Sociology Index

Sociology Of Drugs And Alcohol

Not long ago opium was taken as a harmless medicine, but the new practice of smoking opium recreationally increased demand tremendously and led to addiction. The Chinese Jiaqing Emperor issued edicts making opium illegal, but imports grew as smugglers and colluding officials made enormous profits. Even Americans entered the trade by smuggling opium from Turkey into China, including the grandfather of twentieth-century President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Francis Blackwell Forbes, a relative of twenty-first-century Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry, and is therefore referred to as the Old China Trade.

In the late 18th century, the British East India Company expanded the cultivation of opium in its Indian Bengal territories, selling it to private traders who transported it to China and passed it on to Chinese smugglers. By 1787, the Company was sending 4,000 chests of opium (each 77 kg) per year. By 1833, the opium traffic soared to 30,000 chests.

The East India Company sent opium to their warehouses in the free-trade region of Canton (Guangzhou), and sold it to Chinese smugglers. Alcohol, unlike drugs, is both a social and recreational drink from times immemorial.

In the Vedic tradition, soma is a ritual drink of importance among the early Vedic Indo-Aryans. The Rigveda mentions it, particularly in the Soma Mandala. Gita mentions the drink in Chapter 9. It is equivalent to the Iranian haoma. Uttar Pradesh has licensed bhang shops, and in many places in India, one can buy bhang products and drink bhang lassis.


Cannabis residue has been found on the Israelite sanctuary altar at Tel Arad dating to the 8th century BCE of the Kingdom of Judah, suggesting that cannabis was a part of some Israelite rituals at the time.

After the 1757 Battle of Plassey and 1764 Battle of Buxar, the British East India Company gained the power to act as diwan of Bengal, Bihar, and Odisha. This allowed the company to exercise a monopoly over opium production and export in India.

A famous speech was made by Gladstone in Parliament against the First Opium War. Gladstone criticized it as "a war more unjust in its origin, a war more calculated in its progress to cover this country with permanent disgrace."

Following China's defeat in the Second Opium War in 1858, China was forced to legalize opium and began massive domestic production. By 1906, China was producing 85 percent of the world's opium, some 35,000 tons, and 27 percent of its adult male population, that is, 13.5 million people regularly used opium‍. The British attempted to discourage the use of opium in China, but this effectively promoted the use of morphine, heroin, and cocaine, further exacerbating the problem of addiction.

In the US, beginning in 1883, opium importation was taxed at US$6 to US$300 per pound, until the Opium Exclusion Act of 1909 prohibited the importation of opium altogether. In a similar manner, the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914, passed in fulfillment of the International Opium Convention of 1912, nominally placed a tax on the distribution of opiates, but served as a de facto prohibition of the drugs. Today, opium is regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration under the Controlled Substances Act.

Hardening of Canadian attitudes toward Chinese opium users and fear of a spread of the drug into the white population led to the effective criminalization of opium for nonmedical use in Canada between 1908 and the mid-1920s.

In 1909, the International Opium Commission was founded, and in 1924, 62 nations participated in a meeting of the Commission. Subsequently, this role passed to the League of Nations, and all signatory nations agreed to prohibit the import, sale, distribution, export, and use of all narcotic drugs, except for medical and scientific purposes.

Opium has gradually been superseded by a variety of purified, semi-synthetic, and synthetic opioids with progressively stronger effects, and by other general anesthetics.

There are 3 types of drugs to be used for intoxication.

The first is called uppers. These medicines make the addicts feel more energy and confidence. There are some general uppers i.e. Cocaine, Ecstasy and Crack cocaine.

The second type of drug is called downers. The person taking these people feels calm and tension free and the addict gets a lot of sleeping. The names of some of the famous downers are Alcohol, Hashish, Heroin.

The third type of drug is hallucinogens. Those who consume them have a feeling of hallucinations or they go in a state of sleep. Hallucinogens are also pleasant and painful, but it is not possible to know this thing from beforehand. There are some famous hallucinogens i.e. LSD, and Mascalin.

Some prevalent drugs are as follows:

Brown Sugar: Brown Sugar is in the form of powder. In fact, this is a type of mixed medicine, in which a mixture of many chemicals including cocaine and heroin waste. Those addicted to brown sugar burn the file on the paper and take the smoke into body through pipe. This addiction shows an immediate effect, and the patient immediately falls asleep. Brown sugar is not too expensive, but because of its effect it makes the patient addict. It is very difficult to get rid of it. At the same time, the most harmful effect of this is that patients cannot protect themselves from the threat of intoxication.

Rock cocaine: Rock cocaine is commonly known as a crack and is found in crystal form. This is cheaper than pure cocaine. Its patient smokes it by burning it. Its addiction gets faster and its patients put their house on the debt to fulfill their addiction. Crack effect is usually the same as cocaine. The person who consumes this feels himself very fervent and enthusiastic. This is the reason why this addiction in the youth is spreading rapidly. Crack cocaine patients also do antisocial work after intake. Symptoms of discharge of water from nasal, mental paranoia, dementia, nervousness, weight lose, and nasal bleeding is found in patients, so that they can be easily identified.

Rohypnol: Rohypnol is notoriously known in the world as 'date rape drug'. Rohypnol used to commit sexual assaults because it renders the victim incapable of resisting. This is the reason that after drinking it, the girl / woman knows that she is being sexually exploited. Another result of this is that when the drug given to the woman / girl, she does not even remember the point of sexual harassment next day. Rohypnol drug intensifies the effect of alcohol. The person who uses it feels himself very light. Men often make pressure on girl/women to take Rohypnol and then make physical contact with them. The most misuse of this drug is found in the clubs.

