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NCJ Number: 200166 Find in a Library
Title: Application of Social Conflict Theory to Arrestees' Use of Cocaine and Opiates
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues  Volume:33  Issue:1  Dated:Winter 2003  Pages:237-266
Author(s): Celia C. Lo
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 30
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study used data from the 1991 and 1992 Drug Use Forecasting project and the 1990 census to test the hypothesis that certain "structural disadvantage factors" identified by social conflict theory (Goode, 1997, 1999) contribute to explaining arrestees' use of cocaine and/or opiates.
Abstract: Social conflict theory is a macro-theory that focuses on how structural factors in society affect rates of drug use, especially illicit drugs such as crack and heroin. Conflict theory holds that there are higher numbers of chronic drug abusers in lower social classes, disorganized neighborhoods, low-income families, and relatively politically powerless communities. The current study hypothesized that the likelihood of recent hard drug use would be higher among arrestees who lived in areas with high degrees of structural disadvantage, namely, low income, widespread poverty, high unemployment, limited high school graduation, numerous female-headed households, high population density, low stability, and large African-American population. It was also hypothesized that recent use of cocaine or opiates would be less likely among arrestees who experienced relatively greater social controls that discourage drug use. The study's dependent variables, arrestees' recent cocaine use and recent opiate use, were indicated by urinalysis results. Data for independent variables measured the various structural factors identified in the hypotheses. The study analyses support a version of social conflict theory. Arrestees who resided in structurally disadvantaged areas were found to be most likely to use cocaine and heroin. The study acknowledges the role of individual-level variables in the decision to use cocaine or opiates, but it views these individual decisions through the lens of social structure as a conditioning influence. These findings suggest that policies designed to reduce hard drug use should include efforts to change the structural conditions of the environment where the abuse of these drugs thrives. 3 tables and 87 references
Main Term(s): Drug abuse causes
Index Term(s): Cocaine; Drug use; Drug Use Forecasting system; Economic influences; Opioids; Social conditions
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