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Psychoactive substances and the political ecology of mental distress.

Aggarwal SK, Carter GT, Zumbrunnen C, Morrill R, Sullivan M, Mayer JD - Harm Reduct J (2012)

Bottom Line: The goal of this paper is to both understand and depathologize clinically significant mental distress related to criminalized contact with psychoactive biotic substances by employing a framework known as critical political ecology of health and disease from the subdiscipline of medical geography.Critical approaches to the political ecology of health and disease have the potential to incorporate ever-broadening social, political, economic, and cultural factors to challenge traditional causes, definitions, and sociomedical understandings of disease.It closes with proposing a non-criminalizing public health approach for regulating human close contact with psychoactive substances using the example of cannabis use.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, New York University, Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, 400 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016 USA. sunila@uw.edu.

ABSTRACT
The goal of this paper is to both understand and depathologize clinically significant mental distress related to criminalized contact with psychoactive biotic substances by employing a framework known as critical political ecology of health and disease from the subdiscipline of medical geography. The political ecology of disease framework joins disease ecology with the power-calculus of political economy and calls for situating health-related phenomena in their broad social and economic context, demonstrating how large-scale global processes are at work at the local level, and giving due attention to historical analysis in understanding the relevant human-environment relations. Critical approaches to the political ecology of health and disease have the potential to incorporate ever-broadening social, political, economic, and cultural factors to challenge traditional causes, definitions, and sociomedical understandings of disease. Inspired by the patient-centered medical diagnosis critiques in medical geography, this paper will use a critical political ecology of disease approach to challenge certain prevailing sociomedical interpretations of disease, or more specifically, mental disorder, found in the field of substance abuse diagnostics and the related American punitive public policy regimes of substance abuse prevention and control, with regards to the use of biotic substances. It will do this by first critically interrogating the concept of "substances" and grounding them in an ecological context, reviewing the history of both the development of modern substance control laws and modern substance abuse diagnostics, and understanding the biogeographic dimensions of such approaches. It closes with proposing a non-criminalizing public health approach for regulating human close contact with psychoactive substances using the example of cannabis use.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Key Contraband Germplasms. (from top left, rightward) Coca: http://web.archive.org/web/20061018053434/http://www.ethnogarden.com/cart/index.pl/catid_77/proid_292/_/_/CocaSeeds/ErythroxylumCoca, Khat: http://www.shamanica.com/Catha%20edulis.asp, Chacruna: http://web.archive.org/web/20061018155352/http://www.ethnogarden.com/cart/index.pl/catid_77/proid_250/_/_/Chacruna/PsychotriaViridis, Yage: http://www.shamanic-extracts.com/xcart/shamanic-products/banisteriopsis-caapi-seeds.html, Cannabis: http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/4477.html, Opium: http://www.plantcultures.org.uk/plants/opium_poppy_traditional_medicine.html, Peyote: http://tryptamind.com/grow_peyote.html, Iboga: http://www.shamanic-extracts.com/xcart/shamanic-products/tabernanthe-iboga-seeds.html, Salvia Divinorum: http://www.sagewisdom.org/sdseeds.html Psilocybe: http://www.erowid.org/plants/mushrooms/mushrooms_cultivation_az2.shtml.
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Figure 1: Key Contraband Germplasms. (from top left, rightward) Coca: http://web.archive.org/web/20061018053434/http://www.ethnogarden.com/cart/index.pl/catid_77/proid_292/_/_/CocaSeeds/ErythroxylumCoca, Khat: http://www.shamanica.com/Catha%20edulis.asp, Chacruna: http://web.archive.org/web/20061018155352/http://www.ethnogarden.com/cart/index.pl/catid_77/proid_250/_/_/Chacruna/PsychotriaViridis, Yage: http://www.shamanic-extracts.com/xcart/shamanic-products/banisteriopsis-caapi-seeds.html, Cannabis: http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/4477.html, Opium: http://www.plantcultures.org.uk/plants/opium_poppy_traditional_medicine.html, Peyote: http://tryptamind.com/grow_peyote.html, Iboga: http://www.shamanic-extracts.com/xcart/shamanic-products/tabernanthe-iboga-seeds.html, Salvia Divinorum: http://www.sagewisdom.org/sdseeds.html Psilocybe: http://www.erowid.org/plants/mushrooms/mushrooms_cultivation_az2.shtml.

