Voices of addiction : an analysis of the lives of individuals living with addiction in Western Canada

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Forster, Hannah Leigh
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Department of Anthropology
This research focuses on individuals living with drug usage in a small, western Canadian town amidst the opioid crisis. The opioid crisis has reached a record high in regards to morbidity and mortality. It has become more than a crisis of opioids or narcotics. It is a massive, complex, and multifaceted public health issue which has percolated to the very bedrock of our society. Oral history narratives were collected in order to gain a deeper understanding of the circumstances and experiences which profoundly impacted the lives of these individuals and contributed to their drug usage. Eight life histories were collected at a local harm reduction clinic from 2018 to 2020. Utilizing the methodology of Oral History helped to facilitate meaningful and insightful conversation. This research proved to be valuable in contributing to the discourse surrounding individuals living with drug usage; their stories, their struggles, and their successes.
During the course of this research I had the tremendous opportunity to spend significant amounts of time with individuals currently living with drug usage. I was privileged to get to know them on a personal level, and to hear their most intimate stories. I received their consent for all contributions to this writing. I have used pseudonyms in all instances, and have altered identifiable features from their descriptions. I have changed names and descriptions of geographical places to further maintain anonymity. Despite this, I have attempted to maintain their story in its most authentic state and have refrained from embellishing any quotes, stories, or details.
drug addiction , opioid overdose , opioid crisis , drug abuse , narcotics , Southern Alberta , SCS , supervised consumption site , ARCHES , harm reduction , naloxone , Narcan , oral history , oral narrative , life history , intergenerational trauma , abuse , ACE index , indigenous , Kleinman , voices , addiction , addict , drug addict , IVDU , PWID , ILDU , Drug abusers -- Alberta -- Lethbridge -- Case studies , Opioid abuse , Marginality, Social -- Alberta, Southern , Intergenerational relations -- Psychological aspects , Psychic trauma in children , Psychic trauma in adolescence , Colonization -- Psychological aspects , Life change events , Racism -- Alberta, Southern , Southern Alberta -- Race relations , Substance abuse treatment facilities -- Alberta -- Lethbridge , Drug abuse -- Etiology , Dissertations, Academic