The Culture of Recreational Psychedelic Drug Use in College-Age Adults: A Narrative Analysis
Bliss, Brita Elizabeth
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Research on psychedelic drug use is reemerging after it stopped abruptly when the drugs were made illegal in the 1960s and 1970s. Many recent researchers have focused explicitly on the drug use of college-age adults and implicitly on the illegality of the drugs by emphasizing the importance of harm prevention. The purpose of the present study is to give recreational psychedelic drug users a chance to describe their experiences in their own words. Interviews were conducted with 13 college-age adults (M = 20.3 years) in order to analyze the nature of present day recreational drug use and how the drug users integrate their drug experiences into their life-narratives and identities. By interpreting a cultural model of recreational drug use and the personal myths of the participants, the results of the present study demonstrate that recreational drug users have effectively normalized their drug use by establishing criteria for "good" and "bad" drugs, emphasizing the responsible nature of their drug use, and reiterating the enjoyable experiences and enhanced social bonds elicited by their drug use.