No Thanks! A Mixed-Methods Exploration of the Social Processes Shaping Persistent Non-Initiation of Amphetamine-Type Stimulants

Liebregts, Nienke, McGovern, William, Spencer, Liam and O’Donnell, Amy (2022) No Thanks! A Mixed-Methods Exploration of the Social Processes Shaping Persistent Non-Initiation of Amphetamine-Type Stimulants. Contemporary Drug Problems. 009145092210843. ISSN 0091-4509 (In Press)

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Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS), such as amphetamines, MDMA, and methamphetamine are a commonly used class of illicit drugs in Europe. There is a large existing literature on motives for the use of illicit drugs, often focusing on initiation. However, few studies have explored the reasons why some people choose not to use drugs (non-use), and even fewer focus on the social processes influencing non-use of ATS specifically. We explored social processes related to normalization, and how persistent non-users negotiate their non-use in social contexts where ATS is used, using qualitative interview (n = 21) and survey questionnaire (n = 126) data from a mixed-method study conducted in the Netherlands and England. Our findings showed that in both countries, most participants were repeatedly exposed to ATS use, often in social or nightlife settings. Participants abstained from use for a number of reasons, including: lack of interest in illicit drug use in general; desire to maintain control over their own behavior and environment; and to avoid the associated health risks. Social processes also shaped persistent non-use of ATS, via conscious socialization with, and selection of, other non-using peers over time. Our findings contribute to the literature on the normalization thesis, showing that recreational ATS use is only partly socially accommodated and normalized among persistent non-users, suggesting differentiated normalization.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: ATTUNE was a collaborative project supported by the European Research Area Network on Illicit Drugs (ERANID). This paper is based on independent research commissioned and funded in the Netherlands by ZonMw (project number: 63200000103) and in England by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (project ref. PR-ST-0416-10001). Amy O’Donnell is funded by a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Advanced Fellowship (grant reference: NIHR300616). The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the national funding agencies or ERANID.
Uncontrolled Keywords: non-use, drug exposure, non-initiation, amphetamine-type stimulants, mixed-methods, social processes, normalization, social accommodation
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2022 12:37
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2022 12:45

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