Home > Drug use as a career: the Irish heroin users' perspective.

Dillon, Lucy (2002) Drug use as a career: the Irish heroin users' perspective. Masters thesis, Trinity College Dublin.

This thesis explores the experiences of a cohort of Irish opiate users. In-depth qualitative interviews were carried out with seventy-one people who were on a methadone maintenance programme in the Eastern Health Board area in 1988. The thesis uses the conceptual framework of the 'deviant career' that has been used by a number of other researchers working in the area of drug use.

Three stages of the drug-using career are identified. Chapter 4 describes respondents' initiation into illicit drug use. Furthermore, it explores the significance of the social context in which respondents were based when they first used drugs. The second stage of the career identified is the escalation of drug use. Chapter 5 explores the escalation of respondents' drug use, up to the point at which they perceived themselves to have become dependent. The final stage of the drug-using career addressed in this thesis is maintaining the habit. Chapter 6 argues that once dependent, the role of drugs in the users' life changes, 'maintaining a habit' is perceived to be a full-time career.

In conclusion, becoming a drug user is seen to be something that happens over a period of time and that is shaped by a number of factors. The essentially social nature of drug use is emphasised. Furthermore, it is argued that the drug-using career provides the best conceptual framework in which to explore the process involved in becoming a dependent user.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Other
Drug Type
Intervention Type
Treatment method
Call No
AH, FR16.2, VH4.2
185 p.
Accession Number
HRB 3650 (Available)

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