< Back to main page

Drugs, Society and Behavior
SOCI 270 - SUNY Morrisville College
Professor Kurt Reymers

Optional Assignment
Online Activity B2:

Optional assignment -- NOT REQUIRED

Anthropological Pharmacology (the 11-syllable) assignment:

Read the following excerpt from Food of the Gods by Terrance McKenna for extra credit.

1. What is the general structure of the role of 'shaman' in many cultures?

2. What is the relevance of language to the shaman?

3. Briefly describe in your own words McKenna's ethnographic experience with shamanism in South America.

4. What do you think McKenna means when he says "the world of shamanism, of allies, shape shifting, and magical attack are far more real than the constructs of science can ever be, because these spirit ancestors and their other world can be seen and felt, they can be known, in the nonordinary reality"?

E-mail your completed assignment to: reymers@morrisville.edu, with the SUBJECT line to read: DRUGSB2

Due on or before 5pm on Friday, May 8

Optional Assignment
Online Activity B1:

Optional assignment -- NOT REQUIRED

Video comprehension assignment

Watch the video linked below and answer the following questions. Worth 2 points.

PBS Frontline's "Chasing Heroin"

1. How much was the heroin worth ($) that was running through the young woman's veins during the interview in the introduction of the video?

2. What medical intervention program created the introduction of opioids, particularly oxycontin, into the drug regimen of the medical community?

3. What were the charges and what was the result of the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma?

4. Near the end of Mara's story, the narrator reveals the rate of relapse within the first year of heroin sobriety. What is it?

5. How many people have died in Kitsap County since the city council of Bremerton, Washington?

6. What are the life goals of 20-year-old Kristina Block's experience with heroin treatment? 1:13 - Wants to go to the LEAD program to clean up and be a cosmetician

7. How did the work between county prosecuter Lisa Daugaard and the Seattle Police department change drug law enforcement?

8. What happened when, after waiting 11 days, Johnny took the bus four hours to a rehab facility where they had a bed for him?

9. What is the drug that Johnny eventually used to help him block the neurotransmission reception of heroin? (Note - look it up online, or try your best at the spelling)

10. What happened to Kristina Block?

Please do NOT send as an attachment.
your completed assignment to: reymers@morrisville.edu,

Online Activity 10:

Video comprehension assignment

Watch this TEDx Talk video (Mitch Zeller, March 2019) about tobacco and answer the following questions.

1) In terms of numbers of users and amount used, how does tobacco use compare today to the past?

2) What is the leading cause of disease and death in the United States today?

3) How does Zeller reveal the true nature of the tobacco and cigarette business?

4) What was the arts and crafts project Zeller made for his parents in 1964?

5) What drug were Philip-Morris, R.J. Reynolds, and other cigarette companies truly selling?

6) What was a "light" cigarette and how did it work?

7) How long does it take for nicotine to get to the brain after puffing on a cigarette (or vape pen)?

8) What is the rate (in percent) of people who smoke today?

9) What is the main problem with e-cigarette use?

Please do NOT send as an attachment.
your completed assignment to: reymers@morrisville.edu


Online Activity 9:

Reading comprehension assignment

Answer the following questions about chapters 10 & 11 of "High Price".

Chp 10: "The Maze"

1) Explain Timothy Leary's notion of how "set" and "setting" are important in the experience and behaviors of drug use.

2) Describe why the 10-20% of addiction stories set the norm for our social understanding of drug effects.

3) Who did Hart consider his mentors and what was their importance in his life?

Chp 11: "Wyoming"

4) How did Hart overcome his language deficit in order to get into graduate school?

5) What was the important piece of advice that Hart got from his girlfriend's (Terri's) father before going to graduate school?

6) What event on the WYoming campus was Hart's first experience with real social activism?

7) Other than meeting his mentor, what important life relationship did Hart forge during his time in graduate school?

Please do NOT send as an attachment.
your completed assignment to: reymers@morrisville.edu,


Online Activity 8:

Reading comprehension assignment

Based on Chapter 8: Basic Training, from "High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey...", answer the following questions:

1) What branch of the military did Carl Hart Jr. serve in and where was he eventually stationed?

