30 Apr 2022


Retrospective Interpretation, Drug Use, and Culture

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Retrospective interpretation of drug user is primarily determined and shaped by the subculture of the drug user. This declaration, from a more detailed and exhaustive point of view, can be interpreted as follows. The statement has two key sections, each of the two units hold a significant contribution to its ultimate meaning. The first unit that is “Retrospective interpretation of drug user…” basically, explains that there is a particular way of understanding a drug user, that is fundamentally based on the drug user past actions based on lifestyle, culture, decisions and responses. The other module “…Is primarily determined and shaped by the subculture of the drug user.” In connection to the first unit, it refers to the understanding of a drug user based on his or her past, is not only determined but also shaped by the groups (can be based on academics, religion, ethnic) within different cultures, that the person belonged to in the past. These groups (subcultures) are not far different from the mother groups (culture), they are differentiated by different core value that defines them. This declaration is true. Therefore, this essay will conclusively elaborate the validity of this statement based on valid facts and findings.

To begin with, peer pressure or peer influence is one of the foremost auxiliary elements that support the statement. As one of the main factors that mainly lead to abusive drug use, this represents illegal drug usage. Peers are defined as a particular set people of the same age group, that can be brought together either socially (they can be neighbors, friends, workmates or they attend the same church) or most commonly in academic institutions. This is the main composition that brings about subgroups. These subgroups with time evolve and in the end turn, into subcultures, within different cultural settings that exist. This kind of diversity in the kind of subcultures that exist trickles down to the practices that the subgroup practice. More specifically, the manner in which the individuals of these groups practice use drugs may be completely difference. This, therefore, guarantees a difference in the past experience of each drug user from a different subculture.

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Also, in support of the statement, some subcultures have a significant influence on the food the members eat. Food plays a fundamental role in the development of a human body. Some groups practice a restricted diet, these restrictions, in the long run, limit the type and quantity of nutrients the body has access to (Klok, 2007) . Drugs, on the other hand, react differently when they are administered to the body with a different set of conditions. Therefore, when subcultures control has an influence on the type food that their members take, then thy have a major contribution to how a drug is likely to affect a drug user. More especially, when a subculture has a strict practice of the food that the members are expected to take. Most of the subcultural practices are dictated by cultural backgrounds.

Additionally, an extension of a culture that further confirms the true nature of the statement is the diverse nature of the individual subcultures; these differences are what distinguish them from the others within a culture. These key differences are mainly defined by, their codes of practice and structure of their activities (Golub, 2005) . With relation to a drug user, the subcultures that they form are differentiated mainly by their code of practices; this may be purely based on the cultural differences, beliefs on how the drugs relate to their different ways and their level of practice. Most subcultures that originate on urban settings have their beliefs based on scientific findings; they use drugs for very specific reasons. More like a doctor’s prescription, but in most illegal cases not prescribed by any certified doctor. The members of such groups are usually knowledgeable and have attained some level of education. Hence, they are consciously aware of why they may need the drugs. In this kind of setting the drug user will have a different drug use history compared to a user in a rural setting, with little to no information on the substance he or she using.

Another element of cultural background that supports the statement is locality setting, the rural setting with staunch traditional beliefs and limited education has a different history. Most of the drug user in this kind of setting practice substance use in complete oblivion (Treloar, 2006) . They may not be educated enough to understand the nature of the substance they are taking. As for them, it may be an item of pleasure or a key to strength and courage as of the use of Cannabis sativa (Marijuana), a control substance. The users in this kind of environment will have a unique drug use history. As a possible example, because of the lack of enough information on the substance they are abusing, it is possible that they may not have enough of it. This will prompt the use of an excess of the substance depending on their availability in terms of legality and distribution. Hence, shaping the drug user’ drug use history to a different direction. This further confirms the influence of subcultural setting on drug user’ exposures that ultimately define their substance use history.

Another facet that may reaffirm the validity of subculture influencing the historical outcome of the drug user is in the aspect of the cultural setting. Most cultures have well defined and published moral values. These values should not only be respected but also observed by all the members bounded in the culture, including the subcultures within (Golub, 2005) . The moral values of most cultures in a way are influenced by the people’s religious affiliations. As a result, the use of controlled substances is limited. This rule is described differently, in the different religions but the general idea that is conclusive, that is, the use drugs (substances that may influence the normal functioning of the human in any way) is limited. These somehow influence the level in which the subcultures developed, more importantly, how they acquire the drugs and how and when they administer the substances without getting noticed. Ultimately, the moral standards regulate the level of use of influential substances.

On a different aspect, cultural difference presents a circumstantial perspective to the validity of the statement; this is basically the element of social difference. The social difference in the form of the lifestyle. Human lifestyle is dictated by the level of income one receives and the level of economy of the regions (country) a person resides in. As a person’s income changes not only does his or her lifestyle changes, the kind of people they hung around with also changes (Miles, 2000) . This means that based on social class people change their subcultures as their lifestyle changes. With respect to drug use, with a limited income, a person will be restricted on the amount of substance he or she can access, both legal substances and illegal substances. But as the income increases, they access to drugs becomes less restricted, with every increment. Hence, in this case, an evaluation of one particular subculture cannot give a conclusive interpretation of a drug user.

Based on the above findings, subcultures evidently play a crucial part in the evaluation of a drug users developments. This has resulted to the direct influence the subcultures elements install on an individual. These elements are social orientation, cultural background, and the peer, that is basically the members of the subclass. It is, therefore, conclusive to say that a retrospective interpretation of a drug user is primarily determined by the subculture of the drug user.


Golub, A. J. (2005). Subcultural evolution and illicit drug use. Addiction Research & Theory, 13(3) , 217-229.

Klok, M. D. (2007). The role of leptin and ghrelin in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans: a review. Obesity reviews, 8(1) , 21-34.

Miles, S. (2000). Youth lifestyles in a changing world. (UK): McGraw-Hill Education.

Treloar, C. &. (2006). Deficit models and divergent philosophies: Service providers’ perspectives on barriers and incentives to drug treatment. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy, 13(4) , 367-382.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Retrospective Interpretation, Drug Use, and Culture.


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