Time and the Addict: An Anthropological Study of Time and Heroin Addiction in Scotland

Lead Research Organisation: University of St Andrews
Department Name: Philos Anthrop and Film Studies

Abstract

The proposed project aims to build upon PhD research that explored experiences of time and memory for heroin users in an East coast county in Scotland. It seeks to translate the findings for a policy audience, with the aim of benefitting policy and practice in Scotland, and publish insights into experiences of time and addiction in a post-industrial context.

The project aims to communicate with policymakers, policy-related organisations and public/third sector service providers with the intention of furthering understanding of how time affects experiences of addiction and in turn how addiction shapes senses of time. The research provides insights into the ways that institutional approaches to recovery and treatment are threaded with time-based concerns and expectations. It similarly traces the differences in how institutions and substance users conceive of time, and explores complex and often inexpressible experiences of not only time but loss, grief, trauma and pleasure. Through critical appraisals of past and current policy, institutional approaches and individual experience, the findings could aid in re-evaluating and re-orienting policy, practice and service provision with tangible impact. Each of the latter would also be benefitted by the inclusion of more substance user perspectives, which remain underrepresented in policymaking. This element of the project would begin by holding conversations with individual policymakers in the Substance Misuse Unit of the Scottish Government, and includes the potential for attending policy seminars and meetings, with the aim of producing a report on research findings for a policy audience.

The project will also publish for an academic audience in order to expand the scholarship on time. In doing so, the project will explore budding concepts, such as timelessness, feelings of 'abyss' in senses of time and time that was experienced as 'deep' rather than as a forward progression. By placing these concepts in conversation with emerging anthropological works on time, new understandings in this area can be reached. I similarly intend to start a research cluster based in St Andrews, focused on the study of time, to allow for increased dialogue between staff and PhD students working on time.

Finally, an exhibition on time experience in post-industrial Scotland will be held in St Andrews as part of the project. Working collaboratively with museum curators, time scholars, heroin users and the St Andrews community, the exhibition intends to showcase the experience of time in the landscape of post-industrial Scotland, which was the context of my research and figured prominently in the life histories of those I worked with. In Fife for one, the county's industrial and post-industrial history continues to reverberate through to everyday life, with physical and emotional remnants shaping the landscape. Curating objects from across Scotland, ranging from minerals, mining artefacts and Scottish craftwork, the exhibition will capture the endurance of historical time in the context of present uncertainty. The launch of the exhibition will also serve as the launch of a policy report on findings from the research.
 
Title Exhibition on addiction, coal and time experience 
Description This exhibition aimed to explore the relationship between deindustrialisation, particularly the end of coalmining, and contemporary experiences of addiction and drug use in Scotland. The exhibition paired historical photographs of mining activities and mining communities - courtesy of the National Mining Museum and Fife Cultural Trust - with contemporary photographs relating to drug use and recovery communities. It also featured a range of mining objects, and objects donated by co-contributors with lived experience of addiction, including original artworks, poems and keepsakes. The exhibition was on display at the Wardlaw Museum in St Andrews from October 2021-January 2022. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact The exhibition has sparked discussion among general audience members and lived experience advocates, and prompted recognition of the historical context surrounding addiction. In shifting narratives of individual blame and responsibility to the social and historical causes of addiction, the exhibition aimed to reduce stigma and generate positive engagement with people's experiences of drug use. The exhibition was widely viewed by the general public and by undergraduate/postgraduate students. 
URL https://researchstudio.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/residency-1/
 
Title Pit and the Kit 
Description This composition or 'soundscape' was commissioned to run in the exhibition space, threading landscape sounds, mining activity, and spoken word testimony from a woman with a long history of drug use. 
Type Of Art Composition/Score 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact This installation prompted engagement with members of the public on twitter and discussion with another sound artist working on themes of landscape and memory. It also added to the overall impact of the exhibition, by increasing the immersiveness of the experience. 
URL https://soundcloud.com/howarn
 
