The Qualitative Methods Journal Club (QMJC) entry for August provides a timely supplement to articles marking International Overdose Awareness Day and articles examining annual drug-related death stats in England, Wales and Scotland. The paper selected by the Journal Club challenges the ‘ageing cohort theory’, and highlights an academic writing style that shows empathy, humanity, and connection to participants in the study.

The ‘ageing cohort theory’ suggests that people who have been taking drugs for many decades are more vulnerable to drug-related death due to cumulative mental and physical health conditions. Reflecting on the experiences of 15 older people based in the South London area of England, the author provides a different interpretation, concluding that “current treatment practices, often designed around younger, newer users, and thus drugs being recover-able, are leaving older service users feeling ignored, or worse still, punished and constrained by limited and inflexible [opioid substitute] medications and regimes”.

The Qualitative Methods Journal Club “greatly enjoyed the content of this article and discussed at length why this work should be regarded as a ‘good example’ of a qualitative research paper”.

The discussion (which can be found here) was led and summarised by Stephen Parkin (National Addiction Centre, KCL). All other QMJC discussions can be found here.

Article: Dennis, F. (2021) Drug fatalities and treatment fatalism: Complicating the ageing cohort theory. Sociology of Health and Illness. 43, 5, pp1175-1190.

A note about the image: On 31 August 2021, Maudsley Hospital and King’s College London’s National Addiction Centre was lit up in purple to raise awareness of International Overdose Awareness Day.

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