The Drug Paradox

An Introduction to the Sociology of Psychoactive Substances in Canada

By Tara Bruno, Rick Csiernik


Why are some drugs considered socially acceptable while others are demonized? What makes these definitions so widespread? Who benefits from these conceptualizations? The Drug Paradox examines both the empirically founded and the socially constructed facets of drugs and drug use, highlighting the incongruous aspects of laws, policies, and programming that aim to address behaviours around drugs. The authors explore this paradox, arguing that Canada’s punitive approach to addressing drug use continues to exist alongside harm-reduction strategies and that these competing approaches ultimately impede Canada’s ability to deal effectively with substance misuse.

Using a policy-oriented approach while also emphasizing the utility of a multifaceted biopsychosocial model, this text provides students with a foundation in the sociology of psychoactive substances in the Canadian context. It covers a broad range of issues—models of addiction, the history of Canada’s drug laws, media representation, government responses to substance use, and international perspectives on drug policy—and addresses various research areas that are important for students to consider when trying to make sense of the competing discourses on drugs in society. This timely textbook is ideal for use in sociology courses on drugs or drug use and will also appeal to those focusing on drug use from a criminology, public health, cannabis studies, or policy perspective.


  • evaluates drugs and their use in Canadian society through a sociological lens
  • provides an up-to-date discussion of both legal and illegal drugs
  • each chapter includes a list of paradoxes and critical reflection questions


$87.95 (PRINT)
$82.95 (eBook – Fixed Layout)
$82.95 (eBook – Reflowable)

Number of Pages



6.75" x 9.75”

Print ISBN


eBook – Fixed Layout ISBN


eBook – Reflowable ISBN



Your Cart

Order value $0.00
Tax $0.00

Digital copies are hosted on RedShelf. Learn More

Select your currency