Crime, Life, Death and Recovery: 25
years of research on heroin injectors
Event presented by Professor Richard
Hammersley, Professor of Health Psychology.
There is great concern about drug problems
and drug injecting, but interventions to prevent and treat them are
not as successful as they could be. The most common explanation of
addiction is that it is something like a brain disease so that when
people take certain drugs like heroin they cannot help but become
addicted. Research on drug problems has found that the reality is
more complex and involves a mixture of psychological and social
factors. This lecture will draw upon 25 years of research to
explore the following questions: Why is heroin use linked to crime?
Why do people take drugs? Why do most drug users not become
addicted? Why do people overdose? What patterns of drug dependence
are there? What can be done to help recovery? What options are
there for changing drug laws?
Richard Hammersley is Professor of Health
Psychology in the Department of Psychology. He has been researching
drug use and drug problems since 1986 in work that crosses
boundaries between psychology, sociology and health. His
publications include books on drugs policy, drugs and crime,
ecstasy, and cocaine, and a number of major reports for the Home
Office, the Scottish Office and the Youth Justice Board. His many
papers include work on how young people grow out of crime and grow
into drug use, on drug overdoses in Scotland, on cannabis and on
‘legal’ highs. He has just completed a large study collecting the
life stories of people who have injected drugs, to improve
understanding of their pathways into and out of drug injecting and
identify the strengths that they bring to recovery.
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