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Harm Reduction From Below: On Sharing and Caring in Drug Use

Contemporary Drug Problems, 2016, Vol.43(3), pp.199-215 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Harm Reduction From Below: On Sharing and Caring in Drug Use
  • Author: Van Schipstal, I. ; Mishra, S. ; Berning, M. ; Murray, H.
  • Contributor: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body
  • Found In: Contemporary Drug Problems, 2016, Vol.43(3), pp.199-215 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
  • Subjects: Party Drugs ; Designer Drugs ; Nps ; Virtual Communities ; User Experience ; Harm Reduction
  • Language: English
  • Description: This article focuses on how recreational drug users in the Netherlands and in online communities navigate the risks and reduce the harms they associate with psychoactive drug use. To do so, we examined the protective practices they invent, use, and share with their immediate peers and with larger drug experimenting communities online. The labor involved in protective practices and that which ultimately informs harm reduction from below follows three interrelated trajectories: (1) the handling and sharing of drugs to facilitate hassle-free drug use, (2) creating pleasant and friendly spaces that we highlight under the practices of drug use attunements, and (3) the seeking and sharing of information in practices to spread the good high. We focus not only on users’ concerns but also on how these concerns shape their approach to drugs, what young people do to navigate uncertainties, and how they reach out to and create different sources of knowledge to minimize adversities and to improve highs. Harm reduction from below, we argue, can best be seen in the practices of sharing around drug use and in the caring for the larger community of drug-using peers.
  • Identifier: ISSN: ; ISSN: 0091-4509

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