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Heavy Metal: The Social Meaning of Pet/Brady, Maggie/Paper/0855752157/S019-F
Aboriginal Studies Press
Drug abuse is often interpreted either as a reaction to individually experienced stresses or as being akin to a disease. Different criteria - dispossession, colonisation, low socio-economic status or rapid social change - are often proposed to explain the "causes" of Aboriginal people is essential, it tends to result in these people being seen as 'victims'.
In Heavy Metal the author attempts to go beyond the socio-political or disease models. Brady focuses on petrol (gasoline) sniffing in a number of Aboriginal communities to arrive at an understanding of the users' subjective decisions to engage in this behaviour. She provides an overview of the use of drugs among Aboriginal people and surveys the extant international literature. She also gives detailed descriptions of the interaction between the setting and the users, examines the substance itself, and canvasses a range of possible intervention programs.
This informed ethnographic account is the first major published study of contemporary drug us by Aborigines. The work is drawn from baseline community research, including statistical data and case studies material. It is reported from an anthropological perspective but will be of interest to anyone in the medical, drug abuse and Aboriginal studies fields.