The drug subculture which developed as part of the rise in narcotic drug use in the
1960s has received much attention. Academic sociologists and the media found this, as
an area of deviant behaviour, a subject of considerable intellectual interest and also of
popular fascination. Drug taking as an alternative way of life, where, as Jock Young
puts it, „drug use is given a different meaning from that existing previously“, has
become part of the sociology of deviance. Issues such as the formation and role of the
altemative subculture, the social reaction against deviant drug use, and the particular
importance of the changing social class of drug takers as providing justification for a
moral response, have attracted attention. The transformation of the typical drug user
in the 1960s from a middle-class middle-aged female into a young working-class male
had, it is argued, much to do with the social reaction evoked, and the type of legal and
social controls put into effect.‘ In the 1980s, the link with unemployment has again
been stressed; and the reappearance of cocaine as a „smart“ drug has also provided
another source of sensationalism for the popular press. However, the widespread
assertion that drug taking has now become more „normal“ would seem to downgrade
the ’60s emphasis on drug use as a subcultural activity.2 Certainly, the „junkie“
stereotype is less prominent in media coverage.

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