February 2023

Neo-liberalism, harm minimisation and the construction of the Australian drug user - Matt Noffs
All Research and Trends

Both neo-liberalism and harm-minimisation play a significant role in constructing illicit drug users in particular ways.

However, while harm minimisation is a risk-centred criminal justice approach, the two movements have never enjoyed an easy relationship. In the Australian context, recent media highlights the tension between neo-liberalism and harm-minimisation in how they construct drug users. Central to this tension is the framework of choice and drug users as ‘choice-makers.’

Research demonstrates that not all users have the full privilege of choice when it comes to drug use. Indeed, illicit drug users are not a homogeneous group despite the fact that they are commonly constructed in this way.


Photo credit: Noffs