Needlework: the career of the female intravenous drug user.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis provides an account of the lives and experiences of a group of female intravenous drug users in Glasgow. Based on fifteen months' participant observation of the women in their own setting and in-depth interviews carried out at the end of this period, it is the first full ethnographic account of the lifestyle of female drug users. It charts their entry into drugs, the various ways in which they provide for their drug use, their relationships with friends, partners, family members and children as well as attitudes towards professionals such as Social Workers with whom they come into contact by virtue of their status as drug using mothers. Finally, the efforts the women make to give up their use of drugs are examined along with the reasons which make these endeavours difficult.
The evidence suggests that, ironically, the lifestyle which evolves around their use of drugs offers an arena in which the women are able to find a degree of independence and purpose otherwise lacking in their lives and which makes their drug using lifestyle attractive even when disadvantages become apparent.
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