Title Virtual exhibition 
Description This exhibition constitutes the virtual version of the Wardlaw Museum exhibition previously detailed. It forms part of the Art of Energy Galleries, an interactive, digital exhibition space. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact This exhibition was viewed by policymakers and researchers in the substance use team of the Scottish Government. The exhibition sparked interest in how better understanding of the underlying cultural and social factors of addiction can both play a role in policy and impact practice. There was recognition of the need for more nuanced approaches to addiction and recovery, and a need to understand lived experiences of highly complex polydrug use. These reflections were then worked into a recently published Scottish Government evidence review on benzodiazepines and polydrug use, which seeks to contextualise Scotland's benzodiazepine use. 
URL https://energyethics.st-andrews.ac.uk/galleries/
 
Description The award enabled research findings to be written as papers for publication and recast for policy and general audiences. I was able to make novel contributions to scholarship on time and addiction, and engage new audiences with the work. This included a paper published in Frontiers in Psychiatry. The paper explored how COVID-19 exacerbated the isolation, loneliness and hardship experienced by people who use drugs, and in turn how a purposeful solitude - at times inherently connected to drugs and intoxication - serves to counterbalance more destructive spates of isolation. It likewise explored how senses of time could be actively distorted through substance use - stretching and deepening, for example - and that this comprised a significant motivation for continuing use. Recommendations for policy included, for one, better harnessing of digital technology such as videoconferencing in the delivery of treatment interventions. It also acknowledged, however, that the transition to virtual spaces may incur harms and that these must be offset through meaningful engagement with patients; person-centred approaches; and formal governance structures.

The paper additionally details new findings on the lived experiences of intensive polydrug use in Scotland, examining patterns and practices of use relating to benzodiazepines and opioids. I was able to use these research findings when writing an evidence review on benzodiazepines for the Scottish Government, and highlight experiences of time as an important consideration in understandings of addiction and drug use. This paper was in turn disseminated to an expert benzodiazepine working group, formulated to advise the Scottish Government on directions for practice.

The award similarly enabled me to write a further two articles, currently under review in Current Anthropology and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, respectively. The first newly theorises experiences of time in relation to mathematical fractals, using fractal theory to explore budding concepts such as timelessness, feelings of 'abyss' in senses of time, and time that was experienced as 'deep' rather than a linear progression. The second paper advocates for a novel and nuanced understanding of experiences of addiction in relation to time. Presently, much treatment for substance use in Scotland is premised on the 'disease' model, both accepting addiction as a chronic relapsing condition and yet insisting on the possibility of linear recovery. Using ethnography conducted over twelve months with people who use drugs, the paper demonstrates how this paradox leads to a dynamic of repetition and endlessness, in which people become trapped in blurred states of recovery and drug use. The paper contains important implications for practice and seeks to provoke critique of current treatment cultures.

