Drug Abuse as a Social Problem: A Look at the Conflict and Functionalist Perspectives

2600 Words Apr 28th, 2006 11 Pages
Drugs have been around for thousands of years. "A drug is any chemical that produces a therapeutic or non-therapeutic effect in the body (Drugs and Teen Substance Abuse 2000.)" Most drugs were first used for medicinal purposes, such as marijuana. Active substances were not extracted into drugs until the 19th century. Newly discovered substances like morphine, laudanum, and cocaine were completely unregulated and prescribed freely by physicians for a wide variety of ailments. Wounded veterans returned home with their kits of morphine and hypodermic needles (History of Drug Abuse, n.d.) The use of illegal drugs is increasing, especially among young teens. The conflict theory of social problems states that, "society is marked by conflict due …show more content…
The disappearance of decent paying manual work since the early 1970's leaves unskilled, uneducated individuals vulnerable to poverty. This is when selling drugs, an alternative to enduring grinding poverty, has been a common enough response as the income gap had widened. This has increased the violence and crime rate of society.

The Functionalist Perspective in sociology states that everyone in the society holds a position and in this position their status has a set of roles or certain behaviors that are required to perform the tasks at hand (Kornblum and Julian, 2004.) The roles consist of nurses at the medical institutions, lawyer's at international firms or just a blue collar worker at any type of factory. For the most part, each status' role is involved in an institution of some kind and is needed for the economy and society to function as a whole. "The Functionalist Perspective looks at the way major social instructions like the family, military, the health-care system, and the police and courts actually operate (Kornblum and Julian, 2004, 6.)" This basically means that for these institutions that are needed to fulfill these roles and duties for the economy, the roles and behaviors of employees need to evolve as a whole so that the institution can function (Kornblum and Julian, 2004.) For example, a nurse needs to know certain things about her job like what medicine can treat a certain