This qualitative study, based on a series of 30 in-depth interviews and 109 economic surveys conducted with active heroin users residing in and around Detroit, Michigan, describes reported patterns of heroin use and income generation activities. In spite of lack of access to regular, legal employment, we found that many participants displayed a dedication to regular daily routine and a sense of risk management or control. These findings are discussed relative to past research on heroin addiction as well as recent research on the changing nature of employment. We argue that this sample fits somewhere in between the controlled or working addict, and the "junkie" or "righteous dope fiend" of urban lore. We draw a connection between these stable patterns of addiction and income generation and the demands of informal and insecure labor markets. Finally, we discuss the implications of these findings for further research, interventions, and public policy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health