Surviving Heroin:
Interviews with Women in Methadone Clinics

Jennifer Friedman and Marixsa Alicea

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"Must reading for those involved in the treatment industry. As a consciousness raiser, this book is to the treatment of women addicts what Susan Brownmiller's Against Our Will was to the feminist movement generally. . . . Eloquently and forcefully portrays the dilemma of women on methadone." --Charles Faupel, Auburn University, author of Shooting Dope: Career Patterns of Hard-Core Heroin Users

Surviving Heroin will be indispensable for addiction and women’s studies scholars and for drug treatment practitioners, social workers, and other advocates for women's health.
This rich ethnographic account of the experiences of 37 women who use methadone--heroin survivors whose lives continue to be controlled by methadone and by the clinics that dispense it--concentrates on women in Florida who grew up during the 1950s and 1960s. The authors explore the intersection of drug use and race, class, and gender oppression.
Their analysis suggests new ways to understand how women on heroin and methadone struggle to regain a sense of legitimacy and control in their lives. While methadone clinics offer a legal alternative to drugs, the authors show that the clinics also expect the medicated women to conform to traditional images of femininity. Nonetheless, they argue, the women still find ways to be creative and to challenge the systems that oppress them.
The book includes the stories of white, privileged women as well as the more stereotypical poor women of color such as Millie, a Puerto Rican woman who writes about her life in the first person. The authors frame the women's voices within the social context of the 1960s, the "era of domestic containment" as well as the civil rights, women's, hippie, and antiwar movements.
Jennifer Friedman, associate professor of sociology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, is the author of articles in such publications as Deviant Behavior, Clinical Sociology Review, and American Sociologist. Marixsa Alicea, associate professor of sociology at the School for New Learning at DePaul University in Chicago, is the author of articles in such publications as Gender & Society, Teaching Sociology, and the Latino Studies Journal. They are coauthors of articles on women and heroin in Gender & Society and in edited collections of essays.

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