Skip Navigation
search: People Opens New Window | Departments Opens New Window | Penn State Opens New Window | Web Opens New Window
Penn State mark
Penn State mark
University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Criminal Justice (CRIMJ)

CRIMJ 469 (HIST 469) Drugs and Drug Policy in the United States (3) Examines the history and dimensions of drug use and analyzes the impact of drug policy.

CRIMJ (HIST) 469 Drugs and Drug Policy in the United States (3)

For nearly a century, the United States has been waging its version of a hundred years' war on drugs, spending billions of dollars and incarcerating thousands of offenders while failing to significantly reduce the use of illicit drugs. This course examines drug use in a historical context while addressing the changing nature and dimension of drug use, including the pharmacology of drugs, patterns of drug use, and sentencing policies. Because drug control is inextricably linked to social, political, and public policy, the course will provide the student with a foundation for critical thinking and rational decision making relative to the efficacy of the various drug control initiatives. Since drugs seemingly permeate every level of American society and directly or tangentially touch most Americans' lives, issues such as drug testing in the workplace, the use of drug courier profiles, legalized medical marijuana, and needle exchange programs are evaluated. Students will be expected to learn the pharmacology of various drugs, the history of drug use in the United States since the colonial era, the evolution of federal drug agencies, and acquire knowledge about contemporary drug issues. They also will be expected to develop and strengthen their critical thinking skills as they assess the consequences of implementing particular anti-drug policies and their impact on reducing the use of illicit drug use. An example of the evaluation methods would be: students will be evaluated on the basis of three exams and four "think pieces" (requiring students' critical responses to an assigned topic) scheduled throughout the semester. Class attendance also will influence the grade.

Faculty Member Proposing Course: John C. McWilliams

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Humanities
Effective: Spring 2008
Prerequisite: CRIMJ 100 orHIST 021

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


Look up course abbreviations

Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

Skip Popular Searches
  1. Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
  2. General Education: United States Cultures and International Cultures
  3. Course Index
  4. Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin
  5. General Education: Arts
  6. General Education: Humanities
  7. General Education: Health and Physical Activity
  8. General Education: Natural Sciences
  9. General Education: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  10. General Education: Writing/Speaking