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Substance Use and Abuse

Substance Use and Abuse
Cultural and Historical Perspectives

June 2003 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Substance use and abuse are two of the more frequent psychological problems clinicians encounter, both in isolation and in the context of other disorders. Mainstream approaches focus on the biological and psychological factors underpinning drug abuse, but to fully appreciate the issue, we also need to attend to the social, historical, and cultural variables that provide a contextual base. The authors' primary goal is to explore thoroughly such cultural and historical approaches. Such an approach has much to offer in terms of enriching our understanding of why people use drugs and in elucidating the nature of substance-abuse problems. They also demonstrate how such an approach can be integrated within a mainstream biopsychosocial perspective. In so doing, they hope to illustrate how explanations drawn from different levels of analysis and different disciplinary perspectives relate.


- integrates components from biological variables, psychosocial variables, cultural-historical variables, and the self, providing multidisciplinary perspective.

Locating drug abuse in wider historical and cultural contexts allows clinicians to evaluate more clearly the constellation of factors responsible for drug-related problems

- illustrating the value of a cultural-historical perspective in conceptualizing, preventing, and treating substance abuse problems also serves to highlight consequent public policy implications.

- chapters open with introductions and conclude with summaries and end notes to frame the content of each chapter for students.

1. What Needs to be Explained and How Should We Explain It?

Levels of Analysis & the Multidisciplinary Nature of Psychoactive Drug Studies

Towards an Integrated Model of Substance Use & Abuse



2. The Nature & Scope of Substance Use & Abuse

What Is a Drug?

Who Uses Drugs?

Taxonomy of Drug Use Contexts

The Harms & Benefits of Drugs

From Use to Abuse



3. An Evolutionary Perspective

The Nature and Role of Evolutionary Explanations

Has Drug Use Been Selected For?

Drugs & the Brain

Drug Use, Sexual Selection, and Life History Theory

From Use to Abuse

An Integrated Evolutionary Model of Substance Use



4. Drugs in History

What Can History Tell Us about Substance Use and Abuse?

A Brief History of Drugs



5. The Forces of History: Explaining Patterns of Use and Abuse

The Functions of Drugs in Historical Perspective


New Forms, New Modes, New Substances: The Impact of Technological Change on
Drug Use
New Forms, New Modes, new Substances: The Impact of Technological Change on Drug Use


Economic and Political Factors

Legislation and Public Policy

Social Factors

A Complex Web: Multiple Influences on Patterns of Drug Use



6. Drugs and Culture

Conceptual & Methodological Issues

Indigenous Patterns of Drug Use

Drugs & Multiculturalism



7. The Role of Culture: Explaining Patterns of Use

Drugs and Culture

Culture and Drugs

Social Structural Factors

Integrating Cultural Explanations




8. Conceptualizing & Treating Substance Use Problems: A Cultural-Historical Perspective

The Pre and Early History of Addiction

Treatment for Alcohol & Drug Problems in the Nineteenth Century

The Changing Face of Drug Addiction: 1914-1960

The Alcoholism Movement

Contemporary Developments

Culture & Classification



9. Prevention, Treatment & Public Policy





Legal Sanctions, Regulations, & Restrictions

Harm Reduction



Author Index
Subject Index

This book takes an integrative approach to the understanding of drug use and its relationship to social-cultural factors. It is lucidly and powerfully argued and constitutes a significant achievement. The authors sensibly argue that in order to fully understand and explain drug use and abuse it is necessary to take into account different levels of analysis, reflecting distinct domains of human functioning; the biological, psychosocial, and cultural-historical….Overall, this book represents an exceptional achievement and should be of interest to drug clinicians and researcher as well as social scientists and students.

Professor Tony Ward
University of Melbourne

"In Substance Use and Abuse, Durrant and Thakker present a detailed history of drug use over time to support the need for developing a broader understand of substance use that takes into account cultural and historical perspective. This book is a thought-provoking and much needed addition to the vast literature on drugs, drug use, and drug policy. The information in this book contributes to what is known by examining substance use through historical and cultural perspectives, providing readers with a detailed ride through the history of drug use over time throughout various societies and cultures. By documenting how specific forms of substance use emerged and re-emerged, how public perceptions and policy responses change over time, and how social attitudes about drugs are subject to public interpretation and influenced by a number of diverse cultural, political, and historical factors, a strong case for examining and understanding drug use through both historical and cultural perspectives is made."

Rashi K. Shukla
University of Central OKlahoma, Edmond

This book has good information regarding chemical dependency from a cultural perspective, something that a lot of other textbooks are missing.

Professor Mary Rankin
Sch Of Professional Psychology, Alliant Intl Univ-Scripps Ranc
August 7, 2015

Second book for class in summery

Dr Vicki Lindsay
Crim Just Social Science Dept, Troy University - Dothan
March 8, 2013

excellence material a must have and use . fits lessons very well.

Ms Yolanda Greene-allen-boggs
general education, uco
November 2, 2011

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