Why do those middle class women take cocaine?

Readers Question Readers Question: (Name changed for privacy)
Stanton Peele Response by: Dr. Stanton Peele
Posted on August 2nd, 2008 - Last updated: September 18th, 2019
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Dear Stanton,

Have you found any information about the growing popularity of cocaine among middle to upper class women? If so, why do you think this has become a trend?



Every new drug scare emphasizes use by middle class people. So far, all the most dangerous and harmful drug use occurs among people with the fewest social and psychological resources. My best bet is to be highly skeptical of the current report you note because (a) it is based on a couple of people reporters have discovered, but no sound epidemiological evidence, (b) although conceivably a faddish drug use has grown among a particular, more privileged social segment, this use will have fewer adverse social consequences than use by the disadvantaged. This truism has been shown throughout drug use history; my web site is riddled with it. Consider that drinking and drug use by pregnant women is highly problematic primarily among the lowest social groups; that the latest heroin overdose scare always feature middle class users; that prominent drug users (like ballplayers) are in fact those whose drug use is on average least harmful. Consider these quotes, for example:

The question we must be asking now is not why people take drugs, but why do people stop. In the inner city, the factors that counterbalance drug use — family, employment, status within the community — often are not there. It is harder for people with nothing to say no to drugs.

If crack were a drug of the middle and upper classes, we would not be saying it is so impossible to treat.

Best, Stanton

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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