Welcome to my new blog space,I hope that over the course of the coming months I will get a chance to post at least every couple of weeks and we get the chance to explore why the Heroin crisis in this country is an issue intrinsically linked with themes of social justice and equality. We will touch on idea's and themes which form the corner stone of equality, such as class, ability, disadvantage, gender, race and education. The aim in this is to develop a clear picture of how it is our systems produces in-equality and subsequently how this in-equality creates breeding grounds for hard drug use.
I have posted this blog in the hope of reaching out to people who have a real interest in the drug problem and related issues in this country. In particular I have circulated it to professionals and volunteers who are linked with service provision, education and social care. Given the current drive for austerity, as we witness the dismantling of the community sector and in my opinion the impending failure of social partnership, I hope to provide a space that might stimulate thought about the wider issue of drugs. In the near future it may not be that we simply have to think about new ways to tackle drugs, but we may well have to find them, after all if things continue as they are how long will it take for the money to run out altogether?
The aim really is to take a look at the Heroin crisis from a macro point of view, to step back from the individual tragedy of Heroin addiction and look at the problem at a broader societal level. It seems vital at this stage to clarify that I distinguish between the Heroin crisis and other drugs, based on the epidemiological dispersion of Heroin abuse in this country. Heroin was and is a drug of the poor, disadvantaged and socially excluded communities of our fair land. Its devastating impact has ravaged working class communities since the late seventies and despite the fact that research paper after research paper has identified the links between Heroin abuse and social exclusion twenty five years later it seems that we remain convinced if we can just treat enough addicts and not the social disease producing them, the problem will become a manageable one. In the words of Dr J Bradshaw, the first person to really investigate the Heroin problem in any meaningful way, "Multiple causes have been at work to produce the present epidemic of drug abuse, and it may be that one of them is a profound sickness in society. If so, the abuse may not abate until the sickness does."(J.Bradahaw, 1982)
After thirty odd years of band aid style interventions largely focused on treating the addicts, perhaps it is time to look and see if Heroin may be a symptom of poverty, poverty that has been institutionalized by our neo-liberal economic policy which is driven by an engine of corruption and greed. If we hope to tackle these broader societal questions, by necessity we will need to examine a range of subjects that are intrinsically linked to themes of equality and social justice.