The threat of pain relief: drugs in Australia and the cultural neuromatrix
Jim Potter Meeting Room
States of the Nation seminar series
Interdisciplinary discussions on research important to contemporary Australia, and Australia’s relations to the region and the world.
Threats abound for governments who ignore the dynamics of demand for pain relieving drugs. North America has experienced waves of both legal and illegal opioid epidemics. Australia is now experiencing heightened problems with heroin and some prescribed pain relievers. In 2018 Australia’s therapeutic goods administration restricted access to over the counter codeine.
This paper explores the demand for pain relief. Numerous stories are told about demand: ranging from life headaches to rampant addiction to social malaise in regional Australia. This paper will propose an alternative way to approach the demand for pain relief using a cultural extension of the medical metaphor of the neuromatrix.
All welcome, lunch provided, no bookings required.
Associate Professor John Fitzgerald, Criminology
Associate Professor John Fitzgerald
School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Fitzgerald is an experienced applied alcohol and drug policy researcher with extensive experience working in the prevention and justice health arena. His research focusses on the systems and processes underpinning drug policy. He has disciplinary expertise in ethnography, social science research methods, social network analysis, discourse analysis and health promotion. John has received numerous research grants from national funding bodies and has worked internationally assisting with training and policy development. In 2008 John served as Associate Dean (Knowledge Transfer) in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. Between 2009 and 2012 John took leave from the University as an executive at VicHealth the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation where he led the research, alcohol, tobacco and healthy eating programs and as CEO. At the end of his three years away John returned to The University of Melbourne to continue his research and teaching. In 2015 he published a sole authored book Framing Drugs: Bodies, Space, Economy and Crime (Palgrave). In 2017 he spent six months working with Victoria Police providing academic oversight of the development of a new operational illicit drug strategy. His research interests focus on health outcomes, network analysis and the systemslevel factors contributing to drugrelated harm. John’s main contributions include demonstrable policy change and methodological innovation matched to policy needs.