Beating the Dragon

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9780130871718: Beating the Dragon

Suitable for 2nd and 3rd year students taking courses on drug use/misuse principally in departments such as Sociology, Law, Cultural and Media Studies, and Psychology. Also particularly relevant for students taking courses leading to a profession, such as nurses and social workers. The use of illegal drugs is widespread in many societies. Within many western societies particular concern has been focused on the nature and extent of illegal drug use amongst young people. In much of the media coverage an impression is often conveyed that the use of illegal drugs other than cannabis is a one way street leading inevitably to addiction, destitution, family breakdown and death. This impression fails to grasp the fact that most drug users do not become addicts and most addicts do not die. The perception of addiction as a fixed end point characterised by personal and social dissolution fails to recognise that many dependent drug users, even after a period of prolonged dependent drug use, nevertheless still manage to overcome their dependence upon illegal drugs. This process of recovery, either with or without the assistance of helping agencies, has been variously described by researchers, drug counsellors, clinicians and others.

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The use of illegal drugs is widespread in many societies. Within many western societies particular concern has been focused on the nature and extent of illegal drug use amongst young people. In much of the media coverage an impression is often conveyed that the use of illegal drugs other than cannabis is a one way street leading inevitably to addiction, destitution, family breakdown and death. This impression fails to grasp the fact that most drug users do not become addicts and most addicts do not die.
The perception of addiction as a fixed end point characterised by personal and social dissolution fails to recognise that many dependent drug users, even after a period of prolonged dependent drug use, nevertheless still manage to overcome their dependence upon illegal drugs. This process of recovery, either with or without the assistance of helping agencies, has been variously descibed by researchers, drug counsellors, clinicians and others.
However, we still lack much of an understanding of the process of recovery as seen from the addict's own viewpoint. Beating the Dragon describes in detail the road from addiction as experienced by 70 ex-addicts. All the people interviewed had been using major illegal drugs (heroin, cocaine, temazepam and amphetamines) for many years and yet managed to overcome their addiction through a variety of means. By looking in detail at the experiences of this group of recovering addicts the authors aim to produce a groundbreaking ethnography of the recovery process.
James McIntosh is Professor of Social Policy and Neil McKeganey is Professor of Drug Misuse Research at the University of Glasgow.

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