A history of abuse: Documenting the harms experienced by the “Trainspotting generation”

Authors

  • Samantha Weston Keele University

Keywords:

drug use, addiction, social harm, stigmatisation, mental health, consumo de drogas, adicción, daño social, estigmatización, salud mental

Abstract

The story of the past 30 years has been the relentless hollowing-out of industrial Britain, the single biggest change to the British economy in the post-war era. During this period, whole communities have become destabilised by mass long-term unemployment resulting in discarded generations that have been excluded socially and economically from the benefits widely available to those in work (Hutton, 1996; Buchanan, 2000). It has been against this backdrop that the youth of the 80s and 90s turned to heroin in an attempt to block out the harsh social and economic realities of their lives (Buchanan and Wyke, 1987). Drawing on semi-structured interviews with twelve opiate-involved users (OIUs), this paper illuminates the harms experienced by those who began their drug taking during the 80s and 90s. Particularly, I argue that the negative consequences brought about by the broad umbrella of drug treatment policy that adopts a framework of risk-based strategies designed to regulate and control drug users has had a cumulative effect contributing to further experiences of stigma, unemployment, physical and mental ill health.

La historia de los últimos 40 años ha sido el incesante desmantelamiento de la Gran Bretaña industrial hacia el desempleo de larga duración y las generaciones descartadas que han sido excluidas social y económicamente (Pearson 1987a, 1987b, Buchanan y Young 2000). En un intento de bloquear estas duras realidades sociales y económicas de sus vidas, los jóvenes de los 80 y los 90 recurrieron a la heroína (Buchanan y Wyke 1987). A partir de un abordaje de daño social para el análisis de entrevistas semiestructuradas con doce usuarios de opiáceos, aduzco que los problemas comúnmente asociados al consumo de drogas –experiencias de estigmatización, desempleo, y salud física y mental– podrían entenderse mejor como daños resultantes de un discurso reduccionista que representa erróneamente las drogas y a sus consumidores como una amenaza a la sociedad, y enfoca el tratamiento como una reducción de los daños que suponen los consumidores de opiáceos en lugar de enfocarlo en los recursos sociales que se necesitan para la prosperidad humana.

Available from: https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1172

Author Biography

Samantha Weston, Keele University

Senior Lecturer in Criminology

School of Social, Political and Global Studies

University of Keele

Keele

ST5 5BG

 

Tel: 01782 734336

Orchid number: orcid.org/0000-0001-8179-3273

 

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Published

01-10-2021

How to Cite

Weston, S. (2021) “A history of abuse: Documenting the harms experienced by the ‘Trainspotting generation’”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 11(5), pp. 1153–1178. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/1193 (Accessed: 17 October 2021).