Are you sick, poor or just having fun? : A study of drug discourses in the world´s largest cocaine producing country, Colombia

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för socialt arbete - Socialhögskolan; Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för socialt arbete - Socialhögskolan


In this study we explore the present discourses on drugs and drug consumption in Colombia, a country known for its drugs, and foremost its cocaine production. Interviewing and analyzing the statements according to discourse theory made by the professional key actors in the country, the study asserts that three discourses are present in the Colombian context, namely the public health discourse, the deprivation discourse and the pleasure discourse. These discourses, it is demonstrated, view the consumer of psychoactive substances from different perspectives and relate consumption to different causes, consequences and solutions. While the public health discourse is closely connected to viewing the consumer as a sick person, and describes consumption mainly as addiction, the deprivation discourse rather speaks of the consumer as a marginalised person consuming to escape a harsh reality. According to the third perspective, the pleasure discourse, it is focal that the consumption is related to socialising and recreation. In the course of the exploration of this context and its discourses, attention is paid to the fact that the discourses are many times described as being in opposition to one another although the respondents commonly refer to different social classes while describing the consumer and that each discourse this way is related to certain groups in society. This study presents different Colombian perspectives on drug consumption, a so far scarcely researched area in the otherwise so scrutinized drug issue, viewed from a social work perspective.

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