Reading Material

Relevant further reading, including papers by Relations Study co-investigators.

Whittaker A, Martin F, Olsen A & Wincup E. (2020) Governing parental drug use in the UK: what’s hidden in “Hidden Harm?”. Contemporary Drug Problems, 47 (3): 170-87.

In this paper, Whittaker, Martin, Olsen, and Wincup reflect on the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs’ Hidden Harm report (2003), examining its problematizations of parental drug use and their implications for the governance of family life. The authors examine the report’s rationalities, subjectivities, and strategies, arguing that they marginalise and stigmatise families further and hide alternative approaches to understanding, representing, and responding to the complex needs of children and families who are disproportionately affected by health and social inequalities.

Brown K & Wincup E. (2020) Producing the vulnerable subject in English drug policy. International Journal of Drug Policy, 80: 102525.

In this article, Brown and Wincup draw upon insights from a range of policy analyses to consider the underlying assumptions and various effects of the conceptual logics of vulnerability. The authors argue that the current problematisation of vulnerability in English drug policy supports the operation of subtle disciplinary mechanisms to regulate the behaviour of those deemed vulnerable, underplaying the role of material inequalities and social divisions in the unevenness of drug-related harms.

Martin F (2019). Engaging with motherhood and parenthood: A commentary on the social science drugs literature. International Journal of Drug Policy 68: 147-153.

In this commentary, Martin argues that novel and important insights might be generated around parenting in the context of substance use by engaging with the everyday experiences of mothering and/or parenting and with contemporary theorising around motherhood and parenthood. Martin notes that by engaging with with substance-using parents’ experiences as parents and recognising the changing norms of mothering/parenting, could both strengthen our understanding of parenting in the context of drug and alcohol use and offer new insights into the meaning, significance, and experience of mothering and parenting in contemporary western societies more generally.

Radcliffe P, Chandler, A, Martin F & Whittaker A. (2019) Parents and substance use: Editorial essay. International Journal of Drug Policy 68: 97-100.

In this editorial essay introducing a special issue of the International Journal of Drug Policy, Radcliffe, Chandler, Martin, and Whittaker consolidate and introduce existing and emerging research around substance use and parenthood. The authors introduce the issue’s paper contributions, themed around techniques of surveillance, how substance using parents become problematised, and the biopolitics of drug use in young people. The essay also argues that research around parental drug use could benefit by focussing on how parents who use drugs are governed as parents rather than drug use more broadly.

Canfield M, Radcliffe P, Marlow S, Boreham M & Gilchrist G. (2017) Maternal substance use and child protection: a rapid evidence assessment of factors associated with loss of child care. Child Abuse & Neglect, 70: 11–27.

This article reviews literatures that examine factors associated with mothers who use substances losing care of their children. The authors identify several influencing factors including maternal characteristics, psychological factors, patterns of substance use, and formal and informal support. The authors argue that factors could inform a prevention agenda and afford services the opportunity to design interventions that meet the needs of those mothers who are more likely to lose care of their children.

Whittaker A, Williams N, Chandler A, Cunningham-Burley S, McGorm K & Mathews G. (2016) The burden of care: a focus group study of healthcare practitioners in Scotland talking about parental drug misuse. Health & Social Care in the Community, 24 (5): e72-e80.

In this paper, the authors consider how healthcare practitioners deliver parenting support for parents who are drug-dependent in light of the limited knowledge around this agenda. The authors identify a ‘burden of care’ narrative emergent out of focus groups with frontline healthcare professionals in Scotland, with practitioners identifying ambivalence around parental support, anxiety around undertaking interventions, and a lack of resources and organisational support as concerns. Among other findings, the authors argue that their findings raise questions around who is responsible to provide parenting support to parents who use drugs, especially those detached from the child protection system.