The drug career of the older injector
Source: Addiction Research and Theory, Volume 13, Number 3, June 2005 , pp. 245-258(14)
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
Abstract:Drug theorists have used the concept of a career to understand why some individuals enter and become deeply entrenched in a life organized around illicit drug-use. Previously career analyses have focussed on the lives and activities of chronic users at youth and middle age. We extend this work by examining the drug careers of life-long drug injectors (injection drug users, IDUs) of age 50 and more. Based on in-depth interviews with 40 active injectors between ages 50 and 68, we explore the interactional effects of aging and drug-use as they affect the lives of older injectors on the streets. We show that age forms a career contingency with the power to realign former roles and relationships. Retiring from the life career of chronic users seems doubtful for older users except through illness and death. Our findings point to the developmental aspects of a drug-dependent life style and why patterns and practices of drug-use change over time.
Document Type: Research article
Affiliations: 1: University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health, 1603 West Taylor St. Room 751, Chicago, Illinois 60612 2: University of Delaware, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, 337 Smith Hall, Newark, DE 19 716
Publication date: 2005-06-01