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HurtChronicles of the Drug War Generation$
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Miriam Boeri

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520293465

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520293465.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

The Historical and Social Context

The Historical and Social Context

(p.11) One The Historical and Social Context

Miriam Boeri

University of California Press

Drug use and drug policy do not happen in a social vacuum. This chapter shows how the social and historical context shaped drug use patterns as a figurative war became literal one. Coming of age during the “peace and love” era of the 1960s, early baby boomers encountered an increasingly punitive drug policy as they aged in adulthood. Mass incarceration left many drug users with a criminal record and limited options for employment. The financial security needed for a stable family life became unattainable for many, and divorce rates increased, with no social safety net for single-parent homes. Working-class and middle-class jobs were replaced by low-paying service work. As fewer boomers could achieve the American Dream, the middle class was vanishing, and one drug epidemic was replaced by another in rapid succession. Law enforcement agencies were given more power over drug users, with minorities and the poor receiving the brunt of this aggressive infringement on their private lives.

Keywords:   social context, historical context, 1960s, working class, criminal record, employment, social safety net, drug epidemic, law enforcement, American Dream

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