Drug abuse has been one of the enduring issues in the society. Using the three major sociological theories, this paper attempts to understand how drug abuse is viewed from different perspectives. The different sociological frameworks, functionalist, conflict and symbolic interactionist see drug abuse in different ways because of the different focus of the frameworks.
The functionalist framework envisions the society as a system of interrelated parts. Much the same as how a body works, one part is affected or interdependent on other parts. The functionalist perspective focuses on the stability and consensus. It takes into account these main variables in understanding the different issues at hand. It looks at the balance of things and how society maintains a state of equilibrium (page reading). Through a functionalist’s point of view, social issues are the results of the maladjustments of social units, much the same as how one’s body feels weak because of one dysfunctional part. Drug abuse is seen in almost the same manner. One uses the drug because of its latent functions. Two of the reasons are relief of tension and to enhance social interaction. The problem starts with drug abuse when the individual becomes dependent on the physical and psychological impacts of drugs. The correlation between drugs and poverty has been studied intensively. Through a functionalist’s eyes, drug abuse is an apparent result of a dysfunction within the society, named as poverty. Because of the social rejection felt by the poor, they attempt to find a sense of belongingness and see drugs as an alternative to this. The drug use covers up their shattered lives and this provides them a sense of structure. It becomes a substitute for the comfort of the non-poor.
On the other hand, the conflict perspective sees drug abuse as a source of oppression and domination. The conflict perspective does not disagree with the functionalist view that the society is an interrelationship of its systems but it focuses more on the competing variables that influence the movements within the society.
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