an active fight. With increasingly more people converting to "harm-reduction" support, the idea has become reformatory rather than revolutionary. There is now possibility that if the idea is implemented it will only be done as an additional service for drug-users rather than replacing the punitive measures already being practiced.
He utilizes articles in which authors provide evidence supporting the expansion of support of and the implementation of harm reduction however notes that the practice must replace current drug control rather than supplement it. If we simply provide hard reduction without decriminalizing drug sale and use, it will possible increase safe drug use, but will likely attract more drug users and sustain or increase costs of punitive measures. Roe also suggests that the idea of putting social responsibility back into the hands of the people rather that looking at harm reduction as a government control form is necessary to sustain the effectiveness of harm reduction.
While both of these articles were written almost a decade or more earlier, has there been any new acceptance on the federal level of law for harm-reduction implementation?
Has there been harm-reduction use in any foreign country to see what long term effects may result in this ideology? For instance, will harm reduction increase usage and consequently lead to other social problems like heavy unemployment rates?
Are there current "organized" groups supporting harm reduction that promote and aim to ensure the replacement of current punitive measures with harm reduction? And if so, how to they ensure that harm reduction will not turn into a way for the government to place into law but rather the community to hold as a social responsibility and empowerment of the individual?
1) In 1988 America made a goal to be drug free by 1995. Drug use by teenagers peaked by 1980 and then fell by 50 percent in 12 years. from 1980 to 1997 the budget for drug control rose 15 billion dollars. The regulators at that time rallied for abstinence instead of accepting that drugs are always going to be around and trying to work with that idea, thus the number of people imprisoned because of drugs increased about eight times. Americans have been looking abroad for answers, but they are looking in the wrong areas. And their efforts to get third world countries to grow legal plants, has been slow due to the fact that the income from illegal plants is much greater. Most marijuana, amphetamines, hallucinogens, and pharmaceutical drugs are made in the U.S. so cutting off foreign supply would do little. Where do the rest of those for categories or drugs come from? I can only assume Canada and Mexico could be potentially profitable from exporting those drugs to the U.S. In the 1980's they realized that the spread of AIDS was in part caused by the sharing of used needles. Methadone was frowned upon in most countries up until the 1990's but since then methadone has been a rigorous and effective treatment. From the video we watched last Monday, methadone seems just as hard to quit as heroin. Morphine and palfium are experimented with in the Netherlands and buprenorphine in France. Which ones, if any have been more effective then Methadone. In the 1980's heroin increased by nearly 10 times, and that's when they began their treatments. According to the Swiss, if there is an unlimited supply available for heroin addicts, they will stabilize their habits by themselves. Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the United States, it is on the rise again since the 90's. republican governor recommends that carrying up to one once be decriminalized. Dutch teenagers are less likely than American teenagers to try marijuana along with hard drugs. 51 percent of Canadians want to decriminalize cannabis. Wit such a large portion of Canadians wanting to legalize cannabis, how soon will it be til it is decriminalized there? On a different note, in the Andes, most users of cocaine use it in moderation, and there are little negative effects. There are many different attitudes towards drugs, some open minded, some not, but it is slowly progressing, focusing recently on harm-reduction.
