A series of conference and seminar presentations has the SSAC team getting ready for a very busy second half of 2018. Team members will be presenting findings from past and current research programs at a range of conferences and public events.
First, Dr Adrian Farrugia will be presenting his Curtin University PhD research on Australian drug education and young men’s party drug consumption in a workshop to be held at the Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) Australian Youth AOD conference (16-17 August). Adrian will look closely at drug education’s reliance on a negative model of youth alcohol and other drug consumption, arguing that it sidelines the influence of context on consumption practices, risks and pleasures. He will also draw on research he conducted on party drug consumption experiences to explore a novel approach to drug education able to consider both the pleasures and dangers of alcohol and other drug use.
Also in August, Ms Emily Lenton will be delivering a poster presentation on blood-borne virus prevention and blood awareness among men who inject performance and image-enhancing drugs at the 11th Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference in Adelaide, 13-15th August. Drawing on the work of body theorist Margrit Shildrick, the poster examines how men who inject performance and image-enhancing drugs understand their bodies, with a particular focus on blood awareness and infection control. The aim of the research is to improve engagement and education strategies. This poster draws on the first 36 interviews conducted for our national ARC-funded qualitative project on men who inject performance and image-enhancing drugs.
September begins with members of the SSAC team Professor Suzanne Fraser, Associate Professor Kate Seear, Dr Adrian Farrugia and Dr Renae Fomiatti presenting their innovative program of ‘ontopolitically-oriented’ research in a dedicated session at the International Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) annual conference, ‘TRANSnational STS’ (Saturday 1 September 4pm). The session will consist of four papers exploring different aspects of ‘ontopolitically-oriented’ research:
- Suzanne Fraser will propose a set of features of ontopolitically-oriented research and explore how she is mobilising them in SSAC research;
- Kate Seear will explore what an ontopolitically-oriented approach to legal practice might mean for drug law reform;
- Renae Fomiatti will offer an ontopolitically-oriented approach to testosterone to better analyse the multiple forces mediating men’s performance and image-enhancing drug consumption;
- Adrian Farrugia will present an ontopolitically-oriented approach to the forms of interpersonal care that can emerge when people administer take-home naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses.
Also in September, Dr Renae Fomiatti will be presenting early findings from the program’s ARC-funded take-home naloxone research at the Centre for Research Excellence in Injecting Drug use (CREIDU) annual symposium (on Saturday the 21st). This presentation will discuss barriers to accessing take-home naloxone. Drawing on Bruno Latour’s concept of ‘affordances’, it will reconceptualise responsibility for naloxone uptake as shared. Participants identify various local relations and mechanisms that impede naloxone uptake. These include: inconsistent education strategies around availability; targeting it as the responsibility of opioid consumers only; regional impediments to access; uncertainty about the legality of providing and carrying it; stigma and limited knowledge about overdose. By analysing the networks that make naloxone more or less accessible, we reconsider and enact issues of access as questions of social relations and policy regimes. We hope to identify new opportunities for policy-makers and practitioners to facilitate the more equitable distribution of responsibility for tackling overdose.
In October, SSAC Program Leader Professor Suzanne Fraser will be giving two very different presentations. One will be delivered to the SWS Local Health District Drug Health Services (DHS) research forum (Liverpool, NSW) on the suite of projects SSAC is currently conducting with DHS (October 4). Looking at stigma, experiences of heavy alcohol consumption, and assertive youth outreach, the projects form the basis for a new program of collaborative research currently being developed by DHS and SSAC. For the other presentation, Suzanne will be delivering a keynote address to a symposium on medicalisation, to be held at Monash University on October 25. This presentation will explore the notion of medicalisation through issues raised by take-home naloxone, detailing the points of overlap and divergence between medicalising imperatives and the management of overdose through the medication naloxone.
In early November the Australian Professional Society of Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) holds its annual conference. This year, Dr Robyn Dwyer will be presenting on our take-home naloxone research (Monday, 5 November). Robyn will offer an original approach to understanding take-home naloxone by considering how specific forms of care take shape during administration events. The presentation will study the political implications of a focus on care in overdose prevention, specifically considering the unequal power relations implicated in forms of care. This approach, it will be argued, has the potential to constitute take-home naloxone as a destigmatising intervention in that it has the capacity to emphasise the reciprocal caring relations between people very often positioned as uncaring.
Next up in November Adrian will also be presenting on take-home naloxone and the politics of care, this time at the American Anthropological Association conference (Wednesday 14th – Sunday 18th). He will present as part of a panel entitled ‘Situating and expanding drugs’ capacities’ which will explore how the capacities and effects of drugs can exceed, disrupt and repurpose chemical composition. Drawing on Bruno Latour’s notion of ‘affordance’, Adrian will analyse how take-home naloxone affords more than just emergency overdose revival. He will argue that take-home naloxone is implicated in interpersonal relations of care that shape the multiple affordances of the drug. Focussing on two case studies, Adrian analyses how take-home naloxone can afford a regime of care within a particular intimate partnership that allows the participant to care for her terminally ill partner and can affords a political process in which the participant takes care of other opioid consumers with a sensitivity to care that well exceeds the goal of revival.
Also in November (Thursday 22nd), SSAC Program Leader Professor Suzanne Fraser will be delivering an invited presentation to an international workshop on ‘habit’ (to be held at Western Sydney University). The closed workshop brings together key thinkers on habit including Nikolas Rose, Carolyn Pedwell and Tony Bennett to consider the ways habit, governmentality and the self are co-produced.
The SSAC team will be making a number of contributions to the National Drug Research Institute annual symposium (Thursday, 22 November). During a poster session, SSAC PhD student Eliana Sarmiento will be presenting findings from her research on the Victorian drug court while Renae will present a poster on men’s consumption of performance and image enhancing drugs. In a later session, Adrian will present on the strategies that people who consume opioids use to manage and avert potential conflict during take-home naloxone administration events. Suzanne will then present on the latest modules being added to SSAC’s livesofsubstance.org website. Lives of substance was developed from an ARC-funded national qualitative research project on experiences of alcohol and other drug addiction, dependence or habit in Australia. The new modules will explore people’s experiences with take-home naloxone and of alcohol consumption.
Enquiries about any of these presentations should be directed to our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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