The fellowship made possible an exhibition on the relationship between deindustrialisation and experiences of addiction in Scotland. New findings on this relationship were generated through field workshops, which drew together experts on coal, deindustrialisation, geology, addiction, and blood borne viruses. Discussions were captured in the exhibition's written materials, aimed at both policy and general audiences. The workshops, in addition to collaboration with individuals who use drugs and third sector recovery organisations, emphasised how community relations were altered by the slow decline of coal, and how this impact continues to reverberate in local communities today.
Exploitation Route The award produced important research findings and allowed for their dissemination to different audiences. Presenting the findings to policymakers has led to important discussions on future policy directions, including how to account for complex time experiences in treatment approaches.
Sectors Energy,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description As a result of and throughout the duration of the award, I was able to build strong networks with policymakers and researchers within the Scottish Government. The achievements made during the fellowship were instrumental in securing a research position within the Scottish Government, which has enabled me to feed my research directly into policy initiatives. I have been able to use and cite my research in government publications, which have included original research and evidence reviews, and which have gone on to influence policy decisions. For example, an output of the award, my published research into benzodiazepine use, provided a basis of discussion in an expert working group, which I was also invited to take part in. The working group was commissioned to advise the government on how best to address the current drugs crisis in relation to benzodiazepines and prescribing practice. The work of the group is ongoing, but has already begun to filter into practice through important dialogue with practitioners. I have also played a key supporting role in the ongoing development of an outcomes framework to underpin the delivery of the Scottish Government's National Mission on drugs. This has required an in-depth knowledge of addiction and its context in Scotland, and involves establishing key metrics to measure the performance of the mission. It likewise necessitates close working with policy colleagues, an aspect of the role that spans all responsibilities. I worked alongside the policy team and an expert working group, for example, to publish a suite of reports into the current landscape of residential rehabilitation in Scotland. The reports were instrumental in the creation of a national service directory for rehabs in Scotland, helping to nationalise and standardise this treatment option, as well highlighting issues with capacity. This lead to the establishment of the Rapid Capacity Programme, providing funding directly to rehabs to enable them to scale up their service. Having taken a leading role in the research elements, this work will continue to impact service provision in Scotland, enabling more people to access the right treatment for them and ultimately reducing the harms of drug use. The exhibition created as part of the award was also impactful, in that it fostered important dialogue with policymakers. The online component of the exhibition, which was part of the highly successful Art of Energy exhibition, was circulated to and viewed by policymakers in the drugs division of the Scottish Government. The exhibition prompted discussions on the structural, economic and historical factors underpinning addiction, and the need to better address more systemic issues in policy approaches. The Wardlaw Museum exhibition in St Andrews was also successful in drawing in general audiences, and provoking curiosity around the role of deindustrialisation in Scotland's drug use. As a result of the fellowship, I have been invited to take part in developing collaborations, including a collaboration between Emory University and St Andrews University. The group seeks to continue to explore issues of energy ethics, focusing on energy transitions and sustainable futures. I am likewise heavily involved in a collaboration that seeks to publish guidance into trauma-informed care for the treatment of addiction with leading scholars in the field. Towards the end of the fellowship, I lead a successful funding bid for the St Andrews Interdisciplinary Research Support (STAIRS) fund at the University of St Andrews, for a project titled 'Sustainable Futures: understanding drug use in the context of energy transitions.' The project directly builds upon the activities and findings of the fellowship, and aims to impact local university energy policy. The grant also seeks to add to the scholarship on addiction, time, landscape and memory, and translate the findings for a policy audience.
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Energy,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Cultural,Policy & public services

 
Description Citation in government publication
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL https://www.gov.scot/publications/evidence-review-current-trends-benzodiazepine-use-scotland/
 
Description Participation in expert roundtable
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to new or Improved professional practice
Impact The work of the roundtable is in the early stages of dissemination (the group met for the first time in January 2022). The roundtable was convened, however, by the Scottish Government, with the support of Public Health Scotland specifically to advise on policy and practice at a national level. The group has begun fostering discussions with key stakeholders around the benzodiazepine prescribing guidance published by the Drug Deaths Taskforce (DDTF) in 2021, which recommended a minimal level of prescribing in order to reduce the harms of illicit benzodiazepines. This stands in contrast to UK clinical guidance, which recommends avoiding the prescription of benzodiazepines due to risks to long-term health. Benzodiazepines have been implicated in an increasing number of drug-related deaths in Scotland in recent years (73% in 2020), largely due to 'street' benzodiazepines - those sourced on the illicit market/not licensed for prescription in the UK. Scotland currently has the highest rates of drug-related deaths in Europe and benzodiazepines play a significant role in this crisis. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction has tied the rapid increase in harms relating to benzodiazepines to the vastly reduced prescription of the drugs throughout the 2000s, which lead to their proliferation on the illicit market. As a result of the roundtable, the existing DDTF guidance has been brought to the attention of practitioners across NHS health boards in Scotland, and further dialogue fostered with key stakeholders. This comprises an essential step in the long-term strategy to reduce harms from this specific drug issue. The creation of national prescribing guidance, rather than guidance specific to individual health boards, will both improve the accessibility and effectiveness of public health services and improve the regulatory environment for benzodiazepine prescription. In offering a more effective and tailored solution to this societal problem, the work of the roundtable will address an urgent gap in healthcare and so lead to improvements in the quality of life of people dependent on benzodiazepines. In turn, national guidance specifically aimed at reducing harms and death from benzodiazepines aims to improve survival among this vulnerable patient group.
URL https://www.gov.scot/publications/evidence-review-current-trends-benzodiazepine-use-scotland/
 
