Re: Coercion in drugtreatment

It seems that you've gotten plenty of suggestions for Foucault material, so
I'll contribute a few other related sources that you may or may not already
be aware of. One of the classics on this topic is Nicholas Kittrie's "The
Right to Be Different: Deviance and Enforced Therapy" (1971) which talks a
lot about the nature of power as it relates to the "therapeutic state."
Kittrie comes from a libertarian position. Though the book is geared towards
all kinds of "mental illness," there is a whole chapter on drug addiction as
well as a chapter on compulsory treatment for alcoholics. I did a paper once
on the social construction of mental illness and along with "Madness and
Civilization" used a couple of Thomas Szasz's books, in particular "The Myth
of Mental Illness" and "The Manufacture of Madness," which fit in well with
Foucault's positions on the subject. Also, Szasz's book "Ceremonial
Chemistry: The ritual persecution of drugs, addicts, and pushers" is directly
on point.
You also might want to check out Desmond Manderson's "Metamorphoses: Clashing
Symbols in the Social Construction of Drugs"-- [(1995) Journal of Drug
Issues, vol. 25, #4, pp 799-816] which discusses the ways in which the
construction of the category "drug addict" serves to create and perpetuate
certain behavioral tendencies in those who use drugs. Manderson also spends
some time talking about the reification of drugs as symbols and their
fetishization by both users and staunch prohibitionists.

A fascinating current instance of coercion and drug use is the organization
C.R.A.C.K. = "Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity" (that 'K' in 'Kommunity'
is awfully ominous). Here is their website:

<A HREF="";>C.R.A.C.K. (crack) Children
Requiring a Caring Kommunity</A> .

Their URL is "" !!! The deal is that if you are a
female currently using crack cocaine, they will pay you $200 (I think) if you
agree to undergo sterilization. This is an interesting instance of coercion
as "voluntary." It says much about conceptions of "the addict" and their
capacity for free will (i.e., through their overwhelming desire for crack
they will be willing to sacrifice their reproductive capabilities for 2 hours
worth of high time) as well as the inevitable conclusions to be drawn
regarding the genetics/progeny of drug users. That the billboards
advertising this "deal" are mostly displayed in South Central LA is no

--Archie Type

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