Psychoactive drugs and the management of time

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The main objective for this article is to explore how users of psychoactive drugs experience time and the role psychoactive drugs play in the management and construction of time. The data in this study consists of different kinds of written documents such as anecdotal accounts and scientific articles and reports which was collected using a purposeful sampling technique. One important result is that time is experienced and constructed differently among users of legal drugs compared to users of illegal drugs. The use of heroin is for example associated with shrinking time-horizons and being afraid of looking back and looking ahead, while smoking cigarettes is correlated with killing chronological time and instituting a parenthesis in normative time. Another conclusion is that users of illegal drugs experience greater problems synchronizing social and subjective time compared to users of legal substances. The results of my study also suggest that drug users´ experiences of time are intertwined with the social context and social meanings of drug use.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Work


  • management of time, subjective time, social time, psychoactive drugs, drug use and the escape from time
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-124
Number of pages14
JournalSociologisk Forskning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 26
Publication categoryResearch