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Home > Exploration of identity construction and reconstruction during drug using careers, and the factors that influence identity transformation.

O'Donnell, Siobain (2015) Exploration of identity construction and reconstruction during drug using careers, and the factors that influence identity transformation. PhD thesis, Trinity College Dublin.

URL: http://esource.dbs.ie/handle/10788/2945


According to academic interpretations and media representation, there exists a negative portrayal of the drug user as a deviant, compulsive, ‘out of control’ consumer of risk. This portrayal adversely impacts on the drug user who attempts to cease using drugs and embrace a drug free lifestyle.

 

The literature reviewed presents prevalence statistics which indicate that drug using is increasing in Ireland, which is a worrisome status for policy makers and service providers, and for the general public who experience fear of drug users. Historically and culturally mainstream society views drug using as an unacceptable, deviant behaviour, incongruent with the norms and values of society that must be medicated, sanctioned, controlled or eliminated. Drug users respond to this ideology by forming their own subculture which involves adopting alternative norms and values that condone drug using and protect its continuance. Whilst immersed in a drug using subculture, individuals take on a drug user identity which supports their drug using lifestyle.

 

This study is about the construction of a drug user identity during drug using and the reconstruction of a non-drug user identity on cessation of drug using. It set out to explore the challenges experienced by drug users who choose to cease drug using and reconstruct their identity as non-drug user. It is also concerned with how this identity construction and reconstruction influences relapse.

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