Critically Discuss What Howard Parker Et Al (1998) Mean by the Normalisation of Recreational Drug Use. How Convinced Are You by This Explanation of the Contemporary Drug Situation?

3093 Words Apr 5th, 2011 13 Pages
Critically discuss what Howard Parker et al (1998) mean by the normalisation of recreational drug use. How convinced are you by this explanation of the contemporary drug situation?

This essay is going to look at Howard Parker et al’s (1998) theory of ‘normalisation’ and critically evaluate whether or not it still relevant in contemporary society. The essay will begin by explaining the theory in relation to how and where it developed from. The essay will move on to focus on specific aspects such as globalisation and how certain issues have affected the ‘normalisation’ of recreational drug use. The focus will then move onto describing the seven dimensions of ‘normalisation’ that Howard et al (1998) developed; drug availability, drug
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The first dimension looks at drug availability and accessibility, without which Parker et al (2002) claim ‘normalisation’, could not take place. Over the past decade the availability of a variety of drugs has increased. With more and more drugs becoming available on the streets, prices are falling lower than ever. However purity levels are remaining the same, causing drug use to increase. Nowadays most youngsters obtain their drugs through social networks and friends of friends, who know the local dealers supplying on a small-scale level (Parker et al, 2002). Although this would therefore mean a huge population of young Britons have breached the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, this type of dealing is extremely common and also very difficult for the police to detect, as it is concealed between small networks of users buying usually ‘recreational’ drugs for personal use (Parker et al. 2002). Such behaviours between these groups of friends have become so ‘normalised’ that they do not see what they are doing as breaking the law, most of the users will otherwise live a fairly law-abiding lifestyle where drugs have a purely recreational purpose (Parker et al, 2002).

The next dimension looks at drug trying and how rates have increased (especially during the 1990s) among adolescent Britons over the past few decades (Parker et al, 1998). Drug trying rates are younger than ever with young Britons being the most involved drug

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