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Repertoires of distinction: exploring patterns of weekend polydrug use within local leisure lcenes across the English night time economy

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date11/2009
JournalCriminology and Criminal Justice
Number of pages28
Original languageEnglish


Presented here are the first findings of self report surveys of prevalence of illicit drug use by customers in the night time economy of a large English city. Five random sample surveys conducted with dance club customers and three similar surveys with bar customers identified an association between illicit drug use, entertainment type and venue type. Firstly, club customers were significantly more likely to report lifetime, past month and fieldwork night drug use than bar customers. Secondly, distinct and prolific polydrug repertoires were associated with the genres of electronic dance music favoured within different clubs, along with evidence of the growing popularity of emergent drugs such as MDMA powder. Such polydrug repertoires support the notion of culturally, spatially and pharmacologically distinct local leisure scenes operating within the contemporary night time economy; rather than the same broad mass of customers choosing different leisure experiences on different occasions, or the more fluid, ‘neo-tribal’ cultural groupings suggested by some. The paper concludes by suggesting that prolific and enduring weekend polydrug repertoires within local leisure scenes increasingly polarise such scenes from drug use in the general population, with implications for policing and governance, alongside the need for a more nuanced understanding of the night time economy as an analytical concept in social research.

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