Raving mad : an investigation of the normalisation of recreational drug use in Ireland

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Martyn, Mary Diane
Issue Date
MA in Addiction Studies
Dublin Business School
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The increase in drug using behaviour has attracted much attention in recent years, thus making the area of drug use a matter of significant reflection. The objective of this research paper is to investigate the normalization thesis in relation to recreational drug use in Ireland. The following study shall attempt to illustrate whether or not the normalization thesis holds true, while looking at five key areas such as access and availability to drug, recent and regular drug use, drug trying rates, social accommodation of recreational drug use and finally cultural accommodation. While adopting a qualitative approach, the following research paper identified common themes present in the data which was collected through in-depth interviews. The data suggested that the availability of recreational drugs remains high while cannabis proves to be the most accessible drug. There is a diversity of drugs being used among the sample, with cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy at the top. A majority of participants reported daily cannabis use, while other drug use such as ecstasy and cocaine are confined to weekend usage only. A large number of participants deem cannabis use to be normal and a significant amount of evidence suggests that recreational drug use is being culturally accommodated. The conclusion to be drawn from the data is that shared understandings and behaviours regarding recreational drug use are becoming ever more accommodated into the everyday lives of adolescents and young adults.