UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

How opioids became “safe”: pharmaceutical splitting and the racial politics of opioid safety

Parker, CM; Hansen, H; (2022) How opioids became “safe”: pharmaceutical splitting and the racial politics of opioid safety. BioSocieties , 17 (4) pp. 577-600. 10.1057/s41292-021-00230-y. Green open access

[thumbnail of Parker_How Opioids Became Safe_15_December_2020.pdf]
Preview
Text
Parker_How Opioids Became Safe_15_December_2020.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (207kB) | Preview

Abstract

This article explores how opioid painkillers, known for over a century to be highly addictive, came to be considered a safe treatment for chronic pain. Based on a critical content analysis of industry-sponsored medical education, biomedical opioid research, and opioid marketing strategy it identifies the unacknowledged racialized category distinctions between ‘pain patients’ and ‘opioid abusers’ that have influenced medical opinion on opioid safety since the 1990s. It develops the concept of pharmaceutical splitting to understand how distinctions between ‘pain patients’ and ‘opioid abusers’ drew on racial and class-based imagery enabling prescribers to reconcile long-standing evidence of opioids’ addictive properties with the argument that they were a safe treatment for common chronic pain. Overall, this article contributes to understandings of the cultural and racial politics of pharmaceutical marketing and commercially-sponsored pharmacology.

Type: Article
Title: How opioids became “safe”: pharmaceutical splitting and the racial politics of opioid safety
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1057/s41292-021-00230-y
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41292-021-00230-y
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Opioids, Addiction, Pain, Race, Pharmaceutical splitting, Drug markets
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10181922
Downloads since deposit
21Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item