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CJ 253 Drug Use & the Law in American Society • 5 Cr.


Studies the unique demands that alcohol and drug offenses place on the criminal justice system. Students learn how the procedures of investigation, information management, and prosecution differs between alcohol and drug crimes and other criminal offenses.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Recognize and describe the physical appearance of various types of commonly abused, licit and illicit substances.
  • Demonstrate in writings and exercises their ability to describe and explain the historical development of the drug laws in the United States.
  • Explain in writings and discussions, the political, legal, and physiological reasoning behind the design, construction, and implementation of American drug laws.
  • Recognize and describe in writings and exercises, the physical differences between various forms of licit and illicit drugs.
  • Describe and differentiate the pharmacological, physiological, and psychological effects of specific forms of illicit drugs. For example, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD, methamphetamine, and mescaline.
  • Describe and differentiate the pharmacological, physiological, and psychological effects of specific groups of licit drugs. For example, amphetamines, barbiturates, and tranquilizers.
  • In argumentative essays and classroom discussions, develop perspectives from the law, lectures, text, and outside readings, which are both for and against the modification of current drug laws. Arguments must be underpinned from, scientific evidence, expert opinion, journal articles and appropriate texts.
  • In classroom exercises, describe and recognize the physical appearance of numerous, commonly abused, licit and illicit drugs.
  • Demonstrate in writings and classroom discussions a comprehensive understanding of state and federal drug laws. For example, the fine and prison time for violation of sections dealing with specific drug types.
  • In writings and classroom discussions, explain the history of illicit drug use in America.

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Bellevue College
3000 Landerholm Circle SE Bellevue, WA 98007-6484 U.S.A.
Work: (425) 564-1000