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Reasoning and Restricted Choices Within Recreational Repertoires

NCJ Number
International Journal of Drug Policy Volume: 12 Issue: 5/6 Dated: December 1, 2001 Pages: 425-428
Neil Hunt
Date Published
December 2001
4 pages
This paper discusses some implications of Williams and Parker's longitudinal study (see NCJ-195862) of drug-use patterns in a cohort of English youth from adolescence into young adulthood.
As Williams and Parker demonstrate, the current generation of British young adults have experienced a range of substances, either personally or through their friendship networks, to an unprecedented degree. These are the next generation of parents and policymakers, over half of whom will have used one or more illicit drugs, mostly as an experience that is benign, pleasurable, sometimes over-hyped or unremarkable, and rarely problematic. These young adults will be less ready to give their children simple invocations to abstain from all drugs, and they will be able to draw on personal knowledge and experience of drug use within a discourse in which they are concerned to reduce drug-related harm among their own children. They will consequently present their children a more ambivalent message about the morality of drug use and bring up their children in a more permissive environment. This forthcoming generation of parents will also be less tolerant of legislation that has criminalized them or their friends and threatens to criminalize their children for what they perceive as relatively harmless youthful indiscretions. This suggests that drug law reform is increasingly likely in the years ahead. The nature of such reform and its consequences for the health of citizens remains to be seen. 6 references


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