Description Carbon afterlives: coal landscapes, addiction and the end of mining in Fife
Amount £1,793 (GBP)
Funding ID SPL0-XCH015 
Organisation Landscape Research Group Ltd 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2021 
End 01/2022
 
Description Sustainable futures: Understanding drug use in the context of energy transitions
Amount £43,313 (GBP)
Funding ID APL3-STRSRI 
Organisation University of St Andrews 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2021 
End 07/2022
 
Description Landscape Research Group/exhibition collaboration 
Organisation Historic Environment Scotland
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution My mentor, Dr Richard Irvine, and I received a grant from the Landscape Research Group to organise field workshops with experts and stakeholders in former coal mining sites, in order to gather narratives that would contribute to the creation of an exhibition on coal mining and heroin use in Scotland. We liaised with partners, organised the events and then lead the three walking workshops. We then developed the collaboration to include grassroots community groups and stakeholders with lived experience of drug use, who aided in co-curating the exhibition. During the workshops and in planning the exhibition, I contributed my expertise relating to addiction, drug use and recovery. Dr Irvine contributed intellectually to discussions of landscape, geology, memory and 'deep time,' and drafted some of the written panels for the exhibition. Dr Irvine and I are co-lead authors on a draft of a publication, with several of the partners of the collaboration, that explores coal histories in relation to addiction, experiences of time and landscape. Our exhibition curator, Sonja Dobroski, was also present at the field workshops and contributed her expertise on material culture and archaeology (in addition to co-curating the exhibition). Dr Holly Warner, a sound artist and anthropologist, University of St Andrews, accompanied one of the field walks in order to record natural landscape sounds, which were then used in a soundscape curated specially for the exhibition.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Ewan Gibbs, University of Glasgow, contributed his expertise in the Scottish coalfields, deindustrialisation, masculinity and alcohol use in coalmining communities. Dr Carina Fearnley, University College London, gave a presentation on the geological history of the two mining sites, Longannet and Lochore Meadows, and produced interdisciplinary insight into the connection between time (particularly the long duree of coal), changing landscapes and heroin use. Norma Westland, a nurse currently working for the Scottish Drugs Forum and Hep C Scotland, having grown up in the area, provided local expertise on the experiences of belonging to a mining town, while also contributing her in-depth knowledge of addiction and blood borne viruses. Miles Oglethorpe, Historic Environment Scotland, provided in-depth insight into the impact of mining on the landscape, and intricate mining processes, that added rich depth to the contrast of mining life to contemporary working environments. The field workshops were extremely productive in shaping the narrative of the exhibition and feeding into the written materials produced for it. Working with partners from Restoration Fife further contributed to the curation and planning of the exhibition, as staff members acted as consultants on the name, narrative and overall direction. Staff members organised the loan of relevant objects, merchandise and group photographs, which were then displayed in the Wardlaw museum and the online Art of Energy exhibition. The collaboration also included individuals with lived experience of drug use, who contributed personal items and testimonies to the exhibition, in addition to co-curating the exhibits.
Impact The collaboration was instrumental in the conception, design and delivery of an exhibition titled 'The Pit and the Kit: Addiction, Heroin, and the End of Coalmining in Scotland.' The exhibition ran in the Wardlaw museum, St Andrews, from October 2021 to January 2022. Part of the exhibition is also featured in the online Art of Energy exhibition. The virtual exhibition was shared with policy and research colleagues within the Drugs Division of the Scottish Government, and with Scottish Government colleagues in Health and Social Care Analysis. The collaboration is multi-disciplinary, involving partners with disciplinary backgrounds in anthropology; geology; economic and social history; nursing and archaeology.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Landscape Research Group/exhibition collaboration 
