Article: No Coming Back to Sick Society by Katariina Parhi

A new paper published on the Journal for the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences might be of interest to the H-Madness network.


This article explores the emergence of “new” drug users by taking a closer look at the medical records of individuals who received inpatient treatment in the Järvenpää Social Hospital in Finland due to their drug consumption during the years 1965–1975. The hospital focused on social and psychiatric care. The Social Hospital patients differentiated themselves between “classical narcomaniacs” and new users, which indicates that a new user segment had emerged. The hospital staff described the new patients’ personalities as shortsighted and dependent on others but avoided making homogenic or dogmatic psychiatric interpretations. Both the patients and the staff referred to “drug philosophy” or “drug ideology,” which positioned drug consumption in a certain work-avoiding societal context. The main argument is that the Social Hospital archive provides an invaluable source by offering a combination of medical and societal analysis together with patients’ perspectives. Drug use was seen as a social problem that was never simplified into any one cause. Instead, the files offer a nuanced view to drug use and youth culture in Finland.

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