Description

The Clinic and Elsewhere

Addiction, Adolescents, and the Afterlife of Therapy

Todd Meyers

  • Published: 2013
  • Subject Listing: Anthropology, Public Health
  • Bibliographic information: 170 pp., 11 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Series: In Vivo
  • Contents

Despite increasingly nuanced understandings of the neurobiology of addiction and a greater appreciation of the social and economic conditions that allow drug dependency to persist, there remain many unknowns regarding the individual experience of substance abuse and its treatment. In recent years, novel pharmaceutical therapies have given rise to both new hopes for recovery and renewed fears about drug diversion and abuse. In The Clinic and Elsewhere, Todd Meyers looks at the problems of meaning caused by drug dependency and appraises the changing terms of medical intervention today.

By following a group of adolescents from the time they enter drug rehabilitation treatment through their reentry into the outside world-the clinic, their homes and neighborhoods, and other institutional settings-Meyers traces patterns of life that become mediated by pharmaceutical intervention. His focus is not on the drug economy but rather on the therapeutic economy, where new markets, transactions of care, and highly porous conceptions of success and failure come together to shape addiction and recovery. The book is at once a meditative work of anthropology, a demonstration of the theoretical and methodological limits of medical research, and a forceful intervention into the philosophy of therapeutics at the level of the individual.
Todd Meyers is assistant professor of medical anthropology at Wayne State University in Detroit.

"Unflinching and erudite, The Clinic and Elsewhere is an evocative ethnography on the meaning of clinical encounters in an age of adolescent addiction. For people living with addictions, family members, treatment providers, and all who struggle with recovery, Meyers shows how much place matters for the therapeutic careers of adolescent patients."
-Nancy D. Campbell, author of Discovering Addiction: The Science and Politics of Substance Abuse Research

"A provocative and innovative portrayal of the real-life tension between curing and healing-a tension that pervades both the moral-social world of the clinic and the life-world of the patient and the various bodies that she either occupies or provides-experimental, therapeutic, dangerous, medically altered, reluctant, and recovered."
-Allan Young, McGill University

"The Clinic and Elsewhere is a compelling exploration of the uses and implications of drug addiction treatment. I know of no other text that examines the many tricky dimensions of substance use therapy programs in such rich and informed terms. Part anthropological inquiry, part ethnographic portrait, it will make a lasting contribution to the study of medical care and practice in the world today."
-Robert Desjarlais, Sarah Lawrence College

Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. New Uses for Old Things
2. Monasticism
3. Appropriations of Care
4. Therapy and Reason
5. Patienthood
6. Disappearances
Conclusion: Enduring Presence
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Reviews

"Meyers' exceptional work does a wonderful job of making 'visible what is visible' about the lived realities of adolescent drug users, the emergent geographies of contemporary drug treatment, and the philosophical foundations of the clinic."
-Jessie Proudfoot, Society and Space-Environment and Planning, August 2013

"Unlike the more commonly encountered statistics of drug use and abuse found in other books, the author's ethnographic approach provides a very real sense of the subjects' lives, their experiences, and their definitions of success and failure."
-Choice Reviews, September 2013

"Central to this compelling ethnographic monograph, as indicated by its subtitle, is what the author calls the 'afterlife' of therapy: what happens to teenagers following buprenorphinetreatment?...There is much to recommend here for scientists concerned with what happens to the substances they develop once they have left the walls of the laboratory, and how young lives are impacted and changed in the process."
-Dr. Martyn Pickersgill, The Biologist