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Analysis of Drugs in American Society by E. Goode

In Chapter 4, Goode provides the crucial point for this section that refers to the contradictions within the scope of the definition of drug abuse (2015). According to Goode (2015), a number of scholars state that abuse is the use of drugs without a related medical prescription. He further argues that such a definition is inaccurate, given the fact that it implies that insignificant drug-taking – for example, when one smokes one marijuana joint a year – in order to get high should be considered drug abuse. The notion in the abovementioned formulation adopts legal criteria for what is to be understood as drugs, thereby excluding alcohol (Goode, 2015). Hence, it is not easy to distinguish the core idea of the definition given – it seems to confirm that drug legislation is fair due to the demarcation of substances to appropriate (alcohol, tobacco) and inappropriate (drugs).

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The issue here is that abuse is a considerably imprecise and complex term that is and should be varied in the framework of degree. In other words, Goode (2015) claims that there is no specific notion in this regard, and he uses this term as an intentionally inaccurate one in order to “refer to the level of use of a given drug at which harm is at least moderately likely” (p. 106). His final assumption in this vein is that it is impossible to provide a clear distinction between ordinary use and abuse. Nevertheless, it is claimed that a higher level of use apparently results in harm and is more likely to be qualified as abuse. Thus, this ambiguous notion is to be avoided out of the scope of levels of use. Grounding on the rationale given, Goode (2015) determines the term “abuse” in the following manner – “drug use that carries a higher rather than a lower likelihood of harm” (p.106).

On the other hand, the scholarly dimension has made a number of attempts to specify and narrow this notion. In particular, Smith et al. (2013) try to classify and define misuse, abuse, and related events in clinical trials. The scholars conducted a comprehensive literature review to demonstrate the variations of the chosen terms. In the framework of “abuse,” they point out the most common characteristic of definitions – that the substances were used for nontherapeutic aims to get a psychotropic effect (Smith et al., 2013). In contrast with Goode (2015), they stress the importance of the development of the universal notion of drug abuse, as well as of the other related conditions. The scholars emphasize that the consistency and exhaustivity of such critical terms serve as a foundation for significant theoretical research, clinical trials, and better patient outcomes.

Smith et al. (2013) define the abuse event indicator as follows, “Any intentional, non-therapeutic use of a drug product or substance, even once, for the purpose of achieving a desirable psychological or physiological effect” (p. 2291). It seems reasonable to assume that the latter definition does not align with the understanding of Goode. The critical difference here is that Smith et al. (2013) recognize and make they emphasize the intention to get a physiological effect, regardless of the extent of harm. In turn, this extent is the aspect on which Goode (2015) makes his accent in comprehending the term drug abuse.

References

Goode, E. (2015). Drugs in American society. McGraw-Hill Education.

Smith, S. M., Dart, R. C., Katz, N. P., Paillard, F., Adams, E. H., Comer, S. D., Degroot, A., Edwards, R. R., Haddox, D. J., Jaffe, J. H., Jones, C. M., Kleber, H. D., Kopecky, E. A., Markman, J. D., Montoya, I. D., O’Brien, C., Roland, C. L., Stanton, M., Strain, E. C., Vorsanger, G., … Dworkin, R. H. (2013). Classification and definition of misuse, abuse, and related events in clinical trials: ACTION systematic review and recommendations. Pain, 154(11), 2287–2296. Web.

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