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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26431

Title: Exploring the Help-seeking / Helping Dynamic in Illegal Drug Use
Authors: Polych, Carol
Advisor: Knowles, J. Gary
Department: Adult Education and Counselling Psychology
Keywords: addiction
illegal drugs
helping-seeking / helping
helping relationship
stigma
anomie
illegalization
heuristic research
professionalization
consumerism
arts-informed research
Benner & Wrubel
Goffman
Link & Phelan
Moustakas
quality of care
scapegoating
prohibition
prison
harm-reduction
drug propaganda
drug war
surveillance society
classism
elitism
discrimination
barriers to care
mythology
social control
drug demonization
teaching
health care
mental health
infectious disease
industrial disease
Wittgenstein
hegemony
policing
legalization
education
training
power
social violence
institutionalized violence
care
attitude
marginalization
alienation
Marx
Chomsky
infectious disease
communicable disease
Issue Date: 1-Mar-2011
Abstract: Heuristic qualitative research techniques (Moustakas,1990) were used to explore the dynamic of the help-seeking / helping relationship in illegal drug use from the perspective of the professional. Six professionals, expert in helping people living with an addiction, shared their opinions and insights, analyzed problems, explained the rewards, and made recommendations for improvement, based on their own practices within the health care and social services systems. These professionals identify stigma as a major barrier to the provision of quality care in addictions, and analysis shows that a cultural predilection for scapegoating underlies the application of stigma. The many layered social purposes served by the designation of certain substances as illegal and the utility of scapegoating to hegemonic, vested interests is surveyed. This thesis reviews the true social costs of addictions, the entrenched and enmeshed nature of the alternate economy, and the many above ground institutions and professions sustained by the use of drugs designated as illegal. Prohibition and imprisonment as a response to illegal drug use is exposed as costly, inhumane, dangerous, and overwhelmingly counterproductive in terms of limiting harm from illegal drug use. A recent example of drug prohibition propaganda is deconstructed. Consideration is given to the role of the Drug War as a vehicle to accelerate social creep toward a fragmented self-disciplining surveillance society of consumer-producers in the service of economic elites. Classism is brought forward from a fractured social ground characterized by many splits: sexism, racism, age-ism, able-ism, size-ism, locationism, linguism, and others, to better track the nature of the social control that illegal drugs offer to economic elites. The moral loading that surrounds illegal drug use is deconstructed and the influence of religion is presented for discussion. The primitive roots of human understanding that endorse the ritual Drug War and its supporting mythology, leading to the demonization of illegal drugs and the people who use them, are uncovered. Direction is taken from Benner and Wrubel’s Primacy of Caring (1989) and other leaders in the professions as a means to move practitioners away from their roles as agents of social control into a paradigm of social change.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26431
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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