Chapter 6

Some Methodological and Practical Implications of Employing Drug Users as Indigenous Fieldworkers

Robert Power

Illicit drug use is, by its very nature, a largely hidden activity. As Wiener (1970) rightly points out, drug using networks tend to be exclusive, functioning to prevent access and knowledge to non-users. As with any deviant or illegal activity, its participants are often wary of outsiders, particularly those who are inquisitive. However, it has become increasingly apparent, particularly over the last decade, that we need to collect research information on illicit drug users in the community. This has stemmed from a number of issues of concern: the realization that only a minority of problem drug users attend established services; ...

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