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    Discourses in drug treatment: ‘Exploring the meaning of drug treatment in the Crinan Youth Project’

    O'Brien, Tom (2004) Discourses in drug treatment: ‘Exploring the meaning of drug treatment in the Crinan Youth Project’. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    The Crinan Youth Project is a systemic treatment programme for young people in Dublin who have developed personal, social, learning, economic and legal difficulties as a result of their use of heroin. This qualitative research inquiry examines the meaning of drug treatment in this project through the lens of adult and community education. The research methodology involved in-depth interviews, theatrical workshops and participative observation. The research looks critically at the discourses of medicine, therapy and education through which the Crinan Youth Project is constructed. Theatrical language is used at times to present the complexity of drug treatment as a drama and point of convergence between conflicting scripts, languages and discourses played out by the actors and stakeholders of drug treatment. The research found that this drug treatment drama is dominated by a medical discourse and the prescription of methadone. The medical discourse secures and maintains its powerful position in the drug treatment services through the concept of hegemony. Medicine through psychiatry has become a powerful institution and controlling influence in defining and shaping addiction and mental health services in Ireland. The research also found that psychotherapy supports this medical dominance in the treatment of addiction in return for its own script and central part in the drama of drug treatment. Furthermore the research highlights critically the position adopted by community development within the educational discourse in failing perceive or challenge this medical hegemony in drug treatment. What has developed as a result is a range of medical led services treating what is primarily a social problem, with a medical solution that is clearly not working. In this context vulnerable young people are construed as heroin addicts and prescribed methadone based solely a medical definition of addiction. A medically dominated approach to drug treatment is failing to facilitate young people in becoming the authorative authors of their own script as empowered citizens.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Discourses; drug treatment; Exploring; meaning; drug treatment; Crinan Youth Project;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 7942
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2017 13:26
    Funders: Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Ireland Post-Graduate Scholarship Scheme
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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