In recent years there have been a number of Australians who have hit the headlines after being caught using drugs whilst overseas on holidays. Andrew Johns was the most recent case, but there have been many others including the model, Michelle Leslie, who was caught with ecstasy while in Bali.
It would appear that there are now certain places around the world that people travel to with the express purpose of using illicit drugs. This has been branded “deviance” tourism and refers to a phenomenon in which travellers engage in behaviours that would be considered illicit, illegal or out-of-the-norm in their home country. One example of such tourism is travelling to such locales as Amsterdam to smoke cannabis; another would be a visit to the island of Ibiza for a holiday involving dancing and ecstasy use.
The risks associated with illicit drug use are magnified when you are travelling overseas. A great example of this is the number of overseas tourists who got caught up in the “sniffer dog sweep” during the Mardi Gras season earlier this year. Although many Australians were not prepared for what happened during that period, at least there were some warnings for us; for the travellers it was completely unexpected. As many of them discovered, ignorance of the laws of the land is not going to help if you get busted in a foreign country.
When people are away from their home they may also be tempted to let their hair down and take risks that they wouldn’t in their own country. Studies that have been conducted with people travelling have found they drink more alcohol and use more drugs than they would when they are at home. They may also experiment with substances they have never used before. All of this adds up to a dangerous mix and if something goes wrong it is not always easy to find help.
There are certain locations around the world that are growing in popularity purely because of their links to drug use or drug culture. Don’t be fooled and believe that things can’t go wrong in these environments – there are real risks and the consequences can change your life in a major way.
Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug and, no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blasé.