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Why? Paradox Reasons for ´motiveless´ drug use and drug dealing

Why? Explanations for drug use and drug dealing in social drug research

Together with heroin, crack cocaine has been the joint number one drug in the marginalised drug user´s scene in Frankfurt/Main (Germany) for almost two decades. Bernd Werse and Lukas Sarvary asked in a qualitative study: Why? Many respondents could not refer to particular motives for crack use. Instead, the drug was often described as dominating one´s mind and routine. A majority described staying in the core area of the drug scene (Bahnhofsviertel) as the strongest trigger for use. This perception underlines the significance of social factors for the user´s habits. Public and individual beliefs about the addictive potential of the drug have reinforced each other, leading to the ubiquitous ´motiveless´ use of the drug.


Some of the users share the narrative that crack might give them the energy that they need for all the tasks they have to complete to realise their desire for change: to get a flat, medical treatment, a place in a treatment programme, insurance, unemployment benefits or even a job. At the same time, crack use is linked to the (often illicit) procurement of money. Stealing, selling stolen goods, sex work or drug dealing are daily features of many scene members. While they had to do this work in order to fund their drug use, it, in turn consumes all their energy.


In summary, at least some of the users are taking a drug (even though they often dislike its effects) for the purpose of their day-to-day work that they do to afford this very drug, which they hope will provide them whith the energy to achieve the goals of life associated with getting away from the drug. This vicious and somewhat paradoxical circle is difficult to break.


Bernd Werse and Lukas Sarvary conclude that, while many of these persons subjectively cannot give any concrete reason, the drug has an important function in a psychosocial-pharmacological-spatial nexus. This complex may be regarded as one of several paradoxes in the particular lifestyle of such persons: They always come back to the Bahnhofsviertel although they blame this place for their habit; they dream of an ´ordinary life´ although their long-term acquired habitus would never fit with it; and they use a stimulant drug in order to be able to get money to fund further doses of this stimulant drug ...


Bernd Werse, Lukas Sarvari: ´I have no clue´ - a qualitative study on crack cocaine use in Frankfurt, Germany.


In: Z. Kalo, J. Tieberghien, D.J. Korf (Eds.)
Why? Explanations for drug use and drug dealing in social drug research.
Pabst, 192 pages, Paperback ISBN 978-3-95853-537-4, eBook ISBN 978-3-95853-538-1