Youth Culture


It has been suggested that drug use has become normalised amongst young people over recent years?

Acknowledgment towards, drugs nowadays is becoming more openly talked about and societies liberal approach into why young people take drugs and why young people create cultures are becoming mildly accepted.

Many people will argue that drugs have always been a part of everyday life, and have been involved in many youth cultures, for example young people in the sixties which were involved in the hippie culture along with other cultures that arose in the sixties acknowledged drugs as a way of life and as a way of relaxing and to let their ‘free sprit’ take control, They achieved this with the help of cannabis, LSD and magic mushrooms. Alternatively young people in the sixties whom never evolved in to hippies were inadequately educated about drugs as it was seen as a ‘taboo’ subject.

Most parents in the sixties view drugs as unacceptable, the information they received years ago was not as accurate as today’s research and publications, and this assisted ignorant towards drug use and the motives behind why young people acquired the interest into such substances.

Cultures that are becoming a more rapid scene of today’s youth include the dance, rave and club cultures. Drugs also play a major role in these cultures as they did in the sixties and the attitudes towards drug taking whilst ‘out on the town’ is seen to becoming the ‘norm’ and an acceptable part of the culture for a majority of young people that are involved.

A quantity of today’s parents are also realising that the drug problem amongst young people is becoming moderately seen as the ‘norm’.

The media plays a major role in the educating of parents and taking away some of their ignorance, on the other hand the media in one sense merely define the negative stereotypical aspect of drug takers and the deaths in which ‘dance drugs ‘ i.e. ecstasy play a role in. It’s very rarely seen that the media portray drinking alcohol as being a death threatening ‘leisure activity’. However static’s show that 40,000 people die form alcohol related deaths while a mere 1,500 people die as a consequence of all illegal drugs put together. (Lifeline Publication 1999 – The Big Blue book of Drugs)

The media also publicizes people who are in the public eye, for example actresses / actors, singers, sports people and models, and reveals their drug habits or addictions. This could be morally wrong as young people may portray this ‘lifestyle choice’ as a glamorous one because it is seen that their idles participate in such activities, which could contradict what their parents have discussed with them at an earlier age.

It isn’t just the media that portrays drugs in the ‘lime light’, music also supports drugs in a very complex way for example Cypress Hill released a song in 1999 called “I wanna get high” the lyrics included:

“I want to get high - so high!
I want to get high - so high!
Yes I smoke shit, straight off the roach clip
I roach it roll the blunt at once to approach it
Forward motion make you sway like the ocean
The herb is more than just a powerful potion”

Young people buying this track may possibly be influenced by such lyrics.

As today’s youth is evolving into many different and never before seen cultures defining a culture can to be hard to distinguish, also recognize one erupting can be difficult too. Looking at sources on youth cultures i.e. Resistance through Rituals, following features essentially help to define a culture, style; language, music, class, rebellion, gender, art, degree of openness to outsiders and urban/rural living. Young people creating subcultures are mainly setting out to shock. For example the hippies and their attitudes towards ‘Free Love’, shocked not only parents but society as a whole .One way in which young people, that are involved in a culture try and shock their parents, society or even their peers is through the clothes they wear .By making themselves stand out in a crowd make them enthusiastic to rebell against the dominant cultures.

It’s hard in today’s society to define whether or not drug use has become more normalised amongst young people. Many