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Airi-Alina Allaste Social Drug Research. Different aspects of the drug phenomenon. Health problem drug use, HIV/AIDS Social poverty, housing, education, social vulnerability

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different aspects of the drug phenomenon
Different aspects of the drug phenomenon

Health problem drug use, HIV/AIDS

Social poverty, housing, education, social vulnerability

Security public nuisance, drug-related crime, drugs and driving, public life, quality of life, open drug scenes

Economy narco-economies, pharmaceutical companies

Internationalinternationalisation demand (drug tourism) – supply (production, distribution)‏

“Good enemy” easy to blame when something is wrong in society

drug policy models
0 tolerance policy – drugs are not accepted in society and everything has to be done to fight against it (USA, Sweden)
  • Harm reduction policy – drugs are not welcome in society but unfortunately they are here and everything has to be done to reduce harm related to drugs (Most of the countries in EU).
Drug policy models
drug phenomenon
Drug Phenomenon

From political perspective distinction - demand side and supply side

Demand - explanations for drug use from user perspectives

Youth cultures where drug use is accepted

Marginalisation and poverty as an explanation of drug use

Related topics - mobility (cf. EU enlargement), drug tourism

Supply – explanations why drugs are available



Distribution and / or consumer states

Military conflicts ~ terrorist organizations ~ arms traffic and drug production

the drug policy
The drug policy

Trend: from zero tolerance policy to harm reduction policy (except Sweden)‏

Demand reduction: highest priority on prevention, relating to health, education, research and training activities + combat social exclusion

Supply reduction: priority to the control of chemical precursors, the prevention and the fight against money laundering, to the effective cooperation between police, customs and judicial authorities

different perspectives o f analysing drug use
Different perspectives of analysing drug use

Different disciplines

Epidemiology - spread of drug use compared to disease (surveys, statistics)‏

Criminology and criminal law– drug use as illegal act

Psychology and psychiatry – drug use explained from personality perspective (escape from psychological problems)‏

Philosophy – drug use and addiction as epistemological phenomenon

History - drug use as social phenomenon from historical perspective

social drug research
Social drug research

Sociology and social anthropology from 60-70-s – drug use as subcultural phenomenon

Drug use became widespread social phenomenon (counter cultures)‏

Different approaches from medical doctors (not onlyas an addiction)‏

Cultural studies from 90-s - use of substances as part of personal choice and individual behaviour; explanation takes into consideration the drug user's standpoint

Certain standpoints according to disciplines tendencies not rules (Zinberg)‏

howard becker outsiders 1963
Howard Becker Outsiders (1963)

Becoming a marihuana user (1954) based on 50 interviews

First time used the concept of a “recreational drug user” (before that only “abusers”)‏

Social learning within subculture essential for drug use

Learning technic

Learning to perceive effects

Learning to enjoy effects

marihuana use and social control
Marihuana use and social control

Career of a marihuana user – beginner, occasional user, regular user


Through limiting access to drug

Necessity of keeping non-users discovering the user

Definition of act as immoral

Supply - need for special contacts through cannabis-users subculture different level (beginners and occasional users get the drug from others; regular users buy big quantities)

Secrecy – related to level of use and supply (living with parents – occasional users)‏

Morality – regular users develop group ideology which justifies cannabis use

ideological supports to becoming and remaining heroin addict felding 1968
Ideological supports to becoming and remaining heroin addict (Felding 1968)‏

Stand-up cat - adventurous macho (I am not getting addicted!)‏

Pleasure from heroin versus degree of commitment to group (with Stand-up cat ideology)‏

Change in values – no more macho culture, better to be crafty and smart

New competences - defend themselves; provide resources that insure drug supply

the drugtakers young 1971 contrasted values play
The Drugtakers (Young 1971) Contrasted values. Play

Formal Subterranian

planning future spontainety

obeing rules ego-expressivity

routine new experience

work as virtue disdain to work


Self-contained; cathartic, ego-expressive (Giddens 1964)‏

Voluntary; stepping out from „real“ life; contains its own meaning (Huizinga 1969)

motivation for drug use
Motivation for drug use

To add productivity

Coffee, cigarettes, amphetamine (soldiers, students)‏

To relax after work

„Social“ drinking, prescribed barbiturates

Purely hedonistic ends

„problem“ drinking; marihuana; heroin; (other drugs)‏

Drug usingis accepted when it contributes to productivity (through stimulating or relaxing)‏