2) Police have turned their focus from upper level drug dealers to street level. Black homeless men were more scared of being arrested, therefore less likely to carry syringes than white homeless men. In a town in Australia there were more barriers to using drug safely for men and younger injectors than for other injectors. Is this because young men are the primary injectors, or is it because they're considered more important? From 1982 to 2001, arrests for drug possession in the US more then doubled, being over a million in 2001. Before the eighties, police believed that cracking down on street level dealers caused crowding so they focused on upper level drug dealers, but they shifted their view in the eighties, thus causing the massive increase. They do everything from monitoring hot spots, to posing as a drug user to catch dealers. New York City had two large waves of crackdowns in the late 90's. Were some of these 'crackdowns' due to the crack epidemic? The researchers study focused on harm reduction and elements of social geography. Harm reduction, because they believed users wanted to protect themselves and others, so they try to help users quit, or at least reduce the amount their using. The second - social geography - is important because "society and space are mutually constituted: past and present interactions of economic, political, and social systems give shape to space and, likewise, encounters in and with space constitute and inform our understanding of our place-in-the-world". To collect the data, they author went to a NYC precinct and interviewed users and non users alike. They had to be at least 18, have been in the precinct for at least a year, inject 3+ days a week, and speak moderate English. The snowballing method was used to collect data. Is the snowballing sample really the best? You wouldn't get a random sample, and thus be more likely to study a select group of people since people are attracted to those similar to them, "birds of a feather flock together". The interviews lasted up to 90 minutes and had widely-open ended questions. None of the participants could get in trouble for their answers. To follow the demographics, the study was mostly of Blacks and Latinos who had no more than a high school education. The study suggested more cops around certain neighborhoods, and more body searches, this was different then what some of the Latinos said they'd like though. As the article says, the results would be 'catastrophic. Many who lived in neighborhoods where there was extra police patrol did not feel safe injecting in a home, so they injected outside even though that was not safe either. To save time, people often skipped cleaning their skin or heating the solution, creating an unsanitary environment. Why do cops in these areas treat those they find so horribly? They're already high off heroin, therefore less likely to act out. One woman went all the way as to wrapping her syringe in tissue paper and then hiding it between her butt cheeks to even further minimize the risk of being caught. Those less well off were often submitted to humiliated strip searches in public, afterwards resorting to hiding it inside their bodies, or near familiar buildings. Better access to drug treatments was a common wish, especially with an estimated 79% of those who inject, are not in treatment.
Common Sense Drug Policy and Impact of Drug Crackdown:
In Common Sense Drug Policy, Nadelman questions the effectiveness of drug policy. He contends that, due to the differing opinion on what qualifies as effective drug control (such as a drug-free America or lowering statistics of abusers), it is hard to determine what is an effective drug policy. He acknowledges the idea that drug policy should be more focused on reducing the amount of harm and damage caused by drugs to users and society. The article focuses on several different methods of drug control used in countries, such as safe zones (so users can practice/be informed of sanitary procedures with drug intake), methadone maintenance, etc. Since unsanitary shooting up methods causes a variety of damage to the individual, allowing for safe locations would decrease the likelihood of harm to the individual (such as the spread of HIV). While methadone maintenance has proven to be effective in other countries, decreasing crime and illegal drug usage, it has been less popular in the United States due to the bad connotations associated with it. Nadelman questions what the best course of future methods would be: legalization and/or regulation?
In the Impact of Drug Crackdown, the author goes into depth about the relationship of police surveillance and unsafe drug practices. This article discusses the fear of drug users associated with the surveillance and stories related to the policing, which causes them to be more likely to intake drugs unsafely. It goes through descriptions of how users hide/conceal their tools in unsanitary ways or shoot up as quickly as possible in public (causing them more likely to miss vein or not clean needle/arm before shooting up) to avoid getting noticed by the police. The questions brought forth by the article is how the desire for a safe neighborhood infringes upon the ability of safe drug practices on the streets. By public spaces being considered "unsafe" by users to shoot up, it causes unsanitary drug practices to individuals who are not privileged in having a private location to inject themselves. This article acknowledges the inequities within class and gender related to unsanitary practices (as the poor are more likely to shoot up in public spaces and women are more likely to use unsafe practices in public). Also, the article acknowledges that, without a general supply of safe equipment or knowledge of what safe practices of drug intake are, the public is more likely to use unsafe practices. Since most users learn from others, it is no surprise that the unsafe practices are used and reproduced through teaching others (with a lack of proper knowledge).
1) How can the relationship between having a safe neighborhood and allowing for safe zones change so that we can reduce the harm/damage done by drugs to society?
