Retrospective recall of heroin initiation and the impact on peer networks

David Best, Victoria Manning, John Strang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Initiation to heroin use is an event that is evidently memorable for the individual-even many years later. The current exploratory study assesses heroin initiation among a cohort of long-term substance users to assess the effects of heroin use on peer networks. Participants were able to recollect the occasion of their initiation in considerable detail and were able to recall and describe the peer networks in which they were involved at the time. Initiation into heroin use had had a profound effect on these networks, fragmenting groups between those who initiated and continued to use and those who did not. However, even among the continued users, there was a more gradual rupture, with loosening of social bonds outside family and the closest friendship dyads. Heroin initiation is a critical event that has received little research attention, yet its impact on social functioning is reported here as dramatic and influential in shaping the users' self-perceptions and identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-410
Number of pages14
JournalAddiction Research & Theory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Heroin initiation
  • Peer networks
  • Retrospective methods
  • Tricking

Cite this