Normalizing the Deviant?: Arrestees and the Normalization of Drug Use

Published 17/03/2004
Type Article
Author(s) David Patton
Corresponding Authors David Patton, Sheffield Hallam University

Traditionally in the UK scant research attention has been paid to the arrestee population. The introduction of the NEW-ADAM programme has done much to change this. To date, arrestees have not featured in research that is relevant to the normalization of drug use and it is argued that they should be. This article will posit six reasons which when combined will demonstrate arrestees’ suitability to the normalization thesis. First, when one explores the contemporary drug scene and observes that drug use is at the centre of youth culture, many of the distinctions that were once held to define arrestees as highly deviant due to their drug use can no longer be maintained; second, a diverse range of groups are using drugs as part of their everyday lifestyle and the addition of arrestees merely adds to the existing diversity; third, arrestees are the first to try new drugs and form new modes of drug consumption patterns which are later mirrored by other drug using groups; fourth, the features of normalization are present in the levels and patterns of arrestees drug consumption; fifth, leisure plays a key role in arrestees drug and other criminal behaviour; and finally, arrestees have a greater willingness to report use of those drug types that are considered to be normalized.