Lucy Johnson: “Chronic Pain and Prescription Opioid Use in North-East England”

In Students by General Account

My research project will utilise anthropological theory and method, and insights from pharmacology and biomedicine to examine how prescription opioids are circulated, used and understood in the North-East of England. The North East has the highest rates of both opioid prescriptions and chronic pain in England. I am interested in the interplay between opioids, pain and poverty and am aiming to use ethnography to understand the place which opioid medications have within the lives of individuals, and more broadly within the community. My research takes the position that medicines themselves have ‘social lives’, and by framing the medicine (rather than the illness or individuals) as the epistemological starting point I am hoping to provide an understanding of how social lives are framed around, and enmeshed with, opioids in North-East England.