Results Once all our interviews had concluded we re-wrote all the questions that we had asked our four respondents comparing them by using a table. From this it was easier to compare and contrast answers, assisting us in our search for re-occurring themes or major differences. For the purpose of anonymity the sample will be referred to as W, X, Y and Z. Themes and Patterns There were a vast amount of themes and patterns that emerged during our analysis of the four interviews. Firstly, the living arrangements of our sample were similar. Three out of the four students had resided in the Stirling University Halls of Residence during first year and by third year all four were staying in privately rented occupation.
Significantly the social habits of the four students were alike. Of the three students who stayed in Halls in first year all three 'went out' on campus at least three or more nights per week. The attendance of 'nights out' on campus fell to only two visits per semester for two of our sample, whilst the other kept to much the same pattern. All four of our sample attended the 'Fubar' nightclub in Stirling town centre every Thursday. Respondent X was the only subject whom started university with any friends from back home. All traveled home regularly to see friends in first two years of university, with the exception of respondent Z who had a significant distance to travel.
Of our four respondents only subject Z had no previous experience with illicit drugs. All three of the respondents who had taken illicit drugs before entering university had consumed cannabis and 'speed' by the age of 16. Subject X had also taken solvents, 'magic mushrooms' and 'acid' before entering university. Respondent W had consumed all the afore-mentioned drugs before coming to university but had also experimented with Valium and had smoked heroin. The location of drug consumption for all concerned was nearly always at parties or with older friends. Since entering Stirling University all four had experimented with 'ecstasy' for the first time.
Three of the four tried cocaine the first after entering university. The social setting of ecstasy use was nearly always club and music based, whilst cocaine use appeared to be restricted to post-club parties with friends. All respondents had suspicions that their families were aware of their 'softer' drug use but no one had actually been confronted on the subject. None of the respondents'' families' had any inkling about their sons / daughters 'class A' drug consumption.
The body language of those respondents whom had previously used drugs appeared to be more relaxed and open compared to the closed nervous responses from respondent Z. Differences The most significant variation in responses occurred when discussing the individuals' motivation and reasons for taking illicit drugs. Respondent W was curious about the effects the different drugs would have on him and liked the different perception of the world he got when trying different drugs. Respondent X feared drugs before taking them but alcohol gave her the confidence to experiment with different substances.
Respondent Y took certain drugs as they came 'highly recommended from a friend' but discontinued taking the drugs that he believed were not value for money or had little effect. Respondent Z, though, admitted to experimenting with drugs because of peer pressure. Theory From our reading we discovered that there were three main theories to explain the drug use of young people. These were The Normalisation Theory, The Stepping-Stone Theory and The Gateway Theory. The Normalisation Theory was developed from an North West Longitudinal Study (1995) which discovered that drug taking was a 'normal' leisure activity for young people, with 51% of young people having used drugs by the age of 16. The study concluded that drugs were part of our culture and the use of illegal drugs by adulthood was almost a certainty.
Our report would confirm this theory as all of our subjects had experimented with drugs, none believing their situation to be unique. One of our subjects, though, had only taken drugs as a one-off experiment. The Stepping Theory suggests that it is the actual drugs themselves, which lead the user to consume progressively harder substances. Our study would contradict this theory as in some cases harder drugs were consumed before supposedly softer drugs and three of the respondents claimed that they would not experiment with any harder drugs than they already had. The Gateway Theory also believes that a user will consume progressively harder drugs but unlike the Stepping-Stone theory, Gateway Theory incorporates users' environment into the equation.
This may be backed up by our research as it could perhaps be claimed that Stirling social scene encourages ecstasy use as none of the sample had tried the drug until half way through their second years. (Silverman, 1993).