Hedonistic reasons condemned in modern capitalist society

Become desirable for groups who

have limited opportunities to participate in consumer society

do not value the opportunities of consumer society

vietnam veterans 3 year s after v ietnam robbins et al 1979
Vietnam veterans 3 years after Vietnam (Robbins et. al. 1979)‏

High % of heroin use among soldiers in Vietnam (54%)‏

After 3 years 12% of previous addicts still used heroin

War as favourable context of drug use

Pharmacological influence of heroin was not powerful enough to keep men addicted afterwards

drugs set and setting zinberg 1984
Drugs, set and setting (Zinberg 1984)‏

Three variables which influence drug-taking behaviour




The setting is divided into two aspects

Rituals - the stylized, prescribed patterns surrounding the use of drug

Social sanctions - norms regarding whether and how particular drug should be used

recreational drug use
Recreational Drug Use

Cambridge International Dictionary of English: ‘Recreational - (a way of) enjoying yourself when you are not working’

Limited to leisure time only

Does not disturb everyday activities, working or learning

Does not cause evident physical harm

The user has no compulsory need to consume drugs

problem drug use
Problem Drug Use

Problem drug use refers to ‘injecting drug use or long-duration/regular use of opiates, cocaine and/or amphetamines’(EMCDDA)‏

Negatively affects person’s everyday activities

Problems with criminals or law enforcement agencies

“Losing control”/ becoming addicted

normalization of drug use
Normalization of drug use

Accommodation of behavioural norms, which were considered deviant before, among the larger group of society

Normalisation thesis

Drugs’ availability: the commodification of drugs and globalization of their supply, means that by 18 years of age most young people have been in situations where they could buy or try drugs

Drug experimentation: there has been a sustained rise in drug experimentation such that 50–60 per cent of young people have experimented with drug use on at least one occasion by the age of 18. Previously existing gender and social class differences in drug experimentation are being eroded

Drug use: there has been a sustained rise in the number of young people using drugs regularly and employing cost–benefit assessments of the risks and pleasures in making their choices

Being drug-wise: young people exchange drug experiences and stories regardless of whether they use drugs or not. Abstainers begin to accommodate the drug use of others as long as it is ‘sensible’, recreational use

Future intentions: there is an open-mindedness about future drug use even among young adults who went through adolescence without taking illicit drugs

Cultural accommodation of the illicit: normalization signifies the accommodation of activities previously considered ‘deviant’ by young people themselves into mainstream cultural arrangements. This ‘desubculturalizes’ drug use and allows the recreational use of less physically addictive drugs within a range of busy study, work and leisure agendas
topics of seminars
Topics of seminars

Problem drug(heroin)use

Punch, M. (2005) Problem Drug Use and the Political economy of urban restructuring

Duerte et. Al. (2003) Tragic beauties: heroin images and heroin users Presenter Janna Järvinen

Recreational drug use

Salasuo, M. & Seppäla, P (2004) Drug use within Finnish club-culture as mark of distinction Presenter Robin Lybek

Moffat, B. et al. (2009) A gateway to nature. Teenagers’ narratives on smoking marijuana outdoors.

Risk perception

Hunt, G. et al. (2007) Drug Use and meanings of risk and pleasure Presenter Filippa Haglund

Rodner, S.(2006) Practicing Risk control in socially disapproved area

Drugs and gender

Hutton, F (2004) Up for it, mad for it.

Payne, J. (2007) Women Drug users in North Cumbria

Drugs and ethnicity
    • Room, R. (2005) Multicultural context and alcohol and drug use as symbolic behaviour PresenterHenning Silber
    • Miller-Day, M& Barnett, J. (2004) I am not a druggy
  • Drugs in Eastern Europe
    • Pilkington, H (2007) Beyond peer pressure
    • Miovski, M. (2007) Changing patterns of drug use in Czech
  • Dealing with drugs
    • Pearson, G & Hobbs, D (2003) King Pin?
    • Jacinto, C et al (2008) I am not a real dealer!
  • Harm reduction and drug treatment
    • McKeganey, N (2006) The lure and the loss of harm reduction in UK drug policy and practice
    • Tammi, T (2005) Diffusion of Public Health Views on Drug policy: the case of needle exchange in Finland
guidelines for presentation
Guidelines for presentation
  • Central focus/research problem of the article
  • Short overview of the article
  • Critic of the article. What questions it arised?
  • Argumentation of the article related to your knowledge or experience
  • If it is possible, make some connections to Finnish/Swedesh society
  • If it is possible, make some connections to theoretical perspectives known from other lectures