What's the attraction? The role of performance enhancement as a driver of recreational drug use
MetadataShow full item record
Introduction: Despite the risks involved, the use of drugs for recreational purposes is prevalent and generally well accepted. However, there is sparse research to explore the drivers of this phenomenon. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with lay field observers of the recreational drug scene. The data were analyzed using ground theory to provide a framework for understanding motivators underpinning recreational drug use. Two ascribed benefits underpinned recreational drug use: 1) improved social connectedness and 2) enhanced performance. This paper reports on the relationship between drug use and performance enhancement. Results: Recreational drugs were used with the aim of enhancing performance in a number of ways, including to improve endurance, appearance, confidence, and personality. The majority of participants reported that drug taking offers personal and social benefits that outweighed the risks. Discussion and conclusions: In contrast to much of the literature, this study found that people perceived recreational drug use to have a range of positive effects that they wanted to take advantage of. This important finding adds to our understanding of the “pulling power” of drugs. Ultimately, the study highlights a need to rethink the preoccupation in drug strategies with negative physical, mental, and social outcomes as this would seem to be disconnected from actual experience and may result in a credibility gap for prevention education.
Journal of Substance Use
Psychology not elsewhere classified