The perspectives of drug users within the social context of drug prohibition

Iain McPhee, Timothy Duffy, Colin Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored the perspectives of low‐level drug market users on the availability, purchase and consumption of illicit drugs within the social context of drug prohibition. A snowballing technique was used to recruit 16 participants consisting of nine males and seven females aged between 17 and 43. A semi‐structured interview process elicited their views on their use of drugs, where they obtained them, their views on the impact of the criminal justice system on their drug use and finally their views on how drug users were perceived by non‐drug users. While some negative consequences of using drugs were reported, no participant considered that their use of drugs made them an addict, a criminal or antisocial. The findings from this study suggest that current punitive drug policy, which links drug use with addiction, crime and antisocial behaviour was inconsistent with the experience of the participants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-23
Number of pages5
JournalDrugs and Alcohol Today
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • drug policy
  • addiction
  • prohibition
  • qualitative methodology


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