Socio-Cultural Variables and Drugs

Topics: Recreational drug use, Illegal drug trade, Drug Pages: 5 (1589 words) Published: June 9, 2011

Research Paper on Socio-Cultural Variables and Drugs

An Assignment
Presented in Partial Fulfilment
of the Requirements for the Course



Khadyne Klassie Andrews

2 December 2010

Question: What socio-cultural variables continue to effect drug use today? How has this changed from some previous socio-cultural variable that have influenced drug use in the past? i.Abstract


Research has revealed that drug use paints an increasingly dismal picture as we approach the twenty-first century. Both the adult (middle-aged people mostly in their 30s and 40s) and the school aged drug user population have grown in size following years of relative stability. At least 4.6 percent of high school seniors are daily marijuana users, as are about 1 percent of eighth graders, suggesting that the average user is getting younger. Other prevalence data estimate that 12.4 million people used drugs monthly whether legal or not. (Johnston, O'Malley, and Bachman 1995)

The consumption of drugs not only has serious physical, social and economic consequences for the individual consumer, but also imposes enormous costs on society as a whole, and ultimately funds massive criminal systems. People may choose to take drugs to rebel, to escape, to cope, to survive, to belong or to register resignation and defeat. The current global increase in the consumption of drugs may be related to changes in society, including reduced family and community cohesiveness, increased unemployment and greater feelings of alienation. (Shaw V. N, 2002)

Drug use and abuse contributes to or is a symptom of high unemployment, breakdown in family structure and poor living conditions. Many young people have found it difficult to obtain a productive employment and therefore are at a high risk to result to drugs. Families can have a powerful influence on shaping the attitudes, values and behaviour of children. However it is commonly believed that peers can have a stronger influence on youths as well. (Journal of drug issue, 1989) As families come under pressure either through parental failures, rapidly changing cultures or economically imposed hardships, children look for alternative forms of association, such as youth gangs. Some youth gangs have become family for numerous of street children and in order to survive, these children frequently turn to drugs, violence and theft, all of which may be attached to ritualized ceremonies of belonging and obligation. Once part of a drug subculture, they become more marginalized from normal society, adopting new values that reinforce drug taking practices. (Journal of drug issue, 1989)

Supplies of drugs, illegal or legal, in many areas have become cheaper and more plentiful despite attempts to suppress crop production. The grower and trafficker counter strategies have been more than sufficient to maintain ample supplies on the market. At the same time, more addictive forms of drugs, such as crack cocaine, have been developed. The ready availability of such drugs makes consumption all the more difficult to suppress. (Journal of drug issue, 1989) According to Victor N Shaw (2002), the exposure to drug use, are prompt behaviours through family members, peer pressure, media and easy access or cost of the drug. Former and current legal or illegal drug users agreed that pleasure is the primary emotional reason for the usage of drugs. Drugs help people “get away” from their daily problems, enabling them relaxation, distraction, improved concentration, coping with sadness, shyness, low self-esteem were also mentioned as benefits of usage of drugs, it helps take away the pain. Gossop, M., Eiser, J. R., and Ward, E. (1982):...

References: Gossop, M., Eiser, J. R., and Ward, E. (1982):

Gossop, M., Eiser, J. R., and Ward, E. (1982). The addict 's perceptions of their own drug taking: Implications for the treatment of drug dependence. Addict.
Johnston, L.D., P.M
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