We were recently joined by Tammy Anderson, a professor in the university’s Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. She stopped by for a wide-ranging discussion about the drug problems in our country, both past and present.
Anderson has done extensive research on drug trends of the last few decades: the powder and crack cocaine epidemics of the 1980s; people exiting prison with drug problems; the rave scene as a cultural and drug abuse phenomenon; and the current prescription drug and heroin epidemic. The most prevalent frame of reference for drug abuse comes from the 1960s and 70s, yet drugs are a lasting, persistent problem that the US has faced for many centuries. Anderson discusses the cyclical nature of substance abuse trends, and pinpoints why heroin use is on the rise among white, middle-class youths: not only is it connected to prescription opiate abuse, but heroin is now purer, its image has changed and it’s easier to administer.
In addition to the heroin epidemic, Anderson delves into the social construction of drug scares, and the “good guy/bad guy” anti-drug narrative that perpetuates racial and ethnic inequality. She also touches on the legalization of marijuana, and its possible socio-economic consequences.
If you would like to learn more about modern drug abuse trends, Anderson is the author of “Rave Culture: The Alteration and Decline of a Philadelphia Music Scene.”
Tammy Anderson, Sociology and Criminal Justice