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Dancing with Molly: an ethnographic study of drug use, harm reduction, and dance club culture

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Title: Dancing with Molly: an ethnographic study of drug use, harm reduction, and dance club culture
Author: Cristiano, Nick
Department: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Program: Sociology
Advisor: Hathaway, Andy
Abstract: Informed by the normalization perspective of youth drug use, the present study considers how club drug use in Toronto can be managed through harm reduction. To do this, the study looks at the harms posed by club drug use and the ways in which the social and physical setting where such use occurs influences these harms. The research has two core objectives. The first is to explore how club drug users attempt to protect themselves from adverse health outcomes of their drug use. The second is to explore the factors of the nightclub environment that contribute to the potential for such risky outcomes. The participants in this study were found to employ a number of harm reduction strategies when using club drugs. On the other hand, the nightclub environment was found to mostly exacerbate the potential for club drug harm. Overall, the findings show that club drugs users regulate their own use based on harm reduction. It is proposed that the normative status of these drugs is positive for facilitating such harm reduction, as users were comfortable discussing their use with one another and offering advice on how to manage harm. As such, it is recommended that club drug use be dealt with as a public health issue as opposed to a criminal justice issue. More specifically, it is recommended that harm reduction initiatives target both the users of club drugs, as well as the establishments where such use regularly takes place.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/8201
Date: 2014-06


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