Ingrid Walker: Message in a bottle: Pro- and anti-drug narratives in contemporary US media
Posted on 03-09-2013
In the late 1990’s, a transition to less regulated direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing in the United States paralleled an intensification of the federal anti-drug effort through Congress’s call for a media campaign directly targeting youth and parents. With other popular culture narratives, this advertising has deeply informed American cultural norms about drug use in the twenty-first century. The resulting tension between a pro-pharmaceutical drug market and anti-illicit drug criminal justice system represents broader social conflicts about drugs and health, user agency, substance efficacy, controlled use, and addiction. Through contemporary drug narratives, this talk will address questions of individual agency within a culture of medicalisation of substance use. It will explore how an emphasis on individual health and medical supervision to regulate our bodies have become effective discourses of social power that we internalise and practice–what Michel Foucault theorised as “technologies of the self.” Questions related to what Nancy Campbell calls “problem-solving and problem creating drugs” will be explored. Is there a difference between taking a drug to avoid depression and taking a drug to feel good? What are the bases for relevant critical distinctions with regard to licit and illicit substance use and consciousness? And can they be found within a medical model that strongly shapes cultural norms regarding drugs and psychoactive substances, especially in terms of how we conceptualise, discuss, regulate, and research them?


Under Control?

Location: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

"Under Control? Alcohol and Drug Regulation, Past and Present"  conference was held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 21-23rd June 2013. Under Control? was supported by the Alcohol Research UK; Bowling Green State University; the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, Brock University (Faculty of Applied Health Sciences); the Society for the Study…

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Lifeline Project & FEAD Read more

Welcome to Lifeline and FEAD (Film Exchange on Alcohol and Drugs). This project has been shaped by the wealth of experience, openness, and knowledge of the contributors. You are invited to comment on the clips, which are supported by footnotes to which you can add. FEAD is an ongoing Lifeline Project initiative.

Lifeline Project: In 1971 the Lifeline Project opened a day centre for drug users in Manchester. Since its foundation Lifeline has grown and developed, and now works in a diverse range of settings across the UK. Our purpose is to relieve poverty, sickness and distress among those persons affected by addiction to drugs of any kind, and to educate the public on matters relating to drug misuse.