Slanging to blaze up and juice up - Drug consumption in Samoan Bloods youth gangs in New Zealand
conference contributionposted on 04.03.2021, 06:26 by Moses Faleolo
This presentation is based on the findings from a 2015 PhD study entitled ‘Hard-Hard-Solid! Life Histories of Samoans in Bloods youth gangs in New Zealand’, and in particular the effects of smoking marijuana (blaze) combined with hard alcohol (juice) on Samoan young people aged 16 years and over. It desensitises them so when they are slanging (selling) or preparing for a fight with a rival gang they feel invincible, fearless, and incredibly strong. According to the 25 life histories that was collected over an 18 month period from ethnic minority gang members there was consistency with socialization and delinquency theoretical literature where structural -functionalism, strain, control and learning perspectives accounted for their involvement in this subculture and its drug activities. As a result serious physical (hospitalization and surgery), mental (attitudinal and behavioural changes), social (family dysfunction and lack of trust in school and social services), cultural (rejection of Samoan cultural identity) and spiritual (disillusionment and mistrust with church and its members) issues emerged. So what is recommended according to the gang members was to reduce or eliminate the attractiveness of gang culture and establish a multi-faceted approach that develop initiatives such as substituting slanging with alternatives like apprenticeships or a cadetship with the military or better access to meaningful employment or tertiary qualifications. Hence this presentation would benefit social workers, health professionals, policymakers, and researchers committed to advancing ethnic minority youth development.