Criminal Justice-COAS | Drugs, Society, and Justice
P306 | 5132 | Baker


The regulation, criminalization, and enforcement of drugs is a
revolving theme in today’s criminal justice system. This course is
designed to examine the historical and societal factors that have
challenged and shaped these ideas.

Utilizing methodological tools and theoretical perspectives of drug
use, this course is designed to explore the long-standing
interactions between drugs, society, and law enforcement.  The
course is intended to provide an introduction to the contemporary
social and legal perspectives surrounding drug use. In doing so, the
course will examine the historical and cultural contexts which have
influenced the views and policies of current drug regulation.

The role of the criminal justice system in regulating illicit
substances will be investigated by the societal reactions and
current policy implications surrounding drug use. The purpose of the
course is to examine why and how people take drugs, the outcome of
drug use and misuse, and by analyzing the philosophies of harm
reduction. As a class we will devote a substantial amount of time to
the measurement methodologies utilized to gauge drug trends and
patterns, including but not limited to: the medical field, self-
report surveys, media, and arrestee information. As a class we will
explore the pharmacological attributes, physiological and
psychological effects, ethical/philosophical issues, and
current/projected trends related to drug use.

Requirement: Students will be required to complete a series of
weekly readings from The American Drug Scene, Inciardi 5th ed. in
addition to this text we will review relevant journal articles that
will supplement those readings. Grading will be based on weekly
writing assignments and a final paper. Since this is a six week
course, participation and attendance will be an essential component
of the final grade.


Class meeting: 11:45-1:00, Monday-Friday, Ballantine 209

Instructor: Ryan B. Baker, criminal justice department