This module considers ‘what a drug is’, alongside how and why we take drugs, by exploring the relationship between society, culture and intoxication. Together we will examine classic and contemporary literature on 'drugs' and the 'drug experience', including drug ethnographies, critical drug studies, and narcocultural studies (eg. literary works and media on drugs). We will also analyse how certain forms of drug use are produced as ‘social problems’ to develop a critical understanding of the aims, efficacies and inadequacies of societal responses to drug use, including drug education programmes, public health policies, treatment regimes, recovery work, and criminal sanctions. Other topics covered include club drugs in post-rave dance cultures; continuity and change in drug markets/distribution systems; drug prohibition, its consequences, and its alternatives; illicit drugs, globalisation and securitisation; gender, sexuality and drugs; researching drugs/drug use (theoretical concepts, research methods and ethics); risks, harms and pleasure; and mapping drug futures in the digital age.