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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

Drugs in American Society.

Goode, Erich. (1972).
New York: Knopf.

ISBN: 0-394-31323-2

Description: First edition, paperback, x + 260 pages, a Borzoi Book.

Contents: Acknowledgments, 8 chapters, appendix: Does Marijuana Lead to Dangerous Drugs?, author index, subject index.

Excerpt(s): The social context of drug use powerfully influences-indeed, it might almost be said determines-at least four central aspects of the drug reality, aspects that traditionally have been presumed to grow directly out of the chemical and pharmacological properties of drugs themselves, independent of human intervention. These four aspects are drug definitions, drug effects, drug-related behavior and drug experience. The sociological perspective stands in direct opposition to what might be called the chemicalistic fallacy-the view that drug A causes behavior X, that what we see as behavior and effects associated with a given drug are solely (or even mainly) a function of the biochemical properties of that drug, of the drug plus the human animal, or even of the drug plus a human organism with a certain characteristic structure. Drug effects and drug-related behavior are enormously complicated, highly variable, and contingent on many things. And the most important of these things are social and contextual in nature. In the animal world, it is quite a bit easier to predict what drugs will do. But experiments with rats do not tell us very much about human behavior. This is why social context is so important. (pages 3-4)

In the famous "Kinsey Reports," the most impressive statistical relationships were found between sexual traditionalism and religious orthodoxy. As we might expect, the same correlation holds between religion and drug use-that is, there is a negative relationship between being religiously observant and using marijuana. ...

Johnson found that he could predict marijuana use with almost unerring accuracy with four simple social variables: (1) sex, (2) religiousness, (3) political liberalism, (4) cigarette smoking. These four variables proved to be an accurate measure not only of who would try marijuana and who would not but also of who would use marijuana regularly-weekly or more-and who would not. Of all the nonreligious, politically "left," daily-cigarette-smoking men in Johnson's sample [college students], 97 percent had tried marijuana, and 63 percent were regular marijuana smokers! Of all the religious, politically moderate, nonsmoking women, only 4 percent had tried marijuana, and not one person used marijuana regularly! Thus given a few basic and simple social facts about an individual, the fact that he or she does or does not use marijuana follows almost automatically.

... Background factors do not necessarily lead to marijuana use directly; they lead to an association with others who share certain sociocultural traits, and this association in turn "leads to" marijuana use. ... It is having friends who use marijuana that is the determining factor here, and not simply having some set of "background" characteristics. ... In such groups marijuana smoking is not considered especially "hip" or "cool," it is simply expected, just as liberal politics are expected in some social circles, or monogamy, or any other pattern of behavior. (pages 38-39)

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