Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Substance abuse in the midwest - NBIH

The latest issue of New Books In History would have served in a history show just as well as in one on criminology. I used to study criminology and my professor, the now 85 year old Herman Bianchi, would point out to us that the field of History was as important for criminology as was Sociology or Law. It is shown in Marshal Poe's interview with Nick Reding.

The history is of a small rural town in Iowa, but it could be about an remote place in the decaying midwest. Together with the rising economic despair came an increase in the use of drugs, the sample drug discussed by Reding: crystal meth. It is the history of meth, the economic history of the midwest and how the two came to meet never to part. It is the history of how a town such as the one in Iowa, was firmly gripped by the use and the local household manufacture of crystal meth.

It is criminology in the type of social questions that are raised and get answers, if tentatively. Why did this population turn to drugs? Why exactly this drug? How does law enforcement fail and why? How did authorities react and managed to reduce the use and manufacture to a certain extent? What were the medical and social care facilities available? If there was some success in bringing the problem back, will it lessen even more, or is it awaiting a return? While this is about one town in Iowa and it is claimed to be representative for the midwest; is that warranted and if so, could it be extended further - to all dwindling rural areas in the Western World perhaps? I thought it just might.

More NBIH:
How could they continue - NBIH on WW1 soldiers,
After slavery was abolished,
Populism,
Two great shows on New Books In History,
Two old and one New Books In History.
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