A paper decades in the making

The following questions are posed in our article “Coming Out”: Stigma, Reflexivity and the Drug Researcher’s Drug Use, published today in Contemporary Drug Problems. Download the accepted version here.

Should drug researchers who have direct personal experience of taking illegal drugs discuss these experiences in their work?

Are experts at least partly impaired in their understanding of drug use if they do not have that key component of expertise — personal experience?

Should researchers be open about their own personal experiences of drug use and the role these experiences have played in shaping their own research?

Why might it be important for drug researchers to publicly disclose their own drug use when it comes to engaging with policy makers and with the public at large?

Is it possible that by widening the concept of who uses prohibited substances we can break down the othering that occurs in public discourse and in public policy?

Conversely, by staying quiet about our use of prohibited substances, do we not perpetuate a false dichotomy between the researcher and the researched?

What are the implications of privilege and intersectionality for decisions about whether and how to disclose drug taking and drug use identities?

In short – Are we ready to come out?

In announcing the publication of this journal article today in Contemporary Drug Problems, I’d like to thank a few people. My co-authors, Anna, Judith and Gary, with whom I have had the pleasure of discussing this topic and nutting out a shared position for around 4 years now. My husband and family, for supporting my engagement with this topic and supporting this rather unusual career of mine. A much wider network of colleagues and mentors who have supported my work. And you, the readers, with who I look forward to further discussion once you’ve had a look at what we have written.

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