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Fear and loathing in drugs policy: Risk, rights and approaches to drug policy and practice

Coomber, R and South, N (2014) 'Fear and loathing in drugs policy: Risk, rights and approaches to drug policy and practice.' In: UNSPECIFIED, (ed.) Prohibition, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights: Regulating Traditional Drug Use. UNSPECIFIED, 235 - 248. ISBN 9783642409561, 3642409563

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The proliferation of controls over drugs and drug users in countries around the world over the last century has in part been a result of poor understanding of the substances themselves and/or those that use them. A common thread running through the development of such controls is recourse to images and beliefs about the substances that are exaggerated and often false. Many of these beliefs-despite a contrary evidence base-continue to prevail in discourses around drugs. Fundamental to this is a continued lack of understanding of how risks and harms manifest and a tendency to generalize such experiences as an inevitable outcome of drug use. Drugs, their use, and the outcomes of that use, are not pharmacologically determined, but are situated and contingent. The concept of drug, set and setting (and process) enables us to better understand drug effects and how they can produce different, including non-problem, outcomes, be controlled by both individuals and groups, and have outcomes for societies that are positive as well as negative. Understanding how drugs are used and the extent to which they are utilized provides better insight into the real nature of drug use in any one context and counters simple ideas about generic, simple, and inevitable (destructive) outcomes. Failure to meaningfully contextualize risks has resulted in abuses of individual, social, cultural rights and traditions and ecological damage.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Users 161 not found.
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2014 13:43
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2022 22:15

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