An Uncertain Dominion: Irish Psychiatry, Methadone, and the Treatment of Opiate Abuse

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Abstract

This paper investigates some productive ambiguities around the medical administration of methadone in the Republic of Ireland. The tensions surrounding methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) are outlined, as well as the sociohistorical context in which a serious heroin addiction problem in Ireland developed. Irish psychiatry intervened in this situation, during a time of institutional change, debates concerning the nature of addiction, moral panics concerning heroin addiction in Irish society and the recent boom in the Irish economy, known popularly as the Celtic Tiger. A particular history of this sort illuminates how technologies like MMT become cosmopolitan, settling into, while changing, local contexts.

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