Young brains at risk: Co-constituting youth and addiction in neuroscience-informed Australian drug education
MetadataShow full item record
This article explores the developing relationship between neuroscientific understandings of ‘addiction’ and ‘youth’. Drawing on science and technology studies theory and social scientific analyses of both these concepts, it identifies a co-constitutive relationship between notions of addiction as a brain disease and of youth as a stage of brain development. These two concepts are then tracked in a series of drug education documents concerned with alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and addiction among young people, and their implications and effects and analysed together. The aim is to investigate the impact on drug education of neuroscientific approaches to youth and addiction. Are new concepts and directions for harm reduction created in the encounters between neuroscience, youth and addiction, or do they simply reinstate and reinforce existing assumptions and judgments? Is drug education shaped by these concepts likely to achieve its aim, that is, to increase young people’s sensitivity to harm and safety? The article begins by introducing neuroscientific accounts of youth and addiction, arguing that the two concepts share three key assumptions. First, both emphasise biology and sideline social context in the making of drug use practices and outcomes. Second, both reproduce uncritical treatments of brain scans (PET and fMRI images) as windows into minds and subjects. Third, both understand the brain as ontologically separate from its environment. These assumptions and their implications are then tracked through an analysis of Australian drug education resources, focusing on how drug education constitutes youthfulness and addiction as pathological disorders. In its reliance on neuroscientific understandings of youth and addiction, we conclude, drug education is unlikely to achieve its goal of reducing drug-related harm.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Beatty, Shelley Ellen (2003)The long-term regular use of tobacco and hazardous alcohol use are responsible for significant mortality and morbidity as well as social and economic harm in Australia each year. There is necessary the more cost-efficient ...
Fraser, Suzanne (2015)Neuroscientific accounts of addiction are increasingly influential in health and medical circles. At the same time a diverse, if equally scientifically focused, opposition to addiction neuroscience is emerging. In this ...
Iterating ‘addiction’: Residential relocation and the spatio-temporal production of alcohol and other drug consumption patternsDilkes-Frayne, E.; Fraser, Suzanne; Pienaar, Kiran; Kokanovic, R. (2017)Addiction is generally understood to be characterised by a persistent pattern of regular, heavy alcohol and other drug consumption. Current models of addiction tend to locate the causes of these patterns within the body ...