The pleasure in context
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Background: The pleasures associated with the use of illicit drugs are rarely acknowledged in contemporary drug policy debates. Where they are, these pleasures are almost always attributed to the specific physiological and/or sensory effects of individual substances. Methods: Drawing on qualitative research recently completed in Melbourne, Australia, this paper argues that the pleasures associated with illicit drug use extend well beyond the purely physiological to include a host of properly contextual elements as well. Results: These "contextual" pleasures include the corporeal experience of space, such as the "feeling" of electronic music in a large night-club space, or the engagement with natural and wilderness environments. Also important are a range of corporeal and performative practices, such as dancing and interacting with strangers, which were reportedly facilitated with the use of different drugs. Conclusions: This emphasis on the dynamics of space, embodiment and practice as they impact the contextual experience of pleasure, has the potential to open up new ways of thinking about pleasure and its place in the mediation of all drug related behaviours. Greater understanding of these relationships should also facilitate the emergence of new, context specific, drug prevention and harm reduction initiatives. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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