2) How can we shape our current connotations/understandings associated with drugs so that we can inform the public of safe, sanitary drug practices (which isn't readily known)?
3) What would be the best method for policing drugs in public spaces that doesn't unequally affect different classes or genders?
This popped up on my facebook feed:
Please note that last night's lecture contained information on drug courts that we didn't have time to cover. The slides are included here for you to view, but the drug court unit will *not* be on the midterm exam.
In Rebecca Tiger's "Drug Courts and the Logic of Coerced Treatment," the practice of coerced treatment is presented and defended by some drug court advocates. The article provides a brief history on coerced treatment, which stemmed from the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act in 1966. Tiger also highlights some components of drug courts that make it controversial in its claim of effectiveness but also the practices that have yielded positive results in some studies. Drug courts also emphasize the use of sanctions and increasing the severity of them to treat drug addicts. One advocate even states, "Force is the best medicine." Drug court advocates also state that long-term maintenance is important to the courts long-term mission of reducing crime in communities. As much as advocates claim that drug courts are the answers to the institutional failures of criminal courts, drug courts are also perpetuating the same structures of other courts. For instance, the judges always play a vital role and drug courts are not different. Drug court judges see cases in the courtroom but also heavily monitor defendants throughout treatment through mandated drug tests and reports. Ryan King and Jill Pasquarella's "Drug Courts: A Review of the Evidence," also brief the reader into the history of the drug courts and the growth of them since 1989. The authors argue that the growth of these courts is due to the War on Drugs. The U.S. focuses on the demand of the drug and the problems that arise like drug addiction and treatment instead of decreasing the supply of the drugs. The article serves as an introduction to the drug court system but also points out some flaws in the system. For example, drug courts are governed differently in different jurisdictions, which is the cause of harsher sentencing or sanctions. In Tiger's article, she too recognizes the differences between drug courts but argues they share 3 key qualities. Similarly, the two articles delve into the issues surrounding sanctions and reward systems. King and Pasquarella bring attention to the effects of sanctions on participants' sentences. They argue that participants are serving longer prison sentences than if they had never participated in the treatment program.
Questions: Drug courts were established in 1989. Have drug court structures and practices evolved since then, especially with the growing academia around drug treatments?
Authors King and Pasquarella have stated that the rise in drug courts is to blame for the rise in drug arrests. If this is the case, how has the media presented the effectiveness of drug courts? Are more drug arrests presented as a bad thing?
Rebecca Tiger mentions that drug courts may serve as a model for other issues like domestic violence and homelessness. How serious is this clam? Has it been modeled anywhere?
With the King and Pasquarella piece "Drug Courts: A Review of the Evidence" they demonstrated that there are some positive effects of the drug courts. That they have been beneficial to many that have gone through their. The benefits have been shown, however the way these results are being achieved is still unknown. Currently in the case of the drug courts there is a black box effect. The drug addicts or dealers go into the drug courts (aka the Black Box) something happens and then many of them come out after their time with the program is done changed in a beneficial manner. What is happening within the drug courts or the black box I will discuss later with Kaye's ethnography. However, there are still concerns that the drug courts are causing a net-widening effect that are leading to the arrests of more and more individuals. King and Pasquarella's final statement is basically insinuating that more research must be done on individuals that drop out of the program and individuals which pass the program and the rates of recidivism.