Mentions: The following section of the paper will critically assess how this biotic substance control system spreads itself biogeographically and sociospatially at multiple scales, from a broad, global environmental level to the ultra-local perspective of the individual consumer. In the so-called "public health" campaign to prevent and control substances abuse, State governing bodies the world over have essentially extraprocedurally taken ownership of entire species of naturally occurring, pharmacologically active biota from the plant and fungal kingdoms--out of the hundreds of types of naturally occurring psychoactive biota--and criminalized their consumption outside of narrow, official channels. Ten species that evolved on Earth's biosphere are currently at the heart of this policy, through direct or indirect reference in international, federal or state-level Schedules. They are: Papaver somniferum L., Erythroxylum coca Lam, Cannabis sativa L., Lophophora williamsii J.M.C., 186 Psilocybe fungi spp., Catha edulis Vahl, Tabernanthe iboga L., Banisteriopsis caapi C.V.M. &Psychotria viridis Ruiz & Pav, and Salvia divinorum Epling & Játiva. More commonly, these are known as opium, coca, cannabis, peyote, mushrooms, khat, iboga, ayahuasca, and salvia. Of these, the first three--opium, cannabis, and coca--have the longest standing ownership-bans in the modern era with the most far-reaching consequences. These are in fact ownership-bans because global biotic psychoactive substance prohibitions grant legitimate, monopoly ownership of the biota--or, at root, select germplasms (plant genetic resources) (Figure 1)--wherever they may occur and at whatever generational age of the species--to State authorities while prohibiting safe access by others, literally bioimpoverishing unauthorized billions through force or the threat of force. Those who civilly disobey these regulations by consuming or facilitating consumption of contraband biota--possession law violators--are, in effect, stealing from world governments, hence, getting "busted", and many are routinely charged for such crimes. The institution of such bans on nature requires a historical act of biocolonization: a prior political call of species-wide, claim staking, i.e., a depletion of the commons pool of plant genetic resources through decree. It is this historical act that allows the past participle form of the verb 'control' in the phrase 'controlled substances' to assert itself as absolutely commonplace and normalized.


Psychoactive substances and the political ecology of mental distress.

Aggarwal SK, Carter GT, Zumbrunnen C, Morrill R, Sullivan M, Mayer JD - Harm Reduct J (2012)

