What is it about some drugs that creates a moral panic asks Bridget Delaney in The Guardian?
This is a paper I wrote in about 2004 about the social construction and potential moral panics that ensued over LSD, 'The use of LSD - A Social Problem or a Socially Constructed Problem'.
It investigates the process in which the substance lysergic acid diethylamide–25 (LSD) became defined as socially unacceptable. It investigates whether the characteristics attributed to it are an accurate reflection of the properties of the drug, or whether they have been socially constructed as a social problem.
The paper begins by looking at the theories of social constructionism, followed by a brief history of LSD, including its medical, non-medical and recreational uses, and a discussion of the key figures involved in the sub-culture that developed. It then looks at the sociological and psychological implications of widespread use of LSD, both in terms of how they were socially constructed and how they contributed to its perception as a dangerous and controversial drug. Finally there is a critical analysis of the development of this perception in terms of the construction of social problems.