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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Drug transactions : the social organizaiton of a deviant activity. Stoddart, Kenneth Wayne


Most investigations into the use of legally unavailable narcotics has been conducted by psychiatrists or psychiatrically oriented researchers. Consequently, there is little available data on the social aspects of the use of such drugs. The majority of this study reports on some of the social activities performed by drug users and focuses in particular on those activities related to the buying and selling of drugs, i.e., drug transactions. The observable features of these transactions are seen as being shaped by the drug user's folk or commonsense knowledge of the law and the methods the police employ to enforce it. A section of this study deals with the meaning of the term "drug addict". It is suggested that the answer to the question "What is a drug addict?" must consult the practices of those who are involved in activities related to "defining drug addicts". This study is based mainly on observations made in a setting where heroin, a legally unavailable narcotic, could be purchased. Other observations were made of the work routines of the members of a police drug squad and the staff members of a narcotic addiction treatment center. As an adjunct to the observational data, interviews were held with drug users, drug policemen, and drug treatment officials.

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