Encountering “Triggers”

Dennis, Fay. 2016. Encountering “Triggers”. Contemporary Drug Problems, 43(2), pp. 126-141. ISSN 0091-4509 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Drawing primarily on interviews conducted in London with people who inject drugs, this article looks at participants’ accounts of encountering “triggers,” variously described as material things, spaces, people, situations, and memories. This article argues that instead of understanding triggers or “cue-induced cravings” in terms of a separation between objects and subjects, the former triggering the latter, they suggest a relational “becoming” that, if taken seriously, can influence a more open approach to drug use and reducing drug-related harm. Triggers are a key area of interest for neurological models of addiction, particularly in light of neuroimaging technologies that claim to visualize the phenomenon, but in sociological studies of alcohol and other drugs, they are seldom explored. This can be linked to a historical interest in the decision-making individual. However, in rethinking triggers in terms of “the event”, and the body as something we do, neither subject/object nor body/world pre-exist each other. Therefore, triggers, as emphasized by the participants in this study, become a way of shining light on some of the complex relationships people have with drugs that go beyond rationality and reason, without reducing such practices to irrationality or loss of self-control.

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15 March 2016Published
7 February 2016Accepted

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04 Sep 2017 11:45

Last Modified:

04 Sep 2017 11:45

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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