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The governance of female drug usersWomen's experiences of drug policy$
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Natasha Du Rose

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781847426727

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847426727.001.0001

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(p.91) Four Medicalisation
The governance of female drug users

Natasha Du Rose

Policy Press

Chapter 5 is concerned with the public health strand of drug policy discourse and the technology of medicalisation underpinning it. Medicalization operates as a form of control and regulation whereby social structural issues such as poverty and social inequalities are individualised and deflected into the realm of disease. The chapter discusses the disease model of addiction, the construction of drug users, and drug using women in particular, as pathological. How female users are situated in contemporary drug policy, as on the one hand irresponsible, bad choice makers and on the other as responsible for their predicament are explored. Harm minimisation and recovery discourse, coercive policies and the marginalisation of women in treatment is discussed. It is argued that medicalisation has been deployed in part to facilitate and reinforce punishment regimes, the widening of the net of social control and fails to address the social problems female users face.

Keywords:   medicalisation, disease model, harm minimisation, methadone, social control, HIV/AIDS, risk, treatment, recovery, coercian

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