PhD graduate Kat Kolar on Stimulant Use Among Undergraduate Students

January 23, 2019 by Nico Golinski

PhD graduate Kat Kolar published an article in Contemporary Drug Problems that analyzes attitudes surrounding non-prescription stimulant use among undergraduate students. Students often justify using these drugs by claiming that their potential academic success is worth the risks.  Kolar argues that this has implications for understanding the concept of drug acceptability.

Kat Kolar obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. Her dissertation is titled Differentiating the Drug Normalization Framework: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Substance Use among Undergraduate Students in Canada. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UBC researching the social integration of substance use and health inequities impacting people who use illicit drugs.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through ResearchGate here.

Kolar, Kat. 2015. "Study Drugs 'Don't Make You Smarter": Acceptability Evaluations of Nonmedical Prescription Stimulant Use Among Undergraduate Students." Contemporary Drug Problems, 42(4):314-330.

Despite the growing literature on nonmedical prescription drug use among students in North America, existing research does not investigate the potential convergences of nonusing student attitudes on drug acceptability with those of their stimulant-using peers. Analysis of 36 interviews with nonmedical stimulant prescription drug-using and nonusing undergraduate students in Canada provides insight into evaluations of drug acceptability within a competitive, top-tier research university context. Interviews are analyzed thematically with attention to practices students engage in to assess nonmedical stimulant use, and discourses students use to position the acceptability of such use. Interview results illustrate commonalities in how using and non-using students weigh the risks and advantages of nonmedical prescription stimulant use in relation to the pursuit of scholastic success. These findings are used to critically engage with the construct of drug acceptability, as conceptualized in the drug normalization framework of Howard Parker and colleagues. To conclude, recommendations are made for future research, and implications for university policies are considered.

Read the full article here.