‘Chronic criminal disease: An SRV-based critique of drug addiction services’ by Susanne Hartfiel

October 6, 2011

Hartfiel, S. (2006). Chronic criminal disease: An SRV-based critique of drug addiction services. The SRV Journal, 1(2), 7-24.

full text PDF: chronic criminal disease.cwk (WP)

This article analyzes methadone programs, set up to treat heroin addiction in two major German cities, using the SRV concept of service model coherency as its analytical framework. It describes: the people served by such programs, typical assumptions underlying methadone treatment, and the various services provided. The author shows what impacts methadone programs tend to have on recipient’s: overall drug use patterns, health, perception by others, and their ability to leave devalued roles and enter more valued ones. It describes harmful service practices as well as some that are more beneficial to service recipients. The underlying medical model of service is analyzed, including its faulty assumptions from which most other problems flow.

The article concludes that methadone treatment comes with numerous problems and only few benefits. Methadone programs are shown to be extremely incoherent largely because they are based on wrong assumptions of what drug addiction is and thus do not offer in their contents and processes what recipients really need. Lastly the question is asked, who benefits from such incoherent services, if not the service recipients for whom the programs are said to be offered.

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