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Heroin users who attempt a conventional life

Who? Variation and distinction in the European drugs landscape

Studies of heroin users often depict people living in a state of struggle separate from conventional society. Dr. James Morgan (London) identified heroin users who live somewhat traditional lives. He concludes (in the new reader: "Who? Variation and distinction in the European drugs landscape"):

- "Firstly, despite being stigmatised due to the connotations of heroin use domestic users´ narratives prioritised conventional identities, roles, routines and relationships. Heroin users can aspire to conventional living  and report some success to this end. However, combinations of the stigma of heroin and its associated high cost created a tension where heroin users worried that their more conventional identities and pursuits were under treat. An additional tension results from attempts to control heroin use.

- The second conclusion is that participant´s narratives revealed resources that could be understood as capital that aided their abilities to maintain persistent heroin use alongside conventional identities and social roles. This capital could also be conceived as recovery capital, suggesting that this group could be suitable candidates for recovery-based treatment.

- Finally, since domestic users tended not to have described a desire for recovery, prescribed heroin use could be a welcome treatment option in allowing the beneficial effects of a strongly desired opiate, while at the same time mitigating the associated negative effects."

Carolin Chatwin, Gary R. Potter, Bernd Werse (Eds.)
Who? Variation and distinction in the European drugs landscape.
Pabst, 148 pages. Paperback ISBN 978-3-95853-722-4, eBook ISBN 978-3-95853-723-1