Better Living Through Chemistry: Deviant Subculture of Middle Class Recreational Drug Users

Alison Burke, University of Colorado at Denver
Christy Cox, University of Colorado at Denver
Sally Meehan, University of Colorado at Denver

This study evaluates the drug histories and current drug use of middle-class Americans in an urban western city. The research shows that gainfully employed middle-class professionals can and do function productively in society while living a covert existence in the deviant culture of drugs. The research presents qualitative data from personal interviews. Participants shared their experiences and perspectives related to drug-affiliated habits. In many respects, the expansion of individual rights and the absence of behavioral restrictions have simplified the act of drug taking with the private realm. Availability and a change of cultural trends also have contributed to the acceptance of some drugs among unlikely individuals and groups. This research challenges the stereotypical images of drug users through the views of middle-class individuals who admit to regular participation within this deviant subculture.

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Updated 05/20/2006