The two groups made a distinction between the legal drugs such as cigarette and alcohol, and the illegal drugs such as cocaine, cannabis and heroin; they also drew a difference between the hard drugs including cocaine, heroin, crack and the soft drugs such as cannabis, alcohol and tobacco.
The alcohol is not viewed as a drug by the socio-economically privileged young people. According to the report 93 % of them take alcohol and 53 % are massively addicted to alcohol because according to them it is legal and they enjoy having alcohol with their family. They also consume alcohol in parties and admit that they do so to get drunk.
The socio-economically deprived young people think that alcohol is a taboo subject, something dangerous and prohibited so there are a few users of alcohol among these young people. Their social and religious backgrounds can explain why they have this perception about alcohol; their families also are not keen on using alcohol, hence most of them do not make use of it.
Drugs and the young
The socio-economically deprived young people talk about drugs unflatteringly and associate the drugs with delinquency, school failure, and physical decline. They have a negative view about the drugs and the dealers.
Contrarily, for the socio-economically privileged young people, the drugs are something worthwhile to try and constitute an important and enjoyable experience. They openly admit that they make use of them and they are aware of the different drugs and their effects.
They relate the drugs to a sense of fun and a new experience and they admit that they regularly make use of drugs such as cocaine and cannabis: 80% of them take cannabis, 30% take poppers and 8 % try cocaine mostly for fun. They tend to take drugs during social events and parties and from what they say, drug use is necessary to make the parties and the fun atmosphere last longer. However, they don’t make a high use of heroin, as for them heroin is considered as a physical degeneration.
Social Relations and the drugs
Socializing plays an important role in drug use. The socio-economically privileged young people admitted that they always go to private parties to take drugs; as a teenager said “it’s very easy to find ecstasy and cocaine at a party or among friends”.
So for the socio-economically privileged young people taking drug was mostly a collective and fun habit. Apparently the collective drug use allows them to keep control of the use.
People coming from the socio-economically deprived young people had limited connections and friends. This can explain the total limited drug use. They did not have the opportunity to share and exchange drugs and in the cases where drug use was observed, only individual, hidden and restricted use was found.
The money was an important factor too, especially in the purchase of alcohol and tobacco.
Furthermore, the two groups acknowledged the important role of the money in the consumption of drugs. In fact some of them confessed that they didn’t take drugs because they could not afford a regular drug use financially.
The socio-economically privileged young people manifested a willing to stop taking drugs during their higher education so that they are able to focus on their studies and invest in a successful future.
This report’s findings are very interesting- especially the contrast between the drug use among the wealthy teenagers of Parisian society and those coming from disadvantaged environments, who are much more easily targeted and stigmatized. In fact when students from disadvantaged environments get stopped and arrested the aim of the arrest is almost always punitive, while when the well-off are arrested the intention is usually prevention and education so that in the future they avoid taking drugs.