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social problems:
A social problem or social issue is a condition that at least some people in a community view as being undesirable.
is an issue that relates to society's perception of a person's personal life. Everyone would agree about some social
problems, such as murders . Other social problems may be viewed as such by certain groups of people. Teenagers
who play loud music in a public park obviously do not view it as a problem, but some other people may consider it
an undesirable social condition. Some nonsmokers view smoking as an undesirable social condition that should be
banned or restricted in public buildings.
Social issues are distinguished from economic issues. Some issues have both social and economic aspects, such as
immigration. There are also issues that don't fall into either category, such as wars.
Every newspaper is filled with stories about undesirable social conditions. Examples include crime, violence, drug
abuse, and environmental problems. Such social problems can be found at the local, state, national and international
levels. There will be focusing in the Public Policy Analyst on social problems in the same community.
Specific community locations
Community consists of…
school and school district;
Village , town or city;
County. ( region)
The four examples of social problems above could possibly exist in all of these communities. For example, there
could be a problem of increased stealing within school or throughout the school district. Likewise, local police
agencies—village, town, city and county—maintain statistics on crimes such as thefts within their jurisdiction. (
Identifying the cause of the problem
Medical researchers try to identify the causes of various diseases. They can develop a vaccine to immunize people
from contracting that disease. For example, Dr. Jonas Salk virtually eliminated polio when he identified the virus
that caused it, and then developed a vaccine. Likewise, if policy makers can identify the causes or factors that
contribute to a social problem, then they can try to develop public policies to eliminate or lessen those causes or
Unlike the specific virus that causes polio, most social problems have numerous causes and contributing factors.
Some of the Internet resources that you used to complete the previous step probably also contain information
about causes and contributing factors. Review those articles and brainstorm the causes and factors that contribute
to your social problem. Record that information on.
Developing public policy solutions
If a group were planning what to do next Saturday, they would probably first identify several alternative
activities. Likewise, in order to develop a public policy solution for your social problem, it is helpful to
consider some alternatives.
Two prior steps can be very useful to developing public policy alternatives. One way to solve a problem is to
eliminate or lessen the causes or contributory factors. For example, a policy for felons (criminal) who are paroled
from prison is that they may not associate with other criminals. The reason for this policy is to try to eliminate one
of the causes. Review the causes and contributory factors that your group identified in step 3. Are there any that
could be decreased or eliminated through a new public policy?
Another source for developing public policy alternatives is the current policy. Review step 4, especially your
answer to question 4. Perhaps your group thinks that the current policy fails to even deal with the problem and
should be totally replaced. Perhaps the current policy simply needs to be strengthened or improved ( e.g., tougher
penalties, more public education about the policy, additional regulations, clearer guidelines, etc.)
Be sure that your group develops new/original public policy alternatives, not public policy goals. For example the
following are public policy goals: improve education, reduce pollution, and lower the crime rate. Politicians often
fill their speeches with public policy goals that can appeal to almost everyone. A public policy must include a
specific type of government action to reach the public policy goal.
Finally, be sure that all of your public policy alternatives are at the same geopolitical level as your social problem.
Alcohol and drugs
Drugs are at times the cause of social problems. Drugs such as cocaine and opiates offer very limited positive
effects and are extremely addictive. Many users of such drugs will commit crimes in order to obtain their fix.
Occasionally, drugs such as methamphetamine or encyclopedic will cause deviant and violent behavior, which
would be classified as a social problem.
Drunk driving is on the rise and is the number two cause of accidental deaths, it is a cause of around 17,000 deaths
each year. All but 9 states have adopted the Administrative License Revocation where if you are caught drinking and
driving and found guilty you will lose your license for a full year. This is a step that is being taken in order to try to
avoid the occurrence of this social problem.
Crime and the justice system
The federal prison system has been unable to keep up with the steady increase of inmates over the past few years,
causing major overcrowding. In the year 2012, the overcrowding level was 41 percent above "rated capacity" and
was the highest level since 2004.
Is the unlawful killing, with malice (a wish to hurt other people).
aforethought, of another human, and generally this premeditated state of
mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide (such
as manslaughter).
