PDF (The impact of paramilitary violence against a heroin-user community in Nothern Ireland)
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Over the past decade, Northern Ireland has witnessed the cessation of conflict and the emergence of the ongoing peace process. It is now dealing with new patterns of crime and with social problems either ignored or suppressed during the years of the so-called 'Troubles'. A key example is heroin and injecting drug use. Systematic beating, exiling and torture by paramilitaries remain pervasive in many communities.
Drawing on data from a qualitative study examining the emergence of the heroin scene in Ballymena, this paper presents findings that illustrate the impact of paramilitary violence on a heroin-using community. The paper describes, both from the perspective of the heroin users and the professionals seeking to help them, the violence and intimidation perpetrated by the paramilitants. The impact this rough justice has on their day to day lives is explored, as well as the difficulties it presents in influencing their decisions to utilise services such as harm reduction initiatives.
The paper provides context by summarising available evidence on the extent of heroin use in Northern Ireland and presenting a brief account of current Northern Ireland drug policy. The historical relationship between paramilitary groups and communities is also briefly outlined.
By way of conclusion, the paper discusses the relationship between wider societal transformation in Northern Ireland and drug-use patterns and outlines how heroin users might be assisted in dealing with the compounded nature of the challenges facing them as a result of the paramilitary threat.
|Page Range:||pp. 334-342|
|Keywords:||exposure to violence, heroin, Northern Ireland, sociocultural risk and protective factors, socioenvironmental factors|
|Notes:||Reprinted from International Journal of Drug Policy, Vol 16, Higgins K, Kilpatrick R, The impact of paramilitary violence against a heroin-user community in Nothern Ireland: A qualitative analysis., 334-342, Copyright (2005), with permission from Elsevier|
|Accession Number:||HRB 3047 (Available)|
|Subjects:||VA Geographic area > Europe > Northern Ireland|
B Drugs and alcohol substances > Opioids (opiates) > Heroin
R Research > Type of research study > Empirical study > Qualitative study
MM-MO Crime and law > Crime > Drugs and alcohol related crime
L Social psychology and related concepts > Social context
T Demographic characteristics > Drug user
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