"Maturing Out" and the Dynamics of the Biographical Trajectories of Hard Drug Addicts

Engel H. Prins


This article by the late Engel H. PRINS is based on a qualitative research project (PRINS, 1995), which focuses on the biographical experiences of hard drug addicts in the Netherlands who presented, for the most part, a polydrug pattern of drug use that included mostly heroin, but also cocaine and other drugs. His project was inspired by the influential work of Charles WINICK (1962) who had proposed the hypothesis that a large number of addicts "mature out" of their addiction in the long run. While PRINS's project was partly an attempt to discover if this hypothesis could be held up in the Netherlands and particularly in Rotterdam, a major emphasis of his research was to reconstruct the biographical processes of the addicts and to understand the dynamics of their trajectories of suffering, including the processes of "maturing out" if they "kicked the habit." Therefore, he did 65 autobiographical narrative interviews with persons who were known to be addicted to hard drugs at least ten years before the interview. The analysis of this data was carried out according to procedures of biography analysis on the basis of autobiographical narrative interviews, which were developed by SCHÜTZE (1983, 2007a, b). The article presents a theoretical framework of the different phases of a drug addiction trajectory with a special emphasis on the process of "maturing out."
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0801303


biographical research; trajectories of suffering; hard-drug addiction; autobiographical narrative interview

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Copyright (c) 2008 Engel H. Prins

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