A sociology of licit and illicit drugs

Maria Freij, John Germov

Research output: Chapter in Book/ReportChapter in bookpeer-review


The chapter discusses how legal and illegal drugs are treated, used, and abused in Australia and other parts of the world. The chapter explores how legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco, decriminalised drugs like cannabis, and illegal drugs like methamphetamine relate to public health responses, the social gradient of health, and the structure-agency debate. The chapter explores the norms, values, and stigma related to drugs and drug users, as well as the medicalisation and pharmaceuticalisation of society, problematising the role of ‘Big Pharma’ in the production and distribution of pharmaceuticals and medicine, including lobbying, the manipulation of research, and the issue of patents. Finally, the chapter raises the issue of disease-mongering by pharmaceutical companies and the changing nature of psychiatric conditions in the DSM-V, concluding that the intricate relationship between norms and regulations, and social factors affecting individuals and groups need to be considered in unravelling the intricate web of the use and abuse of licit and illicit substances.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPublic Sociology
Subtitle of host publicationAn Introduction to Australian Society
EditorsJohn Germov, Marilyn Poole
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
ISBN (Electronic)9781003193791
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Sociology (504)


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