Lives of Substance

Lives of Substance website launch

A groundbreaking new website was launched in Melbourne on Friday the 7th of October with the help of writer Kate Holden and harm reduction pioneer Jenny Kelsall. Lives of Substance is Australia’s first dedicated website presenting carefully researched personal stories of alcohol or other drug addiction, dependence or habit. Based on an innovative ARC-funded project, the website’s aim is to generate and present much-needed new…

Addiction in Australian & Canadian law

How is addiction constituted in Australian law, and how does this compare with Canadian law? This is the focus of Dr Kate Seear’s Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship, which is entitled ‘Addiction in the Australian legal system: A sociological analysis’. A SSAC Adjunct Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Law at Monash University, Kate has recently arrived in…

Listening to young people

Having just completed data collection, SSAC PhD candidate Liz Normand is looking forward to tackling the next phase of her project: data analysis. A qualitative study supervised by Dr Robyn Dwyer and Professor Suzanne Fraser, the project’s key research questions are:  How do marginalised young people in contact with alcohol and other drug (AOD) services understand their AOD…

‘Addicting’ via Twitter

SSAC’s purpose is to study, map and monitor ideas of addiction, seeking to illuminate the ways the ‘problem of addiction’ itself is constituted and operationalised in Australian society, culture and politics. Recently, SSAC researchers Dr Robyn Dwyer and Professor Suzanne Fraser began analysing the addiction concepts circulating throughout the social media platform, Twitter. As lead investigator…

Lives of Substance

In 2014 Curtin University’s Social Studies of Addiction Concepts (SSAC) research team began work on an innovative project that would underpin Australia’s first dedicated web site presenting personal experiences of people who consider themselves to have an alcohol or other drug addiction, dependence or habit. The groundbreaking Lives of Substance website offers new perspectives on…

Addiction screening tools: Assumptions and effects

In Australia and around the world addiction is defined and rendered measurable with the use of standardised addiction screening and diagnostic questionnaires or ‘tools’. Wherever statements are made about addiction, its effects and appropriate remedies, these tools have played a key part. In 2015, SSAC researchers Dr Robyn Dwyer and Professor Suzanne Fraser began analysing these tools…

Addiction: One term, many different experiences

After successful data collection in Melbourne, Bendigo, Sydney and Northern Rivers, interviews for the SSAC research project ‘Experiences of addiction, treatment and recovery’ are now complete. The interviews comprise material from 60 participants who consider themselves to have an alcohol or other drug (AOD) habit, dependence or addiction. Commenting on the experience of conducting some of the interviews,…

ARC funds fellowship on addiction in the law

Dr Kate Seear, adjunct research fellow with SSAC and Senior Lecturer in Law at Monash University, was recently awarded a prestigious DECRA fellowship by the Australian Research Council. The fellowship will support Kate to conduct a major international study on addiction and the law over the next three years (2016-18). Entitled ‘Addiction in the Australian…

How do Australian drug courts frame ‘addiction’? A Victorian case study

Showcased recently at the 2015 Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO) international criminal justice conference, the work of SSAC PhD Student, Eliana Sarmiento focuses on the role of drug treatment courts in defining addiction and shaping lives. Held in Melbourne in October, the conference was organised around the thematic question, ‘do prisons change lives?’ Eliana’s project…

Experiences of addiction: Final interviews

Following successful data collection in Melbourne, Bendigo and Sydney, SSAC research project ‘Experiences of addiction, treatment and recovery’ is now entering its final phase of interviewing, this time in the New South Wales Northern Rivers region. Research associate Dr Kiran Pienaar has commenced interviewing in Byron Bay, and plans to collect data across the region,…