Drug normalisation and Australian youth: group differences in the social accommodation of drug use
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According to the 'normalisation thesis', drug use has become an 'unremarkable' feature of contemporary life for young people. Previous quantitative research, however, neglects to assess the extent of variation in young people's social accommodation of drug use. This paper uses data from a purposive survey of young people who frequently attended clubs in a major night-time entertainment district in Brisbane, Australia to assess group differences in attitudes towards drug use. Using social interaction models, we find evidence of significant variation in views about drug use even among the sample of frequent club goers. We also demonstrate an endogenous - or social interaction - effect where young people's views are associated with the views of others who prefer to attend the same clubs. Overall, our results support the recent calls for a differentiated understanding of drug normalisation. We conclude that locations and social processes are important for understanding group differences in the social accommodation of drug use.
Journal of Youth Studies
Causes and Prevention of Crime