Hashish: Hashish is actually a dry leaves of a plant named cannabis, it is drunk by filling in the cigarette. It is also added in the food or in the grains. The hashish made from resin is known by many names, including bhang and ganja, and is far more potent than marijuana. It may be either smoked or eaten for its intoxicating effects. In many people, the effect of hashish is very strong. It is therefore said that its effect is different on every person. With the consumption of hashish, patient faces problem like loss of memory for a sometime, difficulty in thinking, sleepiness and lack of confinement. It eliminates resistant power of the patient and also causing multiple diseases. The patient does not recover quickly. They speak slower, eyes turned red and the pupil spreads. Its patients do not do any work properly because of very low capacity of doing work.

Heroin: Heroin is made from opium. It is a form of morphine, which is found in white or brown powder. Generally, it is taken through injection, which makes this quick effect. It provides relief from pain to the addict and feels pleasure, but the person who makes the drug addicts also has a nausea experience. The addiction is tremendous, so that the patient feels the need for more heroin to maintain the effect of intoxication, which leads to heart disease.

Corax: Corax is the type of medicine that is used to cure cough in small quantities. Drug is mixed in some quantities, so that the child gets into sleep and cured quickly. But today, youth used it for addiction purpose. The bottle gets drunk in such a way that drug available in it do process of intoxication. Because of this being a medicine, the members of family do not even suspect and the kids become addict to it. Keeping in view of its increasing side effects, the ban was imposed by the government despite of it even today its black marketing is growing to promote addiction.

History Of Drugs And Alcohol


Poppy cultivation and opium consumption were widespread in Safavid Iran and Mughal India. Opium is dried latex obtained from the seed capsules of the opium poppy Papaver somniferum.

Despite its medicinal values, it was noted that in cases of psychosis, it could cause anger or depression, and because of the drug's euphoric effects, it could cause depressed patients to become more depressed after the effects wore off because they would get used to being high.

About 12 percent of opium is made up of the analgesic alkaloid morphine, which is processed chemically to produce heroin and other synthetic opioids for medicinal use and for the illegal drug trade. For the illegal drug trade, the morphine is extracted from the opium latex. It is then converted to heroin which is twice as potent, and also doubles the value.

In ancient Greece opium was consumed by inhalation of vapors, and as a combination with hemlock for suicide. The Sumerians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Indians, Romans, Persians and Arabs, all made widespread use of opium, because it was the most potent form of pain relief at that time, and ancient surgeons could perform surgical procedures by using opium as an analgesic.

Papaver somniferum from Neolithic settlements have been reported throughout Switzerland, Germany, and Spain, including the placement of large numbers of poppy seed capsules at a burial site (the Cueva de los Murciélagos, or "Bat Cave", in Spain), which has been carbon-14 dated to 4200 BC.

Muslims believe hadiths, such as in Sahih Bukhari, prohibits every intoxicating substance, though the use of intoxicants in medicine has been widely permitted by scholars.

Between 400 and 1200 AD, Arab traders introduced opium to China, and to India by 700. The physician Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi of Persian origin ("Rhazes", 845–930 AD) maintained a laboratory and school in Baghdad, and he made use of opium in anesthesia and recommended its use for the treatment of melancholy in Fi ma-la-yahdara al-tabib.

The renowned Andalusian ophthalmologic surgeon Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (936–1013 AD) relied on opium and mandrake as surgical anaesthetics and wrote a treatise, al-Tasrif.

The Persian physician ibn Sina (also called "Avicenna") described opium as the most powerful of the stupefacients, in comparison to mandrake and other highly effective herbs, in The Canon of Medicine. The text lists medicinal effects of opium, such as analgesia, hypnosis, and opium's potential as a poison.

Laudanum was originally the 16th-century term for a "tincture of opium", a solution of opium in ethanol, which Paracelsus has been credited with developing.

Ottoman Empire supplied the West with opium long before China and India. Opium was used for recreational purposes as early as the 14th century in Muslim societies. Ottoman and European testimonies confirm that from the 16th to the 19th centuries Anatolian opium was eaten in Constantinople. According to a Venetian visitor to the Ottoman Empire observed many of the Turkish natives of Constantinople regularly drank a "certain black water made with opium" that makes them feel good.

De Quincey writes about the great English Romantic poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834), whose "Kubla Khan" is also widely considered to be a poem of the opium experience. Coleridge began using opium in 1791 and became a full addict after a severe attack of jaundice and rheumatic fever in 1801, requiring 80–100 drops of laudanum daily.

Chinese emigrants to cities such as San Francisco, London, and New York brought with them the Chinese manner of opium smoking, and the social traditions of the opium den.

Cycles of Deviance: Structural Change, Moral Boundaries, and Drug Use, 1880-1990 - J E Hawdon.
Abstract: The model tracks changes in the structure of deviance, explains when a boundary crisis will develop, clarifies how the amplification of deviance eventually ends, and explains how deviant behaviors sometimes become acceptable. The historical data support the explanation that changing moral definitions and rates of behavior depend on demographic and economic changes in society. The two drug epidemics that occurred in the United States since 1880 occurred when structural change expanded pluralism.