The social context of crack using careers : an ethnographic study in London

Briggs, Daniel; (2011) The social context of crack using careers : an ethnographic study in London. PhD thesis, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. DOI:

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Despite over two decades of crack use in the UK, there is little UK-focused research and little understanding of crack careers, the social context of crack use and health-related risks. This is of concern because research in the UK suggests that service provision for crack users is inadequate. Research also suggests that there are high attrition rates of crack users in drug support services. Based on ethnographic data collected in 2004/2005, this thesis examine how crack cocaine users start using crack, what happens over time, and where they end up as a consequence - the crack scene. Many become mistrustful because of the manipulative and violent interactions that take place in these spaces. This is not helped when crack users reflect on past mistakes, which only results in increased crack use. As practical and health issues become too problematic, ways out, too, become more difficult. In addition, many find it difficult to place trust in drug support services because of negative past experiences, and feel ashamed about past failures in treatment. Taken together, the thesis shows how this is not helped by aggressive social policies, law enforcement and the configuration of drug support services.

Item Type: Thesis
Thesis Type: Doctoral
Thesis Name: PhD
Contributors: Rhodes, T (Thesis advisor); Cusick, L (Thesis advisor);
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