Confronting the Drug Control Establishment

Alfred Lindesmith as a Public Intellectual

By David Patrick Keys & John F. Galliher

Subjects: Sociology
Series: SUNY series in Deviance and Social Control
Paperback : 9780791443941, 235 pages, November 1999
Hardcover : 9780791443934, 235 pages, November 1999

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Table of contents



Chapter 1. Origins and Overview of the Professional Life of Alfred Ray Lindesmith

Chapter 2. Lindesmith's Experience in the Chicago School of Sociology: The Influence of Herbert Blumer and Edwin Sutherland

Chapter 3. A Revised Theory of Opiate Addiction and the Writing of the Book Opiate Addiction

Chapter 4. Contributions to Psychotherapy, Social Psychology, and Symbolic Interaction

Chapter 5. Lindesmith versus Anslinger: Efforts to Reform National Drug Policy, 1937–1950 and the Film Drug Addict

Chapter 6. Writing The Addict and the Law: A Statement of Policy

Chapter 7. Public Discourse: Lindesmith in the Role of Humanist Citizen and Public Intellectual


Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3

Name Index

Subject Index

Examines the career of sociologist Alfred R. Lindesmith, who argued against drug prohibitions from the 1930s onward, warning of the threat to democracy and advocating more humane drug control laws.


Confronting the Drug Control Establishment is a biography of Alfred R. Lindesmith and an intellectual history of his times. A sociologist at Indiana University, Lindesmith believed legal prohibition of addictive drugs was futile and wrote widely on the threat to democracy inherent in such a policy.

Lindesmith's career began during the 1930s and developed along with the emerging drug prohibitions in the early and mid-twentieth century. Throughout his life Lindesmith attempted to utilize his research for the creation of more rational and humane drug control laws. His consistent message was that the addict's self-concept is a central element in human addiction. Lindesmith felt that an overriding influence on an addict's self-concept is a fear of withdrawal, which keeps an addict from seeking treatment and becomes a key driving force in the drug problem.

David Patrick Keys is Professor of Political Science at West Texas A & M University. John F. Galliher is Professor of Sociology and Director of Peace Studies at the University of Missouri. He is the author of Criminology: Human Rights, Conflict and Criminal Law and, most recently, Marginality and Dissent in 20th Century American Sociology: The Case of Elizabeth Briant Lee and Alfred McClung Lee, published by SUNY Press.


"This book builds a convincing case for the scientific and clinical importance of Lindesmith's work on addiction and for the political significance of his stand against policies that criminalize the addict." — James D. Orcutt, Florida State University

"Essential reading for scholars and practitioners concerned with drug control policy and deviance, Lindesmith having been a sociologist of intellectual courage and vision." — Gideon Sjoberg, coauthor of A Methodology for Social Research: With a New Introductory Essay