Kaye unveils this black box effect that is queried in the King and Pasquarella piece. Kaye does this through an ethnography at three different drug courts in the state of New York. During his time within these drug courts he observes many different views from the individuals participating within the drug courts. He witnesses the sometimes harsh treatment by the staff many of them graduates of the program itself. He witnesses the way staff verbal berate the individuals within the program. Hearing the words "dope fiend behaviors" used to demean the individuals going through the program. The program is supposed to prepare them for a world in which they are subservient to managers and bosses while working at low-paying jobs. The atmosphere is suppose to prepare them for life after the drug court. To me I believe this leads to labeling theory that the individuals have "dope fiend behaviors" and that they even if they get rid of these "dope fiend behaviors" they will still be subservient and are at the lowest class of society. From Kaye's notes this isn't a very encouraging environment. It resembles a mixture of a bootcamp and reminds me a lot of the Stanford Experiments, especially the incident where they completely just destroy their rooms. In Kaye's discussions with some of the individuals in the program they were just skating by and playing the part just so they wouldn't have to go to jail. This lead to many to have to conceal their tactics to others for fear of being snitched on, which was highly encourage by staff to do. Overall the system according to the stats works, but is there not a more effective way than this. The theory that this is also increasing arrests and that no research has been done on the recidivism of graduates and dropouts along with the harsh tactics of "bettering" the individuals going through this system. I believe that even though statistics display that their are benefits, the efficiency and tactics of the drug courts should be called into extreme question. This leads to my three questions What are the recidivism rates of the individuals who drop out of the program and who complete them? How are people 5 or even 10 years after completion of these programs? Why do we allow this treatment of people in drug courts to occur, when they mirror the treatment of subjects in the Stanford experiment, which happens to be one of the most unethical psychology experiments of all time?
King, Ryan S, and Jill Pasquarella. Drug Courts: A Review of the Evidence
This article is a brief overview of the current drug court system. Drug courts are important because since 1989, the courts have established more and more in the US and now have over 1600 drug courts in 50 states. Examining drug court systematically is difficult because they operate at a local level and differ across jurisdictions. Drug courts have two models: (a) deferred prosecution in which defendants who fit in to pre-existing criteria are refereed to drug courts before guilty plea; (b) post-adjudication model offers participation in drug court programs after defendants plead guilty. In order to be referred to drug court, the defendants generally have to have non-violent charges and have established drug problems at the time of arrest. Drug court programs are usually between 6 months to 1 year, but participants often stay longer. Participants are required to complete all program cycles to graduate from the program. For relapsing defendants, judges can use their discretion in deciding how to proceed further. Participants of drug courts have lower recidivism rates compared to defendants who go through jail/prison without participating in any programs (this finding is inconclusive since there are a few research showing different results). In addition to benefitting the defendants, the cost and benefits of drug court actually save tax payer's money. Treatment programs need to, however, recognize the need of each addict in order to be successful as different addicts have different issues and causes. While drug courts are designed to reduce the stress of the prison system, it might have resulted in police arresting more of simple drug-users and longer jail or prison time for those who fail in the program.
Kaye, Kerwin. Rehabilitating the drug life style: Criminal justice, social control, and the cultivation of agency.
This is an ethnographic study of drug treatment facilities. The facilities in this article are primarily therapeutic community (TC) model. It focuses on behavioural and personal problems of each addict. The article describes that the facilities often follow the normative work ethic and self-discipline. The implication of this emphasis is that addicts are those who cannot function in the conventional work environment and who lack discipline. The facilities focus on fixing lack of work ethics and self-discipline. The facilities provide group therapy, force its residents to perform formal work to improve work ethics, and strictly observe residents behaviors as a form of surveillance to promote self-discipline. In terms of surveillance, the facilitators and staff rely on strict enforcement of rules, yelling, and shaming the residents. Generally, the addicts in these programs feel that they benefit from group therapies and work training programs. The larger implication of these programs are that they are promoting self-discipline agency and consider people who are in "drug style" as lacking work ethics and self-discipline.
What types of drug court programs are available?
How much discretionary power do judges have compared to prosecutors in drug courts?
Would forcing addict to go through treatment programs actually work? Why or why not?
How else can these facilities teach self-discipline without being abrasive toward the residents?
How does "disciplined rule following" people differ or similar to people who are in the drug world?
I did not quite get the Bourdieu's concept habitus. What exactly is it?