News Positive drug stories - announcing a new research publication in collaboration with

At we encourage collaborative partnerships between academic researchers and our community. In 2016 we were approached by Liam Engel with a proposal to utilise data from Bluelight for his PhD, using an engaged and participatory approach. Liam is now Dr Engel (well done!) and we are thrilled to announce research from our collaboration has been published in the journal Addiction Research and Theory.

People who use drugs understand drugs and drug use in ways that are often different to the way knowledge of drug use is constructed within the dominant medico-legal discourse. Their experiences are, more often than not, represented in negative ways within dominant discourse, a disconnect that can create adverse consequences for people who use drugs, through the production of stigma and shame leading to poor health and social outcomes. A key difference in how drugs are understood by people who use drugs is the capacity of the former to recognize positive aspects of drug use and create more agentic subjectivities for themselves concerning the use of drugs. Using a thematic analysis of the online forum Australian Drug Discussion, hosted by, we identify positive drug stories and the contexts of their emergence, as subversions or modifications of dominant understandings. We argue that positive understandings of drug use, as well as recognition of the way their expression serves to generate agency for people who use drugs within or against the confines of dominant discourse, may provide opportunities to limit further the harms flowing from stigmatization and negativity.

Through this analysis, the authors came up with some strategies about ways in which we can promote more positivity when discussing drugs:
1. Respect the unique and valuable drug knowledge of consumers,
2. Subvert and challenge stigmatising terms,
3. Favour benefit maximisation over harm reduction,
4. Recognise the diversity of drug use,
5. Acknowledge the support and altruism of drug communities.

The publisher’s version of this paper can be accessed, but if you can’t get around the paywall, you can also access a PDF of the accepted manuscript.

Feel free to comment on the paper here - we'd love to hear your views on it.

I story can and will inspire someone or someone's for multiple different reasons.i'll keep it as concise as possible. So I was a very young drug user which resulted in a IV heroin addiction and a trafficking run by age 15. I went through all the hell within a decade but I was functional and even worked a normal job at a grocery store. At 19 my first son was born. By 22 I was on the run from the law which I had been combating for a couple years. Well I had only ever had shake and bake pseudoephedrine meth that we cooked in my state in the Midwest. So I never got into it but since I was on the run that would change. I moved out to LA and sure enough there was so much crystal meth. If you know you know it's insane. Well what was amazing was within a few months I completely kicked heroin and was only using meth. This is huge considering I had been to about 8 rehabs in ten years and tried everything including Suboxone and had no success. Well a year in LA and a few run ins with LAPD including a Meth charge which in LA actually is no big deal but I decided it was time to head home. I went back and turned myself in and I would of never been able to do that until I got off opiates. Well I end up doing 2 years on a 5 year charge. Get this the charge was possession of 0,076 grams of heroin that they found on me when they were saving my life from an overdose. So yeah 2 years for 76mg of personal dope. Unfortunately inside I developed a heroin habit again bcuz of my people basically controlling the supply. So I parole straight into withdrawals. But this would prove to be one of the best circumstances for me. I went the methadone clinic and started treatment. Not even one month later I met my wife.
This amazing woman I met was from out of state and just starting to build her life here. We hit it off so well I moved in after the first date which happened to fall on Valentine's day. So we build an entire life and literal foundation to our new relationship all at the same time which worked out so well. We now have been married for 4 years and have been living together 5. I completely put all the legal stuff behind me and even had some real clean time with only taking methadone. Now I'm on methadone, Vyvanse and I use Tina but in the same manner as one would take Adderall or Vyvanse. We have a amazing life and relationship and literally no worries. I give credit to my amazing wife and our love BUT Meth definitely played and is playing a big part in my turn around. I've even corrected every health issue I had including completely curing a 12 year case of chronic hep c and I did so WITHOUT ever taking a single treatment! That's something that only happens in 0.3% of those with chronic hep c. I think I made my point BUT there were some serious challenges I faced through the last 5 years. Now I'm not saying meth is a cure I had to seriously retrain myself in how to go about it responsibly and safely but I was able to. And this helped me a lot. It also proves the "once an addict always an addict" crap isn't true at all. I was an out of control addict. I was shooting 0.25 grams of meth at a time multiple times a day every day, shooting heroin and smoking crack all st once. I had zero self control and overdosed multiple times. I enjoy chemicals and altering my bodies functions through self medication so much I refused to accept I couldn't any more. So I educated myself as much as possible. Then through trial and error I completely changed everything about myself and my life while keeping my favorite chems in the mix. So much so my primary care physician and the methadone clinic know and I am legally prescribed Vyvanse, Adderall, Gabapentin and methadone. I fail my screens for methamphetamine occasionally and they are fully aware of everything and they have no issues with me at all. They actually have nothing but good things to say and every chance they get at the doctor's office they have me spend time with the students and my PCP has said numerous times that I have taught her so much. She's about 60 years old and been a doctor for a long time so that gave me a confidence boost.
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