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Labeling and Mislabeling

Labeling and Mislabeling


<p> T HE stated purpose of this book is to describe heroin use and users in the Mexican-American (Chicano) district of Los Angeles, to show how the behavior is influenced by the culture, and how social-control organizations aggravate the problem through the process of labeling the addict as a deviant. Unfortunately, neither the title nor the stated purposes are very descriptive of the contents. The author does provide a description of the Chicano culture, an interesting history of early narcotic use in the barrio and how it has changed, and a few pages on the large Chicano Narcotics Prevention Program (NPP). However, most of the book is devoted to developing the thesis that society's problems with narcotic addiction are largely a product of misguided efforts to control the behavior. While this may well be true, the arguments presented are largely independent of heroin use among Chicanos. The author's experience is derived from working in the NPP, but there is little effort to describe how Chicano heroin addicts are different from those of other ethnic groups, or how the culture shapes their behavior.</p><p>In order to develop the main theme, the author provides a lengthy chapter on the history of
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