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Home > The emergence of the affected adult family member in drug policy discourse: a Foucauldian perspective.

Devaney, Eva (2017) The emergence of the affected adult family member in drug policy discourse: a Foucauldian perspective. Drugs: Education Prevention and Policy, 24, (4), pp. 359-367. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687637.2017.1340433.


The affected adult family member has increasingly received attention in drug research, policy and practice fields; however, this development has received limited critical and theoretical examination with respect to the presuppositions underpinning its rationale. Using a Foucauldian theoretical perspective, this article traces how families have been problematised in the treatment and rehabilitation domains of Irish drug policy and considers the political implications.

 

A post-structuralist method, Bacchi’s (2009) “What’s the Problem Represented to Be?” approach, is applied to the analysis of eight drug policy documents published in Ireland between 1971 and 2009. Families are constructed as contributing to both the problem and solution of adolescent drug use. They are imagined as a key resource in treatment of adult drug use but as needing support in this role; and, as such they are constructed as service users in their own right. Families are governed through responsibilisation. The behavioural policy solutions are individualising and preclude alternative solutions that address political, socio-economic and gender inequalities that shape the experiences of affected families.

 

The findings may be used as a starting point for critical reflection on the assumptions and privileged forms of knowledge and expertise that are shaping policy and practices relating to affected families.

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