In her second day as a Guest Blogger, Helen Keane of Australian National University examines how “niceness” and the lack thereof shape our understandings of heavy drug use.
In the previous post I discussed the distinction between dependence and addiction. Here I’d like to raise a few issues about the psychological/behavioural model of addiction developed in pain medicine. I’ve written about this topic with Kelly Hamill in this paper.[i]
In the context of pain treatment, opiates are not dangerous illicit substances but effective and safe analgesics appropriate for long-term use in selected patients.
Because the prescription of opiate drugs is central to its clinical practice, pain medicine has developed a definition of addiction which does not implicate drugs as the primary agents of addictive disorder.Instead it constructs addiction as a psychological disorder recognisable by the addict’s out of control behaviour, her drug-focused lifestyle and her destructive patterns of drug use. The prevention of addiction in the pain clinic therefore centres on the identification of certain “at risk” and predisposed individuals, including those with a past history of substance abuse.