As the loss of a human being inflicts enormous grief upon the individuals
close to the victim, and the commission of a murder is highly
detrimental(unsafe) to the good order within society, most societies both
present and in antiquity (ancient times) have considered it a most serious
crime worthy of the harshest of punishment. In most countries, a person
convicted of murder is typically given a long prison sentence, possibly a
life sentence where permitted, and in some countries, the death penalty
may be imposed for such an act – though this practice is becoming less
Authorities employ various mechanisms to regulate (encouraging or discouraging)
certain behaviors in general. Governing or administering agencies may for example
codify rules into laws, police citizens and visitors to ensure that they comply with
those laws, and implement other policies and practices that legislators or
administrators have prescribed with the aim of discouraging or preventing crime. In
addition, authorities provide remedies and sanctions, and collectively these constitute
a criminal justice system. Legal sanctions vary widely in their severity; they may
include (for example) incarceration of temporary character aimed at reforming the
convict. Some jurisdictions have penal codes written to inflict permanent harsh
punishments: legal mutilation, capital punishment or life without parole.
Usually a natural person perpetrates a crime, but legal persons may also commit
crimes. Conversely, at least under U.S. law, nonpersons such as animals cannot
commit crimes.
The sociologist Richard Quinney has written about the relationship between society
and crime. When Quinney states "crime is a social phenomenon" he envisages both
how individuals conceive crime and how populations perceive it, based on societal
What Is Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug
seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the drug addict and those around them.
Drug addiction is a brain disease because the abuse of drugs leads to changes in the
structure and function of the brain. Although it is true that for most people the initial decision
to take drugs is voluntary, over time the changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse
can affect a person's self-control and ability to make sound decisions, and at the same time
create an intense impulse to take drugs.
It is because of these changes in the brain that it is so challenging for a person who is
addicted to stop abusing drugs. Fortunately, there are treatments that help people to
counteract addiction's powerful disruptive effects and regain control. Research shows that
combining addiction treatment medications, if available, with behavioral therapy is the best
way to ensure success for most patients. Treatment approaches that are tailored to each
patient's drug abuse patterns and any concurrent medical, psychiatric, and social problems
can lead to sustained recovery and a life without drugs.
As with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, drug addiction
can be managed effectively.Yet, it is not uncommon for a person to relapse and begin
abusing drugs again. Relapse does not signal failure; rather, it indicates that treatment should
be reinstated or adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed to help the person regain
control and recover.
Drugs are chemicals that tap into the brain's communication system and disrupt the way
nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. There are at least two ways that
drugs are able to do this: by imitating the brain's natural chemical messengers, and/or
overstimulating the "reward circuit" of the brain.
Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, have a similar structure to chemical messengers,
called neurotransmitters, which are naturally produced by the brain. Because of this similarity,
these drugs are able to "fool" the brain's receptors and activate nerve cells to send abnormal
For many people, their parents' divorce marks a turning point in their lives, whether the
divorce happened many years ago or is taking place right now.
About half the marriages in the United States today end in divorce, so plenty of kids and
teens have to go through this. But when it happens to you, you can feel very alone and
unsure of what it all means.
It may seem hard, but it is possible to cope with divorce — and have a good family life in
spite of some changes divorce may bring.
Why Are My Parents Divorcing?
Parents divorce for many reasons. Usually divorce happens when couples feel they can no
longer live together due to fighting and anger, or because the love they had when they
married has changed. Divorce can also be because one parent falls in love with someone
else, and sometimes it is due to a serious problem like drinking, abuse, or gambling.
Sometimes nothing bad happens, but parents just decide to live apart.
Did you know it’s really common for teens to think that their parents' divorce is somehow
their fault? Just try to remember that parents' decisions to split up are to do with issues
between them, and not because of something you might have done or not done.
Some kids feel guilty about what happened, or wish they had prevented arguments by
cooperating more within the family, doing better with their behavior, or getting better
grades. But separation and divorce are a result of a couple's problems with each other, not
with their kids. The decisions adults make about divorce are their own.
If your parents are divorcing, you may experience many feelings. Your emotions may
change frequently, too. You may feel stressed out, angry, frustrated, or sad. You might
feel protective of one parent or blame one for the situation. You may feel abandoned,
afraid, worried, or guilty. You may also feel relieved, especially if there has been a lot of
tension or fighting at home. These feelings are very typical and talking about them with a
friend, family member, or trusted adult can really help.