The Street Addict Role: A Theory of Heroin Addiction

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SUNY Press, 1991 - Psychology - 223 pages
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This book provides a new answer to the question, "Why do people use heroin and other street drugs?" Drawing upon a growing body of studies of drug users conducted by sociologists and anthropologists, it attempts to integrate their findings into a theoretically unified sociocultural explanation of heroin use. The theory, which draws heavily upon the insights of symbolic interactionist and role theory, posits that there is a street subculture of heroin users. The chief role in this subculture -- the street addict role -- becomes a blueprint for living for many heroin users. Addicts are heavily committed to this role and organize their behavior and self-identification around it. From this basic starting point, the theory explains how persons become and remain addicts and how they may eventually give up addictive behavior.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
17
Towards a Role Theoretic Model of Heroin Use
39
Becoming and Being a Street Addict
67
Individualistic Explanations for Heroin Use
105
Origins of the Street Addict Role
125
Treatment for the Street Addict
141
What Is To Be Done
161
Notes
183
References
193
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About the author (1991)

Richard C. Stephens is Professor of Sociology, Cleveland State University.

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