The Pharmacology of Drug Abuse: Drug Education at San Quentin
This paper will discuss a novel and highly successful undergraduate level program in pharmacology and drug abuse that we are now teaching for the fourth year at California’s San Quentin State Prison. In designing and teaching the course, our guiding philosophy has been that a student’s knowledge of the chemical and medicinal nature of psychoactive drugs is useful to their understanding of drug abuse per se. Therefore, much of the emphasis is on the physiological and biochemical events surrounding drug action in the central nervous system, followed by a discussion of the factors that contribute toward a potential for abuse. Also, an attempt was made to present information in a strictly objective manner, without moral or legal overtones that have too often clouded the issues and alienated groups of students in the past. It was our feeling that our students, of whom many have had serious drug use problems in the past, are the ones who must ultimately be responsible for themselves and for their actions and that with adequate biomedical information they would be in a far better position to decide for themselves which drugs or combinations of drugs they would choose or not choose to use in the future. Our analyses have continued to find a positive change in attitudes among many of our student-inmates toward a more rational approach to drug use. Many of our students have told us that if they had had adequate knowledge at an earlier time of the actions of many of the drugs that are available on the streets or in retail stores today, then it is likely that they could have avoided many of the problems that brought them to where they are today.
KeywordsDrug Abuse Psychoactive Drug High School Diploma Drug Related Problem Drug Abuse Problem
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