Shooting Dope: Career Patterns of Hard-Core Heroin Users

Shooting Dope: Career Patterns of Hard-Core Heroin Users

Shooting Dope: Career Patterns of Hard-Core Heroin Users

Shooting Dope: Career Patterns of Hard-Core Heroin Users

Synopsis

Want ads won't list it; minimum wage and the mommy-track are irrelevant. Yet, Faupel maintains, hard-core heroin use is a career much like any conventional occupation. In both cases, certain activities are valued more than others, ethics govern the workplace, entrepreneurial skills are rewarded, and turning points mark the career path.

Excerpt

James A. Inciardi

Decades of drug research by social scientists have exposed a finite number of recurring research and policy issues that continue to beg for empirical evidence. the nature of the relationship between drug use and criminal behavior is but the most persistent of these knotty issues, and it has occupied much of my own professional career. Are addicts forced into crime because of their compulsive need for expensive drugs? Or, are they rather drawn into a criminal life-style for many of the same reasons they experiment with drugs, namely, that it is held out as an attractive life-style by those whose opinions they regard highly? These are questions that continue to occupy the debate over the so-called drugs-crime nexus. Beyond this, the quality of addict criminality has been the focus of scholars across disciplines. the question of whether addicts are skilled professionals or undisciplined opportunists continues to fuel debate in the literature. the ethical character of addict behavior is an issue that has captured the imagination of the popular media as well as the scholarly community. the popular cultural portrayal of the addict as a moral degenerate has been challenged in much of the ethnographic research on the subject.

Charles Faupel has used these three recurring issues as a forum for elaborating the complex nature of addict careers. the career paradigm elaborated here is rooted firmly in the experiences of the participants in the heroin subculture itself. Faupel has managed to avoid an over- simplified view of addict careers that might result from merely overlay-

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