Modulation of Drug Use in Southern Farming Communities: Social Origins of Poly-Use

By Bletzer, Keith V. | Human Organization, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

Modulation of Drug Use in Southern Farming Communities: Social Origins of Poly-Use


Bletzer, Keith V., Human Organization


Popular images of users who are overly fond of a "drug of choice" are belied by the experience of those who seek or become aware of varied effects from multiple forms of use. Based on fieldwork and ethnographic interviews, this article discusses poly-use by men and women who sequentially use new lifetime drugs; temporarily replace drugs over seasonal agricultural cycles that inhibit a schedule of regular use; pace use by days of the week; and/or mix drugs prior to and/or during a drug session. User narratives from farming communities of the southern United States highlight a poly-use discourse that accentuates knowledge of bodily effects that move beyond that of a mono-drug high. This individualization of self-experience is compelled by seasonal cycles of irregular and uncertain employment, residential dislocation, and strenuous physical labor, which often result in voluntary discontinuation, adjusted practices, and new routes of administration. For some, periodic incarceration results in forced cessation. This range of variability in patterns of using drugs and consuming alcohol reflects constrained and contained responses to demands on physical capacity. These responses reflect creative poly-use that iteratively builds toward a lifetime repertoire that buffers the hardships of demanding labor routines.

Key words: drug and alcohol use, social origins of poly-use, agricultural labor, southern United States

Introduction

I start with Valium. ..then I drink some alcohol, followed by a little acid, and I wait an hour before smoking a joint.... That's the best combination.

E.G.

The popular image of the addict, as overly fond of a single drug of choice, is challenged by the experience of those who use multiple drugs. Over time, these poly-users construct a repertoire of use by learning which drugs and/or administration routes best serve them. What they learn from the choices they make in relation both to their personal use and their interactions with a range of individuals is the focus of this article. How users view reasons for poly-use centers on what they expect from what they use (Boys et al. 1999a) and what works to fulfill that expectation on given occasions (Boys et al. 1999b; Lende et al. 2007). This view differs from much of the available urban-generated drug research, where control by habitués is considered lacking (e.g., Rosenbaum 1981; Washton and Gold 1987), and the use of heroin and cocaine, as hard drug prototypes, is viewed as recreational (e.g., Pearson 1987) or an imbued lifestyle (e.g., Stephens 1991). Within this theoretical framework, use of drugs and alcohol in adolescence is viewed as a deterrent to school performance (e.g., Bachman et al. 2003), obstacle to stable employment (Booth and Feng 2002) at a good job (e.g., Kandel, Chen, and Gill 1995; Ringel, Ellickson, and Collins 2007), and consequence and predictor of employment difficulty (e.g., Gailaif, Newcomb, and Carmona 2001; Slaymaker and Owen 2006).

Taking a strong view of drugs/alcohol as irascibly holding users to escalating and continuing trajectories of consumption, this body of literature is focused on drug use fixed in urban space. It is assumed the only path out from this use is intervention. What is most criticized about this position is supposition of non-existent agency or lack of control by individual users. After the ground-breaking study of controlled use by Zinberg (1984) that found restraint (binge avoidance) and moderation in drug use across various using populations, and later research of less known groups such as middle-class women who carefully control personal cocaine use (Sterk-Elifson 1996) or heroin users whose shifting roles inhibit maturing out (Boeri 2004), the emerging views of drug use emphasize flexibility and variation as commonplace occurrences. Correctives to the strong view of inevitable consequences have proposed that most drug use is intermittent and rarely reaches a compulsory level. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Modulation of Drug Use in Southern Farming Communities: Social Origins of Poly-Use
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.