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Maturing on a High: An Analysis of Trends, Prevalence and Patterns of Recreational Drug Use in Middle and Older Adulthood.

Williams, L and Askew, R (2016) Maturing on a High: An Analysis of Trends, Prevalence and Patterns of Recreational Drug Use in Middle and Older Adulthood. In: The SAGE Handbook of Drug & Alcohol Studies Social Science Approaches. SAGE. ISBN 147394418X

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Abstract

Lately, we have witnessed how recreational drug use is extending further into adulthood than has traditionally been the case. Some young adults appear to be taking their recreational drug use with them into middle and older adulthood and in other cases drug use is initiated in later life. Analysing survey data from America, Australia, and England and Wales this chapter summarizes the extent of and trends in adult recreational drug use. In doing so, it is argued that many adults are drug experienced and a substantial minority are continuing to take drugs as they grow older. The trend in recent drug use for many adults aged 30 and over is upward. The chapter considers some explanations for these findings drawing on the concept of a cohort replacement effect, critiquing the notion of maturing out from drug use and, in turn, appreciating the nature and functions of recreational drug use in adulthood. The authors argue that the experiences of adult recreational drug users are under-researched and suggest future research agendas and ways to access adult populations. The chapter concludes with a discussion of public health and human rights concerns.

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