Thizzin’ – Ecstasy use contexts and emergent social meanings
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Type of Work22 pages
journal articles postprints
Citation of Original PublicationJuliet P. Lee, Robynn S. Battle, Brian Soller, and Naomi Brandes, Thizzin’—Ecstasy use contexts and emergent social meanings, Addiction Research & Theory, Volume 19 Issue 6 (2011), https://doi.org/10.3109/16066359.2010.545156
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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Addiction Research & Theory on 11 Apr 2011, available online: http:// www.tandfonline.com/10.3109/16066359.2010.545156.
The drug “Ecstasy” has been most commonly associated with raves, or electronic music dance events, and attributed with sexual disinhibition. In an ethnographic investigation of drug use among second-generation Southeast Asian youth in Northern California conducted in 2003, respondents described little use of or interest in using Ecstasy; yet in a second study, Ecstasy was the fourth most commonly used substance. This article investigates the social contexts for this change in use patterns. Respondents were second-generation Southeast Asian youths and young adults between the ages of 15 and 26 who were currently or recently drug-involved. We compared qualitative data from the two studies and found emerging patterns of meaning and context related to the observed change in use patterns. Ecstasy use among co-resident African American youth within the context of the local “hyphy” hip-hop music subculture had influenced Southeast Asian youths’ uptake of the drug, known as “thizz.” Respondents referred to the effects of the drug as “thizzin’,” described as energizing, disinhibiting, numbing, and emotion enhancing. Reported consequences of “thizzin’” included violence and aggression as well as fun, while sexual disinhibition was rarely mentioned. The meanings assigned to drugs, including the effects ascribed to them, may be relative to the social contexts within which users are exposed to and consume drugs. The findings indicate the susceptibility of youths to local trends in drug use, particularly associated with popular cultural movements and music. Second-generation youths may be particularly susceptible relative to the conditions of their immigration and processes of identity formation unique to them.