The social constructions of drug users in professional interventions

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This qualitative study analyses the construction of a subject who uses drugs (injected drugs) so as to offer psychosocial proposals for social healthcare interventions within this collective, and thereby contribute to social healthcare policies that optimise treatment for drug use. The results indicate that identity is connected to positions that are activated in interactions and relationships between users and professionals in various day-to-day contexts of healthcare and treatment. We have labelled these activated positions: therapeutic, drug-sensory, consumerist, legal-repressive and group-community. Understanding them provides clues that may improve interventions in health and legal contexts. These clues include understanding the tensions between the subject and the substance, considering the stigmatised image and identity, and supporting the idea of the existence of dilemmas in users and professionals, as this may allow transformations to occur in the mutual relationships that are established.© 2011 GAPS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-232
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011


  • Heroin users
  • Identities
  • Positions
  • Social healthcare interventions


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