We must acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional and unceded territory of the Lenape. We, the Brooklyn College community, acknowledge that academic institutions, indeed the nation-state itself, was founded upon and continues to enact exclusions and erasures of Indigenous Peoples. This acknowledgement demonstrates a commitment to beginning the process of working to dismantle ongoing practices and legacies of settler colonialism, and to recognize the hundreds of Indigenous Nations who continue to resist, live, and uphold their sacred relations across their lands. We also pay our respect to Indigenous elders past, present, and future and to those who have stewarded this land throughout the generations
Human societies display remarkable creativity and persistence in the range of mind altering substances used historically and cross culturally, although drug use occupies very different social locations in different cultures and historical eras. In the modern era, the regulation of mind and mood altering substances has become enmeshed with larger systems of social control, including public health, criminal justice, immigration and economic globalization. While drug addiction is typically portrayed as an individual problem, both drug use and drug policy are fundamentally social processes, and cannot be separated from larger social and economic systems.
This course will examine the development of drug policy in the US, from the first drug control laws passed in the early 20th century through contemporary debates over mass incarceration, migration, and public health. We will explore the historical development drug regulation in the US, its relationship to larger social and economic processes, and the evolution of drug control policies at the intersection of multiple institutional systems (medicine, criminal justice, immigration, etc). Drug policy has long been global, and we will consider drug policy and enforcement in the context of globalization, primarily in Latin America.
In this course, students will
1. Gain an understanding of social and political processes shaping U.S. drug policy domestically and in Latin American countries
2. Critically analyze the relationship between prejudice, social inequality, economic processes, and different models for regulating drug use
3. Think about how drug policy functions within and supports systems of social and economic inequality, including race, class, gender, and neo-colonial relationships between states
4. Critically engage with the dominant theoretical approaches to understanding drug policy, and produce an independent analysis of a particular policy issue.
Unless otherwise noted, this SOCY 3304 Open Educational Resource (OER) was curated by Professor Naomi Braine for Brooklyn College in 2019 and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. [Detailed license and acknowledgement]