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The governance of female drug users:Women's experiences of drug policy

Published onJul 01, 2015
The governance of female drug users:Women's experiences of drug policy
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The governance of female drug users

This book is about the ways in which the governance of illicit drug use shapes female dependent drug users’ lives. It argues female drug users’ subjectivities, and hence their experiences, are shaped and regulated by drug policies. The relationship between the social regulation of female drug users and the “making up” of their identities is investigated. It explores the dominant governmental technologies of power from which the key constructions of women as “problematic” drug users emanate in the UK, Canada and the US: punishment and prohibition, medicalisation and welfarisation. It also investigates the meanings that women who identify as having dependent drug use attach to their drug use and themselves. Insights are gathered from the in-depth accounts of 40 female drug users in the UK. The book argues, in the regulation of illicit drug using women, particular subjectivities are constructed which, in themselves, become part of the narrative sustaining women in their problematic drug use. It asserts that female users experience drug policy as something that exacerbates their social and economic marginalisation and contributes to their lives being plunged into further marginalisation. At the same time, it analyses the contradictory choices, adaptations and resistances of female users. Although women users internalise many of the negative constructions of them found in policy discourse they also find ways to resist them. Popular misconceptions of female users which condition oppressive interventions are subverted with the hope of contributing to the formulation of drug policies based on empowerment, gender equity and social justice.


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