Crossing the Rubicon: Youth transitions, poverty, drugs and social exclusion

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10149/97085
Title:
Crossing the Rubicon: Youth transitions, poverty, drugs and social exclusion
Authors:
MacDonald, R. (Robert); Marsh, J. (Jane)
Affiliation:
University of Teesside. School of Social Sciences and Law.; Social Futures Institute. Youth Research Unit.
Citation:
MacDonald, R. and Marsh, J. (2002) 'Crossing the Rubicon: Youth transitions, poverty, drugs and social exclusion', International Journal of Drug Policy, 13 (1), pp.27-38.
Publisher:
Elsevier BV
Journal:
International Journal of Drug Policy
Issue Date:
2002
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10149/97085
DOI:
10.1016/S0955-3959(02)00004-X
Abstract:
Descriptions of the 'socially excluded underclass' have listed illicit drug use amongst the plethora of social pathologies said to typify their behaviour. Few studies, however, have explored in detail the impact of drug use on the transitions of 'socially excluded' youth. This paper reports research undertaken between 1999 and 2001 in a severely 'excluded' locale in Northeast England, which had this as an aim. Qualitative interviews with 88 young people, and with professional 'stake-holders' who worked with them, are used to interrogate some current debates within the drugs research literature. Firstly, a three-fold typology of the drug-using behaviour of the sample is used to critique simplistic notions of 'normalisation'. Complete drug abstinence (coupled with wholly anti-drug views) co-existed alongside apparently widespread 'recreational' and 'problematic' drug use. At best, our evidence would support a theory of differentiated normalisation. Secondly, a broad concept of transition, that explores youth experiences holistically and that situates the shifting 'choices' of individual young people in the context of the legitimate and illegal opportunity structures that prevail locally is used to investigate the emergence of careers of 'problematic' drug use. Our evidence supports the conclusions of Parker and colleagues [New Heroin Outbreaks Amongst Young People in England and Wales (1998a)] that normative, cultural barriers between 'recreational' and 'problematic' drug use may be being eroded and that increasing proportions of 'socially excluded' youth are 'crossing the Rubicon' in drug careers that extend to heroin use. The paper concludes by emphasising the value of research that seeks to situate the biographical analysis of drug careers in context (particularly of the opportunities provided by local economies and changing drug markets) and of drugs strategies that seek to tackle the social and economic conditions that give 'poverty drugs' their appeal.
Type:
Article
Language:
en
Keywords:
drug career; drug market; normalisation; problematic drug use; social exclusion
ISSN:
0955-3959
Rights:
Author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing). For full details see http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/ [Accessed 21/04/2010]
Citation Count:
29 [Scopus, 21/04/2010]

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorMacDonald, R. (Robert)en
dc.contributor.authorMarsh, J. (Jane)en
dc.date.accessioned2010-04-21T14:54:52Z-
dc.date.available2010-04-21T14:54:52Z-
dc.date.issued2002-
dc.identifier.citationInternational Journal of Drug Policy; 13 (1): 27-38en
dc.identifier.issn0955-3959-
dc.identifier.doi10.1016/S0955-3959(02)00004-X-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10149/97085-
dc.description.abstractDescriptions of the 'socially excluded underclass' have listed illicit drug use amongst the plethora of social pathologies said to typify their behaviour. Few studies, however, have explored in detail the impact of drug use on the transitions of 'socially excluded' youth. This paper reports research undertaken between 1999 and 2001 in a severely 'excluded' locale in Northeast England, which had this as an aim. Qualitative interviews with 88 young people, and with professional 'stake-holders' who worked with them, are used to interrogate some current debates within the drugs research literature. Firstly, a three-fold typology of the drug-using behaviour of the sample is used to critique simplistic notions of 'normalisation'. Complete drug abstinence (coupled with wholly anti-drug views) co-existed alongside apparently widespread 'recreational' and 'problematic' drug use. At best, our evidence would support a theory of differentiated normalisation. Secondly, a broad concept of transition, that explores youth experiences holistically and that situates the shifting 'choices' of individual young people in the context of the legitimate and illegal opportunity structures that prevail locally is used to investigate the emergence of careers of 'problematic' drug use. Our evidence supports the conclusions of Parker and colleagues [New Heroin Outbreaks Amongst Young People in England and Wales (1998a)] that normative, cultural barriers between 'recreational' and 'problematic' drug use may be being eroded and that increasing proportions of 'socially excluded' youth are 'crossing the Rubicon' in drug careers that extend to heroin use. The paper concludes by emphasising the value of research that seeks to situate the biographical analysis of drug careers in context (particularly of the opportunities provided by local economies and changing drug markets) and of drugs strategies that seek to tackle the social and economic conditions that give 'poverty drugs' their appeal.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherElsevier BVen
dc.rightsAuthor can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing). For full details see http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/ [Accessed 21/04/2010]en
dc.subjectdrug careeren
dc.subjectdrug marketen
dc.subjectnormalisationen
dc.subjectproblematic drug useen
dc.subjectsocial exclusionen
dc.titleCrossing the Rubicon: Youth transitions, poverty, drugs and social exclusionen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentUniversity of Teesside. School of Social Sciences and Law.en
dc.contributor.departmentSocial Futures Institute. Youth Research Unit.en
dc.identifier.journalInternational Journal of Drug Policyen
ref.citationcount29 [Scopus, 21/04/2010]en
or.citation.harvardMacDonald, R. and Marsh, J. (2002) 'Crossing the Rubicon: Youth transitions, poverty, drugs and social exclusion', International Journal of Drug Policy, 13 (1), pp.27-38.en
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