VH1 is currently airing a four-part documentary on the American drug culture from the 1960's up to today called The Drug Years. So far, the documentary is rather good. It doesn't take a stainless steele drugs are bad attitude, but it also doesn't turn away from the destruction drugs can cause. It is an interesting and mostly objective study on this subject. The Sundance Channel is also airing the documentary.
But Steve, why should you care about the drug culture? Well, duh. I think that quite a few crime stories deal with drugs and I think one needs a better understanding of their meaning to society in order to write about crime. It's not enough to know that drugs are bad; one needs to comprehend the social impact drugs have. And that doesn't simply mean crime statistics. Certainly the ramifications of drug use often lead to crime, but I seriously doubt anyone started taking drugs so they could commit crime. What I'm looking for is motivation and societal definition. Knowing why drugs exist at all and why people take them will lead one to better understand not only their own society, but also allows the writer to better develop his or her characters and the envirornments they inhabit. One cannot effectively comment on society without first understanding it.