Alexander DeLuca, M.D.
Drug use as a ‘practice of the self’: is there any place for an ‘ethics of moderation’ in contemporary drug policy?
by Cameron Duff; Intl.J.Drug Policy; Vol. 15; pg 385-393; 2004. Abstract originally posted: 11/30/2004; [www.doctordeluca.com/Library/AbstinenceHR/Place4EthicsModInDrugPolicy.htm]. Also available as Full Text PDF: [www.doctordeluca.com/Library/AbstinenceHR/Place4EthicsModInDrugPolicy.pdf].]
paper offers a series of critical interrogations of the principles and practice
of harm minimisation. This critique draws from Michel Foucault’s account of
ethics, pleasure and moderation in pointing to some signiﬁcant gaps and
conceptual problems within Australia’s National Drug Strategy. I argue that this
strategy has had only indirect impacts upon the ways in which illicit
drugs are consumed in Australia, and on the behaviour of individual users. Part
of this problem lies in the ways in which the cultures and the contexts of
illicit drug use have been conceptualised within contemporary drug policy.
Following Foucault, I argue that drug use ought to be conceptualised as a
distinctive ‘practice of the self’. I argue further that Foucault’s work on
pleasure and ethics offers important new ways of understanding the changing
nature of drug use for young people, as well as providing new conceptual bases
for the design and delivery of harm minimisation strategies within those
settings and contexts in which drug use takes place.