Illegal Leisure Revisited: Changing Patterns of Alcohol and Drug Use in Adolescents and Young Adults, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Illegal Leisure Revisited

Changing Patterns of Alcohol and Drug Use in Adolescents and Young Adults, 1st Edition

By Judith Aldridge, Fiona Measham, Lisa Williams


264 pages | 13 B/W Illus.

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This book updates the progress into adulthood of the cohort of fourteen-year-olds who were recruited and tracked until they were eighteen years old. Illegal Leisure (1998) described their adolescent journeys and lifestyles, focusing on their early regular drinking and extensive ‘recreational’ drug use.

This new edition revisits these original chapters, providing commentaries around them to discuss current implications of the original publication, plus documenting and discussing the group at twenty-two and twenty-seven years of age. Illegal Leisure Revisited positions the journeys of these twenty-somethings against the ever-changing backdrop of a consumption-oriented leisure society, the rapid expansion of the British night-time economy and the place of substance use in contemporary social worlds. It presents to the reader the ways in which these young people have moved into the world of work, long-term relationships and parenthood, and the resulting changes in the function and frequency of their drinking and drug-use patterns. Amid dire public health warnings about their favourite intoxicants, and with the growing criminalisation of a widening array of recreational drugs, the book revisits these young people as they continue as archetypal citizens in a risk society.

The book is ideal reading for researchers and undergraduate students from a variety of fields, such as developmental and social psychology, sociology, criminology, cultural and health studies. Professionals working in criminal justice, health promotion, drugs education, harm reduction and treatment will also find this book an invaluable resource.


"A fascinating longitudinal qualitative insight with great analysis and research narrative into illicit stimulant drug-taking by young people. … The quotes from the cohort give a power to the book, the human side drawing you in and giving the real-life scenario. …This is a book for anyone who is interested in transition to adulthood research, drug culture and addiction, alcohol and public health research, social sciences, social work, human geography and qualitative research." - Charlie Hackett, Robert Gordon University, UK, in Power and Education

"This book presents an engaging examination of trends in substance use among youth, providing an important update to the first edition. The authors highlight a number of important and surprising changes in drug perceptions and the relevance of these perceptions for key developmental milestones in adolescence and young adulthood." - Kelly Arbeau,Lecturer in Psychology, The King's University College, Canada

"The first edition of Illegal Leisure rightly achieved wide-acclaim, and much critical discussion, for its close mapping and theorisation of the ‘normalisation’ of illicit drug use in Britain during the 1990s. This second edition continues the story. Illegal Leisure Re-visited will be much welcomed by students, researchers and lecturers interested in the most important questions about drug use in contemporary Britain." - Robert MacDonald, Professor of Sociology, Teesside University, UK

Table of Contents

1. History Lessons: Drug Use Trends Amongst Young Britons 1980 - 2010 2. The North-West Longitudinal Study 3. Alcohol 'Our Favourite Drug' 4. Patterns: An Overview of Drug Offers, Trying, Use and Drugs Experiences Across Adolescence 5. Pathways: Drug Abstainers, Former Triers, Current Users and Those in Transition 6. Journeys: Becoming Users of Drugs 7. Towards the Normalisation of Recreational Drug Use

About the Authors

Judith Aldridge is Senior Lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Manchester. Her research spans aspects of drug use and drug dealing, including drug dealing within street gangs, and the sales of both illegal and legal psychostimulants.

Fiona Measham is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Lancaster University. Her research focuses on emergent drug trends, club drugs and music scenes, licensed leisure and the night time economy, and UK policy developments. She is a member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs.

Lisa Williams is a Lecturer in Criminology at the Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Manchester. For over a decade, she has researched both recreational and dependent drug use with a focus upon drug use across the life course.

About the Series

Adolescence and Society

In the 20 years since it began, this series has published some of the key texts in the field of adolescent studies. The series has covered a very wide range of subjects, almost all of them being of central concern to students, researchers and practitioners. A mark of its success is that a number of books have gone to second and third editions, illustrating its popularity and reputation.

The primary aim of the series is to make accessible to the widest possible readership important and topical evidence relating to adolescent development. Much of this material is published in relatively inaccessible professional journals, and the objective of the books has been to summarise, review and place in context current work in the field, so as to interest and engage both an undergraduate and a professional audience.

The intention of the authors is to raise the profile of adolescent studies among professionals and in institutions of higher education. By publishing relatively short, readable books on topics of current interest to do with youth and society, the series makes people more aware of the relevance of the subject of adolescence to a wide range of social concerns.

The books do not put forward any one theoretical viewpoint. The authors outline the most prominent theories in the field and include a balanced and critical assessment of each of these. Whilst some of the books may have a clinical or applied slant, the majority concentrate on normal development.

The readership rests primarily in two major areas: the undergraduate market, particularly in the fields of psychology, sociology and education; and the professional training market, with particular emphasis on social work, clinical and educational psychology, counselling, youth work, nursing and teacher training.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Adolescent