The study, ‘High Speed: Amphetamine Use in the Context of Conventional Culture’, turns the perception that students, authors, and partygoers are the primary amphetamine user on its head.
According to lead author Willy Pedersen, a professor of Sociology at the University and one of Norway’s leading proponents of cannabis legalisation, amphetamines are primarily a working-class drug the use of which is rooted in conventional working-class values.
“Rather than being embedded in resistant values, as is cannabis and LSD use…amphetamine use can be viewed as emanating from the more conventional values of playing hard, working hard and treating illness,” he concluded.
All of the working class men interviewed for the study had described beginning their amphetamine use in the workplace, he pointed out.
“They had started using amphetamines while working, gradually developed a destructive habit, and then turned to dealing,” the report claims.
“Many had done contract work and claimed amphetamines had aided in completing their work on time. They typically held working-class jobs that required prolonged strenuous and tedious work.”
Part of the attraction of the drug, the study continued, is that it is easy to combine with conventional life, and relatively invisible.
“I used amphetamines for one and a half year without my wife noticing,” one subject in the sample said. “I took my dosage in the morning and one during the day, ate, and slept at night, and things worked out. It was just work, work, work.”
The few women users interviewed attributed their use of the drug to a wish to work more efficiently.
“It was like I took a little in the morning. It increased my ability,” a mother of a four-year-old said of her use. “Then I could take another tiny amount at lunch. Then I smoked a little bit in the evening, when he had gone to bed.”
She emphasised that she performed housework and childcare better when using amphetamines.
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Working harder was one of three main reasons people used amphetamines, the other two being to prolong binge drinking and to self-medicate ADHD or other illnesses.
The authors interviewed 55 amphetamine users drawn from an initial sample of 180.
The 180 users were drawn from three separate groups of drug users, a sample of 90 cannabis users from across Norway, a group of 30 binge drinkers from around Oslo, and a study of a group of drug users in Norwegian prisons.