2) What quote does Hart repeat from sociologists Charles Moskos and John Sibley Butler about racial integration in the history of the army?

3) Hart says his college education started in part because of what choice(s) he made?

4) How can you make "crack" cocaine and why don't people just smoke regular powder cocaine?

5) What happened to Big Mama?

6) After going back to Miami and talking to his father, what important life choice did Hart make?

Based on Chapter 9: Home Is Where the Hatred Is, from "High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey...",
answer the following questions:

1) According to Hart, how are attitudes regarding race different between America and England?

2) Give an example of what Hart means by "cultural capital".

3) How does Hart explain the origins of violence (especially comparing drugs, honor, and poverty) in his old home community of south Miami?

4) In what way does the enforcement of the drug laws have a biased impact (without being racist in intent)?

5) Describe what happened to his friend Melrose.


E-mail your completed assignment to: reymers@morrisville.edu,
Please do NOT send as an attachment or link.

Due on or before 5pm on Friday, April 10


Online Activity 7:

Data Collection Assignment:

Print This Page

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant. Yet it is not a drug taken very seriously with respect to dependence, misuse or abuse. Still, it is instructive to see how much we ourselves take in on a daily level. Use the following website and chart (or something similar) to track your caffeine intake on a daily level for the next week. Be as accurate as possible in your estimation. Be prepared to report your findings in class on Tuesday Apr 7. In your report, write a summary of use and establish whether you are above, at, or below the recommended daily intake of caffeine and if you have any symptoms or signs of caffeine dependence (describe what they are).

This website has information on caffeine levels of many of the beverages you are likely to drink, and other sources of caffeine as well. Review the following chart to see if there are foods you eat that unknowingly contain caffeine: http://www.cspinet.org/new/cafchart.htm.

Data Collection Chart:

Caffeiene Tracking Chart

Report Summary: ____________________________________________________________________________





E-Mail your completed assignment worksheet (you can take a picture of it and attach it to your email) to reymers@morrisville.edu by Tuesday, April 7


Online Activity 6:

Video comprehension assignment

Watch this TED video featuring Dr. Carl Hart explaining his views on drug addiction and drug policy and then answer the questions below.

1. What was Carl Hart's perception of drug addiction when he was younger? (1:45)

2. How many drugs are there that create an addiction after a single-use? (3:15)

3. What was the problem with the early 1960s/70s drug experiments with lab animals? What experiment did Hart create to show the flaw in those early experiments? (5:18, 6:48)

4. What is an example of drug laws not being universally implemented across communities of different social classes? (11:21)

5. What three things can we do about these problems with perception and policy surrounding drugs? (14:10)

6. If not the drugs themselves, what are the real problems of society that are correlated with drug use? (18:10)

E-mail your completed assignment to: reymers@morrisville.edu

Please do NOT send as an attachment.

Due on or before 5pm on Friday, March 6


Online Activity 5:

Attribution assignment
Describe in your own words the actions of two drugs that you or your friend/family member, John or Jane Doe, have personally experienced. Choose two drugs and for each describe the commo
n name, scientific name (if known), category, dosage (note the dose/response curve) and method of administration to the body. Describe acute and (possible) chronic behavioral and physiological effects, including actions/blocking of neurotransmitters, if known (see text Chps 4 and 5). If relevant, describe any related tolerances or withdrawal symptoms related to the drugs.

Please do NOT send as an attachment.
your completed assignment to: reymers@morrisville.edu,

Due on or before 5pm on Friday, February 28

Online Activity 4:

Worksheet assignment
First, read Chapter 4 of the textbook and the following information from this National Institute of Health webpage:

1) Neurons, Brain Chemistry, and Neurotransmission
2) Drugs Change the Way Neurons Communicate

Next, print and complete the diagrams and charts on the worksheets found here:

Neuron Worksheet 1 Neuron Worksheet 2
Label ALL visible parts on the diagram
PRINT THIS PAGE - Complete worksheet questions based on the diagrams provided

Turn in your completed assignment on Thursday, Feb 20 IN CLASS.

