Chapter 3 – CAPITALISM AND DRUGS: A CRITIQUE OF CONVENTIONAL THEORIES OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE by Mohammed J. Kuna and T. M. Bande

Introduction

Conventional theories focus on individual pathology and/or anomie conditions as the most crucial casual factors in drug use and abuse. This, the paper argues is mistaken. For the focus dismisses the relationship between natural and synthetic substances, as well as the processes of the transformation of one into the other. Serious issues – the changing adaptive mechanisms of man, the reification of drugs, the role of the pharmaceutical industry and the dialectic of self and societyare hardly raised. Drug use in the final analysis, is the consequence of the demand by society to function. The conditions of dehumanization under which individuals live must therefore be examined. The drug phenomenon is inexplicable outside the general dynamics of society. Not all drug related problems are a function of capitalism. Nor is the concern with individual substance abusers. That society presents allopathic medicine as the solution to essentially social problems, and that individuals conceive and use drugs as such, constitutes dependence. It is the whole society that depends on drugs, not mere individuals. For drugs have replaced social relations.

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