Socio-spatial stigmatization and the contested space of addiction treatment: Remapping strategies of opposition to their disorder of drugs
In recent years, the Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) phenomenon has become increasingly prevalent with regard to harm reduction sites, addiction treatment facilities and their clients. Drawing from a case study of community conflict generated by the relocation of a methadone clinic into a rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood in downtown Toronto, Canada, this article offers a unique analysis of oppositional strategies regarding the perceived (socio-spatial) ‘disorder of drugs’. Based on interviews with local residents and business owners this article suggests the existence of three interrelated oppositional strategies, shifting from a recourse to urban planning policy, to a critique of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) practice, to explicit forms of socio-spatial stigmatization that posited the body of the (methadone) ‘addict’ as abject agent of infection and the clinic as a site of contagion. Exploring the dialectical, socio-spatial interplay between the body of the addict and the social body of the city, this article demonstrates the unique aspects of opposition to the physically, ideologically and discursively contested space of addiction treatment. Representations of the methadone clinic, its clients and the larger space of the neighbourhood, this paper suggests, served to situate addiction as a ‘pathology (out) of place’ and recast the city itself as a site of safe/supervised consumption. The opening of Methadone clinic was not very appealing for the local residents of Cork town because this is not what they wanted in their backyard when they first moved into their neighbourhood. Introduction: East central downtown was considered as a wasteland, sooner or later this area was a place for social services, homelessness shelters, and drug treatment facilities. But later on this area transformed itself to a “Creative city”, it soon turned out to be a urbanized village. Later they decided to bring back a methadone clinic into the community but the community members disapproved. MMT was administered orally in liquid forms. The first strategy imposed by the Corktown was portraying them as victim in which the government just used them to dump any social services projects ( a strategy that showed the description of the “moral geography”. The second strategy was that: showing clients as victims of a failing treatment system: condemning of the private for profit treatment model: that those who use it is infectious and the clinics are infectious. Third strategy clinics perceived impact on the Corktown community: clinics and clients as threatening and its out of place within their developing neighbourhood.
Literature Review: NIMBYism, socio-spatial stigmatization and the place of drugs in the city
Sibley looked at this as socio spatial exclusion (creating borders). Louis looks into NIMBYism through socio spatial stigmatization: spoiled identities and outcasts are put together as a social-spatial infection and contagion. When a specific group is unable to contribute to the economy they are stigmatized. When an individual is homeless it is assumed that they are dependent on the informal economy. Socio-spatial stigmatization: stigma is attached to people and to the place. Because of these clinics those that live within where these clinics are located become associated with it as well. Hence the society’s value will decline. NIMBY phenomenon is greatly related to homelessness shelters and HIV/AIDS, and those who use drugs are neglected in literatures. (socio spatial disorder of drugs=NIMBY)
Methodology: from junky to NARC and back again: semi-formal, open-ended, tape-recorded interviews were carried out with 20 members of the Corktown community. Majority of the participants did not want the clinic in their community. Corktown Residents and Business Association (CRBA) was...
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