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‘Being human’ and the ‘moral sidestep’ in drug policy: explaining government inaction on opioid-related deaths in the UK

Stevens, Alex (2019) ‘Being human’ and the ‘moral sidestep’ in drug policy: explaining government inaction on opioid-related deaths in the UK. Addictive Behaviors, 90 . pp. 444-450. ISSN 0306-4603. (doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.08.036)

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https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.08.036

Abstract

Background: With drug-related deaths at record levels in the UK, the government faces two potential sources

likely to suffer from such deaths; i.e. working class people living in de-industrialised areas. The other source is

Aim: This article aims to explain why, in the face of these two potential sources of pressure, the UK

Method: The article uses critical realist discourse analysis of official documents and ministerial speeches on

ideas on ‘being human’ and by drawing on Sayer’s (2005) work on the ‘moral significance of class’.

excluded from articulating their interests in ‘late welfare capitalism’ in a project of depersonalising ‘class

Conservative politicians dismiss ‘evidence-based’ ideas on the reduction of drug-related death through a

effectiveness. This is consistent with the broader moral and political pursuit of partial state shrinkage which

Conservative politicians and the social groups they represent have pursued since the 1970s.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.08.036
Uncontrolled keywords: critical realist discourse analysis; drug-related death; evidence-based policy; class contempt; agency; abjection; UK; drug policy; political economy
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Alex Stevens
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2018 13:34 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2020 00:00 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/68861 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Stevens, Alex: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4878-3871
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