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  • Meet the Researcher Q&A: Dr Tony Barnett on social groups, alcohol and other drugs

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    Bamboo [facilitator]
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    Meet the Researcher Q&A: Dr Tony Barnett on social groups, alcohol and other drugs

    Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:39 am

    Have you ever noticed that you feel a lot of pressure to drink excessively with some of your friends, but not others? Maybe your work mates are always ordering another round at the pub, while your old school friends linger on one drink all night. You might even have a circle of friends that only ever gets together to do active, healthy things, like walking, sports, or fun and rewarding hobbies. The people you hang out with can have a lot of influence on how you spend your time.

    In the first instalment of our new Meet the Researcher Q&A series, we look at the question: are alcohol and other drug concerns an issue within the individual, an issue within an individual’s social network, or a combination of both? Can people change their social network structure to change their use of alcohol and other drugs? Do people need to change their social circles to change their alcohol and drug use? If so, how?

    Dr Tony Barnett is our guest this week and will answer your questions by drawing on the latest research. Tony is a researcher in the Clinical and Social Research Team at Turning Point, Melbourne. He researches the social and cultural aspects of alcohol and other drugs.

    It would be great to hear your thoughts about social circles and their impact on alcohol and other drug use. If you have a thought or query throw it out there — there are no silly questions or ideas. Everyone is welcome to contribute!

    This thread will be open for 1 week until Thursday 25th Feb 2021 for your questions! Ask Tony anything! Tony will draw on current research and understandings of social supports and social capital. Take advantage of this simple, anonymous Q&A, just hit Post Reply below while signed in!

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    tacocat
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    Re: Meet the Researcher Q&A: Dr Tony Barnett on social groups, alcohol and other drugs

    Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:04 pm

    That's a really fascinating topic, and often something I've thought about whilst moving between different circles at social gatherings.

    I noticed that certain social groups, based on their particular profession had very different relationships with substances.
    For example, amongst corporate, white collar professions there seemed to be a lot of pressure to drink alcohol, and binge drink. Amongst health professionals it seemed to be less social, group-think pressure to drink or partake in other drugs. In musician circles there was often a lot of to consume other types of substances outside of alcohol.

    My question: is there any research about consuming substances amongst certain types of social groups? For example, perhaps social gatherings amongst mostly tradies are more likely to consume certain substances, and with a certain pattern, lets say, binge drink.
    My thinking is, if there is a pattern amongst certain groups, you could be more wary about how you might be influenced in your relationship with substances.
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    Stopppies
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    Re: Meet the Researcher Q&A: Dr Tony Barnett on social groups, alcohol and other drugs

    Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:13 pm

    Hi Tony, don't know if you can answer this but are we seeing a change in how we drink socially, are 20 and 30 year olds drinking differently now than 20 and 30 year olds were in say the '90s? Are we drinking less is that down to social circles?
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    Leonarda
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    Re: Meet the Researcher Q&A: Dr Tony Barnett on social groups, alcohol and other drugs

    Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:31 pm

    What is the impact of social circles on alcohol and other drug use :

    Hi Tony and everyone, I have asked this question with extended family who are 18-25 years old and most of them stated that peer pressure is not something that they are experiencing with drugs - even though there is some experimentation of party drugs the focus is more on drinking. If someone is not drinking and participating in drinking games and pre's then they have stated that then there is some pressure and 'you are the odd one out.'

    Has there been any change between now, in 2021 in comparison to the say, 5 or 10 years ago? Are people more educated around drug use including alcohol and able to make better choices?
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    HelpfulBee
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    Re: Meet the Researcher Q&A: Dr Tony Barnett on social groups, alcohol and other drugs

    Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:18 pm

    Hi Tony,

    Really looking forward to hearing more about your research in social circles and substance use.

    My question is specifically about young people. In my work, I'm noticing that substance use (particularly cannabis, hallucinogens, and ketamine) are becoming more normal in certain social groups for young people. Is this the case?

    What are some risk factors and protective factors that contribute to a young person deciding to try substances under the influence of their peer group?

    Can't wait to learn more!

    -HelpfulBee
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    Bamboo [facilitator]
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    Re: Meet the Researcher Q&A: Dr Tony Barnett on social groups, alcohol and other drugs

    Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:55 am

    We've got some great questions so far! :) Just a reminder that the Q&A will be open until tomorrow and closed thereafter. If you have anything you'd like to ask Dr Tony Barnet on social groups, alcohol and other drugs please do so by end of business tomorrow (5pm AEST) thank you!
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    Bamboo [facilitator]
    Community Manager
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    Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:46 pm

    Re: Meet the Researcher Q&A: Dr Tony Barnett on social groups, alcohol and other drugs

    Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:01 pm

    Thanks everyone this Q&A is now closed for questions. We will have Dr Tony Barnett's answers up end of next week :)
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