DRUGS IN ADOLESCENT WORLDS: Burnouts to Straights by Barry & Julia Loughlin Glassner


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From a couple of Syracuse University sociologists, a dull but worthy study of kids and drugs. Glassner and Loughlin's study took place in a northeastern American town of 500,000 which they chose to call Yule City, speaking to 100 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20, most of them white, from all social classes. Their primary concern was the adolescent perception of drug use: ""Q: Why do they, people your age, do drugs? Vince: To get high. That's all I can think of."" But they also discovered that drug users had a wider variety of friends, and were more sophisticated, than non-users--and that most drug users saw what they were doing as a stage in their development into adults, not as a permanent part of their lives. As ""Joan"" puts it: ""Like most adults I know, they don't think it's too, you know, parents and shit like that, they don't think it's too cool to get high and shit. . . Probably, they got a family, they have to settle down and shit."" The authors go on to discuss a wide variety of teen-age experience, from how adolescents use drugs (different highs for different occasions) to the way drugs are distributed (in part by a highly efficient barter system). And there is a hopeful finish--most adolescent drug users will simply grow out of it. A jargon-y, near-laden prose style makes this tough going, but it's a valuable study for all that.

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 1987
Publisher: St. Martin's