Online Activity 3:

Chronology assignment
Based on Chapter 3 of the textbook, develop a chronology of the legislation of drugs that has been passed since 1900. (A chronology is a timeline of common events, typically with a description of the event;
in this case, drug legislation events). Focus on the drug laws that you believe to have had the greatest impact. Be sure to not only name the laws, but briefly describe their intent and what impact they have had on the society. Feel free to use non-traditional media (e.g. Prezi, PowerPoint, MovieMaker, etc.) to develop your chronology.

E-mail your completed assignment to: reymers@morrisville.edu, with the SUBJECT line to read: DRUGS3

Due on Friday February 14 at 5pm

Online Activity 2:

Reading comprehension assignment
Based on the Authors Note
, Prologue and Chapters 1 and 2 of of "High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey...", answer the following questions:

1. Author's Note: For what purpose does the author, Dr. Carl Hart, Jr., claim that he writes this book?

2. Prologue: Why does Hart study crack-cocaine users in a laboratory?

3. Chapter 1: According to Hart, what percentage of drug users get "addicted" to the drugs they are on? How does this statistic conflict with most people's ideas of drug dependence?

4. Chapter 1: What are the two types of evidence Hart differentiates in Chapter 1? What is the problem with the second type of evidence he discusses? Which type of evidence is the media more likely to bring to the attention of the public?

5. Chapter 2: Use examples (either from the book or, preferably, from your own life) to help define the terms "reinforcement", "extinction", and "punishment" with respect to behavioral psychology.

E-mail your completed assignment to: reymers@morrisville.edu, with the SUBJECT line to read: DRUGS2

(Note: for regular correspondence, do not use the above link to email me; or if you do, be sure to remove the automatic subject line heading)

Due on or before 5pm on Friday, February 7

Online Activity 1:

Autobiography Assignment:

Write a brief autobiography of your life in relation to your experiences with drugs. Certainly, this needn't necessarily mean illicit drugs; we all have probably been to the doctor for a prescription, had a cup of coffee or a Coke(TM), or been given a drug by a parent to change performance or attitude. Focus, if you can, on "psychoactive" drugs, drugs that effect your mental state or mood. Examples might involve familiar legal drugs like alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine, or they might range into the restricted and controlled drugs like marijuana, opioids, uppers/downers, or hallucinogens.* Think of this as a "get to know you" exercise (for yourself). You don't need to be too revealing, and remember you may always use the "I have a friend/family member who..." escape hatch if you want to talk about illicit things without incrimination of yourself or if have little to no experience with drugs yourself, but know someone who has.

Due on or before 5pm on Friday, January 31

E-mail your completed assignment to: reymers@morrisville.edu, with the SUBJECT line to read: DRUGS1
DO NOT send as an attachment.

(Note: for regular correspondence, do not use the above link to email me; or if you do, be sure to remove the automatic subject line heading)


*All assignments will be treated confidentially by the Professor, except in the case of revelations of current or recent incidents or threats of self-harm or harm to others associated with your descriptions of a drug experience, in which case I am a mandated reporter to the Dean of Liberal Arts and possibly to the Dean of Students.


Note: I will give you 3 chances to get the subject heading correct and to not include attachments in your online media emails to me.

For example, when you sent the first online media assignment, you should have used a subject heading in the email of "DRUGS#", where "#" means the number of the specific assignment of the week. If you wrote something else (like, for instance, "Online Media Questions 1" or "dshb 4 hw"), or if you have included your assignment as an attachment, you have not paid attention to the details of the assignment instructions (details which make it crucially easier for me to organize your responses and read what you have written).

You can do this three times without penalty, but a fourth instance of not paying attention to the details will result in a 1-point reduction from your Online Media grade. For the vast majority of you who are doing it right, thank you for paying attention to the details!

- Regards, Prof Reymers

< Back to main page