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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123

Ciênc. saúde coletiva vol.15 n.3 Rio de Janeiro May. 2010 



The challenge of drug addiction in the contemporary society



The thematic axis contained in this edition of Ciência & Saúde Coletiva is a result of the authors' demand, and it contributes with researches in the area of drug addition in the contemporary society.

The abusive use of drugs may be considered a serious public health problem, as it results in encumbrances to the individual, family as well as society, such as: school repetition, job loss, family break ups and violence, crimes, accidents and incarceration. Such broad and controversial matter as this refers to the fact that the start of drug use occurs, generally, at youth, phase of extreme curiosity, individualization moves, special appreciation for the group of friends, and of the well known rebel behavior, many times necessary in order to begin the cut of the familiar umbilical cord.

Due to it being a complex and challenging theme, the use of alcohol and other legal or illegal substances is approached here in the most varied forms: from the ideologies that permeate it, going through the myriad of possibilities that comprise the plot of risk factors/vulnerability and the protection factors for such use, all this immersed within the social-cultural context and historical moments of the actors in which these researches take place.

The comprehension of the addicted behavior, based on a systemic-cybernetic approach to deal with the challenge of the abusive use of drugs in the contemporaneity, reveals three presuppositions: (1) the symptom of inappropriate or abusive use of substances bursts when familiar and social-cultural context offer conditions of possibilities for its appearance and development; (2) the behavior of an individual affects and is affected by the behavior of a third party in a relation of circularity and not of linearity, where it's revealed that all phenomena are relational and, therefore, co-built in co-participation between the individuals involved in this relation; (3) the capillarity of the texture that conforms the interactions between the individual, family and social-cultural environment, which provide support to standards of systemic disarrangement, needs to be worked out.

Bearing in mind this plot of multiple causalities, the collection of articles of this edition of Ciência & Saúde Coletiva with such instigating theme is expected to contribute with the understanding of: (a) various forms of thinking and approaching drug addiction and how they influence the practice of care and lack of care with regards to individuals, families, health services, specific societies; (b) risk factors and factors of protection related to the consumption of illegal or legal substances in diverse health services and the possibilities of construction of strategies appropriate to these different populations and contexts; and (c) longitudinal studies which point at a modification in the use of substances and their systemic implications.

Hopefully, these studies will be useful for discussion, reflection, and guidance for the construction of action strategies for health regarding drug addiction and its challenges, giving voice to diversity and not seeking the hegemony of thinking and doing.


Miriam Schenker
Guest editor