Governing drug use otherwise: For an ethics of care
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© The Author(s) 2015 Contemporary drug policy debates are riven by a protracted antagonism between discourses that emphasise addiction, habit and despair, and those that endorse recreation, pleasure and self-control. This article eschews this antagonism by examining drug use in relation to what Michel Foucault called an ethics of care. My goal is to begin to imagine how drug use may be governed otherwise, in ways that avoid the normalisation associated with existing policy responses to drug problems. I ground this discussion in qualitative research conducted in 2012 in Melbourne, Australia with 31 drug consumers, and 15 health service providers. I explore how consumers govern their own drug use, and how these practices fit within consumers’ broader efforts to promote or maintain their health. I then use these findings to sketch a novel approach to drug policy formulation, less concerned with the amelioration of drug problems and more interested in promoting an ethics of care.
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