Tracing the 'event' of drug use: 'context' and the co-production of a night out on MDMA

Ella Dilkes-Frayne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In this article I propose that current research addressing the mediating role of context in youth illicit drug use can be complemented by examining drug use events. Events analyses capture the temporality, dynamism, and multiplicity often lacking in research into contexts of use. Drawing on Actor Network Theory, I conceptualize the drug-use event as a process of successive mediations, whereby shifting relations bring about transformations and actions including drug use. The methodological aspects of tracing drug-use events are discussed before an account of an event in which a young man takes MDMA at a music festival in Melbourne, Australia. Building on this account, 1 illustrate the value of this approach for rethinking how we conceive of contextual influences on drug use, and suggest how analyzing events could assist the project of harm reduction
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445 - 479
Number of pages35
JournalContemporary Drug Problems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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