Reason(s) for writing and research problem(s): The paper addresses poorly investigated issue of recreational drug use among university students in Sarajevo.
Aims of the paper (scientific and/or social): The general objective of this paper is to report the characteristics and main consumption patterns of recreational drug use among students of the University of Sarajevo. This way the “normalization thesis” (move from being deviant to being normal) of drug consumption could be put on test.
Methodology/Design: Self report questionnaires were used to collect data from the student population. Two-stage cluster sample was utilized, gathering data from 410 participants from all of the faculties that are members of the University of Sarajevo. For the analysis of the collected data descriptive and inferential statistics were used.
Research/paper limitations: The study is cross-sectional, meaning it only depicts state of play in recreational drug use among student population at one point in time. Asking sensitive questions in surveys usually bears concerns about accuracy of results. It usually implies respondents` concerns about the possible consequences of giving a truthful answer as well as tendency to give socially desirable answers, which may cause underreporting of undesirable behavior such as illicit drug consumption.
Results/Findings: The recreational drug use was found to be present among a student population of the University of Sarajevo to a small degree, where close to six percent of students reported using drugs in frequencies which qualifies as occasional consumption. The study also revealed that drug users of illicit drugs are inclined to consume cigarettes and alcohol drinks, and that they usually combine alcohol drinks and marijuana. Most of the five criteria of normalization framework of drug use could not be met.
General conclusion: Drug use could not be seen as normalized among university students. Only one normalization criterion (access to drugs) was to a degree met, while the remaining four (drug trying and recent use rates, social and cultural accommodation) were not. More research is needed to identify drug consumption trends.
Research/paper validity: Strategies were used to reduce misreporting where anonymity assurance as well as administration of the questionnaires by a student researcher whom respondents may find more sympathetic than university stuff. Internal consistency of findings measured by interlocked items showed high level of data validity. Relying on previous research instruments and a set of actions taken to ensure validity and reliability of data suggest findings are sound.
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