Environmental Factors in Drug Use and Abuse by Martin J. Downing, Jr.

This selection of books, peer-reviewed articles, and presentations was compiled after extensive consideration of core readings and cutting edge science, and in consultation with leading researchers on drug abuse. These materials are intended to introduce various settings and circumstances of drug use, efforts towards harm reduction, and to illuminate social, political, and economic structures that influence addiction and risk discourses. Cited works reflect diversity in drug use contexts (e.g., academic environments, group sex encounters, shooting galleries, supervised injection facilities), licit and illicit substances (e.g., prescription stimulants, crack cocaine, marijuana), and research populations (e.g., racial or ethnic minority, sexual minority, inner-city, suburban). Likewise, the readings embrace a wide range of methodologies, from cross-sectional surveys and in-depth interviews to ethnographic studies and participant observation.

Selections by Alexander (2012), Dunlap and Johnson (1992), and Friedman et al. (2011) offer readers a macro and historical perspective of the War on Drugs in the United States – asking us to question the effectiveness of drug deterrence policies, consider the impact of illicit drug activity on families and urban neighborhoods, and be concerned by racially-motivated, drug-related mass incarceration.

Topics also include social norms and etiquettes in drug settings (e.g., Kelly, 2005), the underground economy (Bourgois), the “risk environment” of drug injection (Rhodes, 2002), needle exchange programs (Hyshka et al., 2012) and safe injection facilities (Fix: The Story of an Addicted City), policies aimed at controlling public consumption of drugs (Parkin & Coomber, 2010), and nonmedical use of prescription stimulants for academic enhancement (e.g., DeSantis et al., 2008).

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 Supported by the CUNY Doctoral Students Council.