New study examines how racial attitudes are affecting the care of certain sectors of American society
Boston, USA, December 2012 – Research published in a new book, “Critical Perspectives on Addiction” published by Emerald Group Publishing, refutes the claims that biomedicalization reduces stigma or racial inequalities amongst opioid dependents. The research instead argues that the development of buprenorphine as a treatment for drug addiction has intensified the stigma faced by addicts from an ethnic minority.
The research, entitled “Two tiers of Biomedicalization: Methadone, Buprenorphine and the Racial Politics of Addiction Treatment” was conducted by Helena Hansen and Samuel K. Roberts, who examined the use of these two substances as treatment for opioid dependence. Reviewing unpublished government records, published articles and having observed patients undergoing addiction treatment, they found that the association of methadone with black and Latino heroin users has contributed to its increased federal regulation. In contrast, buprenorphine, associated with white middle class opioid users, has been deregulated for use in private physicians’ offices.
The authors comment, “The results found in this study challenge the view held by advocates of biomedicalization that behaviours and conditions thought of as social or moral, such as addiction, are reduced as a result of biomedicalization. This implies that associated racial inequalities are also reduced. In fact, this paper highlights that racial attitudes are affecting the treatment of drug addiction in black and Latino low-income patients”.
Helena Hansen and Samuel Roberts are available for comment. To arrange an interview, please contact Samuel Roberts, email email@example.com
For further information about Critical Perspectives on Addiction, or to register an interest in inspection copies, please contact Cristina Irving Turner, Publisher, firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
Critical Perspectives on Addiction is published as Volume 14 of the Advances of Medical Sociology book series published by Emerald Group Publishing. The book examines how medical, behavioural and punitive frameworks come together to shape and control those seen as addicts, and fills a gap in addiction studies by offering critical perspectives that interrogate and challenge traditional and/or mainstream understandings of addiction. For more information, visit http://books.emeraldinsight.com/display.asp?K=9781780529301
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