Key Contraband Germplasms. (from top left, rightward) Coca: http://web.archive.org/web/20061018053434/http://www.ethnogarden.com/cart/index.pl/catid_77/proid_292/_/_/CocaSeeds/ErythroxylumCoca, Khat: http://www.shamanica.com/Catha%20edulis.asp, Chacruna: http://web.archive.org/web/20061018155352/http://www.ethnogarden.com/cart/index.pl/catid_77/proid_250/_/_/Chacruna/PsychotriaViridis, Yage: http://www.shamanic-extracts.com/xcart/shamanic-products/banisteriopsis-caapi-seeds.html, Cannabis: http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/4477.html, Opium: http://www.plantcultures.org.uk/plants/opium_poppy_traditional_medicine.html, Peyote: http://tryptamind.com/grow_peyote.html, Iboga: http://www.shamanic-extracts.com/xcart/shamanic-products/tabernanthe-iboga-seeds.html, Salvia Divinorum: http://www.sagewisdom.org/sdseeds.html Psilocybe: http://www.erowid.org/plants/mushrooms/mushrooms_cultivation_az2.shtml.
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Figure 1: Key Contraband Germplasms. (from top left, rightward) Coca: http://web.archive.org/web/20061018053434/http://www.ethnogarden.com/cart/index.pl/catid_77/proid_292/_/_/CocaSeeds/ErythroxylumCoca, Khat: http://www.shamanica.com/Catha%20edulis.asp, Chacruna: http://web.archive.org/web/20061018155352/http://www.ethnogarden.com/cart/index.pl/catid_77/proid_250/_/_/Chacruna/PsychotriaViridis, Yage: http://www.shamanic-extracts.com/xcart/shamanic-products/banisteriopsis-caapi-seeds.html, Cannabis: http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/4477.html, Opium: http://www.plantcultures.org.uk/plants/opium_poppy_traditional_medicine.html, Peyote: http://tryptamind.com/grow_peyote.html, Iboga: http://www.shamanic-extracts.com/xcart/shamanic-products/tabernanthe-iboga-seeds.html, Salvia Divinorum: http://www.sagewisdom.org/sdseeds.html Psilocybe: http://www.erowid.org/plants/mushrooms/mushrooms_cultivation_az2.shtml.
Mentions: The following section of the paper will critically assess how this biotic substance control system spreads itself biogeographically and sociospatially at multiple scales, from a broad, global environmental level to the ultra-local perspective of the individual consumer. In the so-called "public health" campaign to prevent and control substances abuse, State governing bodies the world over have essentially extraprocedurally taken ownership of entire species of naturally occurring, pharmacologically active biota from the plant and fungal kingdoms--out of the hundreds of types of naturally occurring psychoactive biota--and criminalized their consumption outside of narrow, official channels. Ten species that evolved on Earth's biosphere are currently at the heart of this policy, through direct or indirect reference in international, federal or state-level Schedules. They are: Papaver somniferum L., Erythroxylum coca Lam, Cannabis sativa L., Lophophora williamsii J.M.C., 186 Psilocybe fungi spp., Catha edulis Vahl, Tabernanthe iboga L., Banisteriopsis caapi C.V.M. &Psychotria viridis Ruiz & Pav, and Salvia divinorum Epling & Játiva. More commonly, these are known as opium, coca, cannabis, peyote, mushrooms, khat, iboga, ayahuasca, and salvia. Of these, the first three--opium, cannabis, and coca--have the longest standing ownership-bans in the modern era with the most far-reaching consequences. These are in fact ownership-bans because global biotic psychoactive substance prohibitions grant legitimate, monopoly ownership of the biota--or, at root, select germplasms (plant genetic resources) (Figure 1)--wherever they may occur and at whatever generational age of the species--to State authorities while prohibiting safe access by others, literally bioimpoverishing unauthorized billions through force or the threat of force. Those who civilly disobey these regulations by consuming or facilitating consumption of contraband biota--possession law violators--are, in effect, stealing from world governments, hence, getting "busted", and many are routinely charged for such crimes. The institution of such bans on nature requires a historical act of biocolonization: a prior political call of species-wide, claim staking, i.e., a depletion of the commons pool of plant genetic resources through decree. It is this historical act that allows the past participle form of the verb 'control' in the phrase 'controlled substances' to assert itself as absolutely commonplace and normalized.

Bottom Line: The goal of this paper is to both understand and depathologize clinically significant mental distress related to criminalized contact with psychoactive biotic substances by employing a framework known as critical political ecology of health and disease from the subdiscipline of medical geography.Critical approaches to the political ecology of health and disease have the potential to incorporate ever-broadening social, political, economic, and cultural factors to challenge traditional causes, definitions, and sociomedical understandings of disease.It closes with proposing a non-criminalizing public health approach for regulating human close contact with psychoactive substances using the example of cannabis use.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, New York University, Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, 400 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016 USA. sunila@uw.edu.

ABSTRACT
The goal of this paper is to both understand and depathologize clinically significant mental distress related to criminalized contact with psychoactive biotic substances by employing a framework known as critical political ecology of health and disease from the subdiscipline of medical geography. The political ecology of disease framework joins disease ecology with the power-calculus of political economy and calls for situating health-related phenomena in their broad social and economic context, demonstrating how large-scale global processes are at work at the local level, and giving due attention to historical analysis in understanding the relevant human-environment relations. Critical approaches to the political ecology of health and disease have the potential to incorporate ever-broadening social, political, economic, and cultural factors to challenge traditional causes, definitions, and sociomedical understandings of disease. Inspired by the patient-centered medical diagnosis critiques in medical geography, this paper will use a critical political ecology of disease approach to challenge certain prevailing sociomedical interpretations of disease, or more specifically, mental disorder, found in the field of substance abuse diagnostics and the related American punitive public policy regimes of substance abuse prevention and control, with regards to the use of biotic substances. It will do this by first critically interrogating the concept of "substances" and grounding them in an ecological context, reviewing the history of both the development of modern substance control laws and modern substance abuse diagnostics, and understanding the biogeographic dimensions of such approaches. It closes with proposing a non-criminalizing public health approach for regulating human close contact with psychoactive substances using the example of cannabis use.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus