Injecting ATS/NPS use and drug abjection in Romania

Alexandrescu, Liviu (2016) Injecting ATS/NPS use and drug abjection in Romania. Drugs and Alcohol Today, 16 (2). pp. 142-149. ISSN 1745-9265

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate a group of Romanian injecting substance users “migrating” from heroin to novel psychoactive substances (NPS) as a counterpublic seeking to escape the stigma of drug abjection. Design/methodology/approach – The findings are drawn from interview and observational data collected mainly at drug services sites in Bucharest, Romania. Findings – The stimulant powders sold by head shops appealed to experienced drug users because they seemed to emulate a consumerist ethos and cultivate a healthy, rational agent that popular discourses of addiction deem incompatible with drug careers. NPS and head shops were thus initially understood as a possibility of escaping “junk identities”. However, they ultimately sealed injectors as abject bodies that obstructed the collaborative goals of rehabilitation and health restoration. A sense of symbolic distance shaped by notions of moral and bodily hygiene separated heroin and NPS users, as the latter increasingly came to be seen and see themselves as flawed consumers of health and freedom. Practical implications – NPS retail spaces could present valuable opportunities to insert harm-reduction resources and harness counterpublic health strategies. Social implications – Dominant definitions of substance use as unavoidable paths into self-destruction push users towards unknown compounds they can attach more fluid meanings to. This suggests that prohibitionist language still obscures rational dialogue about existing and emerging drugs. Originality/value – The paper traces ATS/NPS in an Eastern European context offering an alternative vantage point to harm-focused perspectives.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Drugs and Alcohol Today
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? consumptioncounterpublic healthdrug abjectioninjecting ats usenormative embodimentnew psychoactive substancespsychiatry and mental healthmedicine (miscellaneous)clinical psychology ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
20 Jun 2017 11:40
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 16:15