Author Archives

Michelle Smirnova

Research Findings

When medicine becomes a drug: treatment and punishment of prescription drug “abuse”

May 25, 2023

In 1980, The World Health Organization declared “freedom from pain” to be a universal human right. Pharmaceutical companies, particularly in the US, capitalized upon this promise, offering patients chemical solutions to physical, emotional, and social problems. This effort proved successful. Between 2015 and 2016, almost half (45.8%) of the U.S. population had used a prescription drug in the past 30 days. Individuals have increasingly learned to cope with social problems with medical technologies such as prescription drugs.

And yet, those who use prescription drugs without a doctor’s oversight—nonmedically—run the risk of facing severe consequences, such as being labeled an addict and/or a criminal. These labels result in institutional punishment and control, including incarceration.

Continue Reading…