Visible and invisible walls: reflections on the itinerary of drug users in Brazil

LANNUZYA VERÍSSIMO E OLIVEIRA ARDIGLEUSA ALVES COELHO PÉTALA TUANI CÂNDIDO DE OLIVEIRA SALVADOR CLAÚDIA HELENA SOARES DE MORAIS FREITAS About the authors

Abstract

This theoretical essay aims to contribute to the debate on care for drug users in Brazil. Thus, it problematizes the prohibitionist and segregating approach historically offered to this population and proposes discussion on drug use from the perspective of health and the social / legal sciences. In addition, it analyzes the itinerary of drug users, who end up occupying “permanently” and cyclically public spaces that corroborate the worsening of their life and illness trajectory, causing a direct burden on themselves and their families, enhancing segregation and redesigning asylums, prisons and streets. Some sociological and anthropological contributions by Erving Goffman are revisited, which offer interpretation keys for understanding the stigmas that permeate drug users, especially after their inclusion in total institutions. The proposed reflections underscore the need to consolidate harm reduction strategies as an integral and ethical care tool for this clientele.

Keywords:
drug users; prisons; psychiatric hospitals; street population

IMS-UERJ PHYSIS - Revista de Saúde Coletiva, Instituto de Medicina Social Hesio Cordeiro - UERJ, Rua São Francisco Xavier, 524 - sala 6013-E- Maracanã, 20550-013 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ, Tel.: (21) 2334-0504 - ramal 268 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: publicacoes@ims.uerj.br