Case Study on Illegal Drug Consumption


Critical essay providing an analysis of a case study on drugs Boyd, S. 2011. ‘Pleasure and pain: Representations of illegal drug consumption, addiction and trafficking in music, film and video’ in Fraser and Moore (eds), 2011. The Drug Effect: Health, Crime and Society. Melbourne: Cambridge U Press. 



Use of drugs is becoming a widely used practice across the cultures, despite all the health damages caused by it. However, the motivating factors for drug consumption often changes with the culture. There are a number of factors which are associated with consumption and production of drugs (Fraser & Moore, 2011; Maher & Dixon,1999). The social factors associated with drug production also changes with the culture. The current essay deals with analysis on the exchange process of heroine in social marketplace. In the contemporary society, all exchanges have some social meaning. Similarly, the exchange of drugs also got some social context in the modern society. The current essay also includes discussion on the social contexts associated with exchange of drug and the related theories in the modern society.

Issues identified in the case:

In the case, the researcher visited the local illicit drug market on regular basis for obtaining detailed information on the behavior of drug dealers and the customers. Initially, she started sharing cigarettes with the individuals present in the market. Findings of the fieldwork of the researcher are indicating the below issue associated with drug market:
Drug exchange is based on development of rapport between the associated parties: In the illicit drug marketplace, the exchange is done on basis of the development of rapport (AS, 2016). The exchange process takes place in several consecutive steps including gaining entry to the market, making contact with the associated parties make a presence, development of rapport and negotiation of the identity. In the drug market , development of a trusted relationship between the dealers and the customers is prioritized a lot. However, the process of drug exchange can be categorized in three types -- the employment , the helping out process and the gift exchange (Fraser & Moore, 2011). In case of the employment, the drug or the heroine is exchanged against money. In case of the helping out process, the dealers help each other for establishing the secure exchange process. The helping out process is often viewed as charity. In addition, it is also done in order to repay the past helping out. The third form of drug exchange is exchanging the products through gifts. Exchange of gifts helps the drug dealers and the customers to create the a social relation among themselves. 

Place Order For A Top Grade Assignment Now

We have some amazing discount offers running for the students

Place Your Order

Relation to theories:

The drug exchange process in the marketplace can described with the social exchange theory (Edlund et al.2015). The social exchange theory states that the social behavior of human beings is often influenced by the interactions with others. The social exchange depends on the cost and benefits. In other words, the social exchange process depends on the cost and reward compensation. It indicates that the decision of social exchange is taken on basis of cost, in terms of time, effort and money requirement, which is viewed as negative consequence of the decision. On the contrary, the rewards or benefits which are viewed as positive consequence of the decision. 
 In case of drug exchange process in the marketplace, the cost and rewards are assessed (Volkow, 2014). In case of employment, exchange of drugs results in monetary benefit for the dealer whereas the customers obtains the product in a hassle free way. In case of the helping out process, both the parties involved are benefitted by the security of their activities. In case of gift exchange process, the involved parties are awarded by the improved level of rapport among each other.
The social processes associated with the production and consumption of drugs are, gaining entry to the marketplace, creating contact between the involved parties , development of rapport, negotiating the identity and the social exchange. In the illicit drug market, gaining entry may be difficult as the market is operated on basis of the trusted relationship with dealers. Similarly making contact and developing rapport are two another complex process. In this case also, development of the trusted relation plays a main role to contact the drug dealers and purchasing products from them (Eiseman, 2017). Exchange of gifts is another example of complex social process associated with drugs as it helps the associated parties to develop a strong social bond with each other. It, in turn helps the parties in drug market to carry out their activities in a more secured way.


Analysis on the current case indicates that the drug exchange in marketplace is associated with a number of complex social activities. The entire exchange process depends on the concept of social exchange and the idea of cost and benefit associated with it. However, development of relationship between the parties is also given importance in the drug market.


AS, M. K. (2016). A Study to assess the impact of health education programme on knowledge of students towards drug abuse among college students in selected college at Indore (MP). International Education and Research Journal, 2(10).
Edlund, M. J., Forman-Hoffman, V. L., Winder, C. R., Heller, D. C., Kroutil, L. A., Lipari, R. N., & Colpe, L. J. (2015). Opioid abuse and depression in adolescents: results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 152, 131-138.
Eiseman, S. (2017). Drug abuse: Foundation for a psychosocial approach. J. A. Wingard, & G. J. Huba (Eds.). Routledge.
Fraser, S., & Moore, D. (Eds.). (2011). The drug effect: Health, crime and society. Cambridge University Press.
Maher, L., & Dixon, D. (1999). Policing and public health: Law enforcement and harm minimization in a street-level drug market. British journal of criminology, 39(4), 488-512.
Volkow, N. D. (2014). America’s addiction to opioids: heroin and prescription drug abuse. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, 14.

Get Quality Assignment Without Paying Upfront

Hire World's #1 Assignment Help Company

Place Your Order