© 2016

Youth and Substance Abuse


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Kathryn Daley
    Pages 1-44
  3. Kathryn Daley
    Pages 45-62
  4. Kathryn Daley
    Pages 63-88
  5. Kathryn Daley
    Pages 89-113
  6. Kathryn Daley
    Pages 169-196
  7. Kathryn Daley
    Pages 197-207
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 209-212

About this book


This book provides a sociological examination of young people’s pathways into, and out of, substance abuseDrawing from in-depth, life-history interviews with over sixty young people who have experienced problematic drug use, the author uses participants’ narratives to throw light on the relationship between trauma and issues such as homelessness, crime and self-injury.

Contesting the view that substance abuse is either a medical issue or individual failing, the book examines the wide variety of factors which lead to youth substance abuse such as extreme poverty and other structural factors. Whilst it does not overlook individual agency, the rich descriptions from young people's oral histories shows us that they were making choices, but the contexts in which they were exercising agency was considerably constrained by significant structural forces. The sociological concept of 'situated choice', which is used to explain and understand how people make choices within their individual context, is used throughout the book as we witness young people wrestling to escape intergenerational disadvantage. 

The book will be of interest to scholars and students of  Social Work, Social Policy, Youth Studies, Sociology and Health Studies. 


childhood drugs alcohol young people youth culture community family childhood trauma self-injury masculinity disadvantage gender and drug use

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

About the authors

Kathryn Daley is Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, Australia. She teaches courses in social research. Previously she worked as a youth alcohol and other drug outreach worker. 

Bibliographic information