Organisation Scottish Drugs Forum
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution My mentor, Dr Richard Irvine, and I received a grant from the Landscape Research Group to organise field workshops with experts and stakeholders in former coal mining sites, in order to gather narratives that would contribute to the creation of an exhibition on coal mining and heroin use in Scotland. We liaised with partners, organised the events and then lead the three walking workshops. We then developed the collaboration to include grassroots community groups and stakeholders with lived experience of drug use, who aided in co-curating the exhibition. During the workshops and in planning the exhibition, I contributed my expertise relating to addiction, drug use and recovery. Dr Irvine contributed intellectually to discussions of landscape, geology, memory and 'deep time,' and drafted some of the written panels for the exhibition. Dr Irvine and I are co-lead authors on a draft of a publication, with several of the partners of the collaboration, that explores coal histories in relation to addiction, experiences of time and landscape. Our exhibition curator, Sonja Dobroski, was also present at the field workshops and contributed her expertise on material culture and archaeology (in addition to co-curating the exhibition). Dr Holly Warner, a sound artist and anthropologist, University of St Andrews, accompanied one of the field walks in order to record natural landscape sounds, which were then used in a soundscape curated specially for the exhibition.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Ewan Gibbs, University of Glasgow, contributed his expertise in the Scottish coalfields, deindustrialisation, masculinity and alcohol use in coalmining communities. Dr Carina Fearnley, University College London, gave a presentation on the geological history of the two mining sites, Longannet and Lochore Meadows, and produced interdisciplinary insight into the connection between time (particularly the long duree of coal), changing landscapes and heroin use. Norma Westland, a nurse currently working for the Scottish Drugs Forum and Hep C Scotland, having grown up in the area, provided local expertise on the experiences of belonging to a mining town, while also contributing her in-depth knowledge of addiction and blood borne viruses. Miles Oglethorpe, Historic Environment Scotland, provided in-depth insight into the impact of mining on the landscape, and intricate mining processes, that added rich depth to the contrast of mining life to contemporary working environments. The field workshops were extremely productive in shaping the narrative of the exhibition and feeding into the written materials produced for it. Working with partners from Restoration Fife further contributed to the curation and planning of the exhibition, as staff members acted as consultants on the name, narrative and overall direction. Staff members organised the loan of relevant objects, merchandise and group photographs, which were then displayed in the Wardlaw museum and the online Art of Energy exhibition. The collaboration also included individuals with lived experience of drug use, who contributed personal items and testimonies to the exhibition, in addition to co-curating the exhibits.
Impact The collaboration was instrumental in the conception, design and delivery of an exhibition titled 'The Pit and the Kit: Addiction, Heroin, and the End of Coalmining in Scotland.' The exhibition ran in the Wardlaw museum, St Andrews, from October 2021 to January 2022. Part of the exhibition is also featured in the online Art of Energy exhibition. The virtual exhibition was shared with policy and research colleagues within the Drugs Division of the Scottish Government, and with Scottish Government colleagues in Health and Social Care Analysis. The collaboration is multi-disciplinary, involving partners with disciplinary backgrounds in anthropology; geology; economic and social history; nursing and archaeology.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Landscape Research Group/exhibition collaboration 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution My mentor, Dr Richard Irvine, and I received a grant from the Landscape Research Group to organise field workshops with experts and stakeholders in former coal mining sites, in order to gather narratives that would contribute to the creation of an exhibition on coal mining and heroin use in Scotland. We liaised with partners, organised the events and then lead the three walking workshops. We then developed the collaboration to include grassroots community groups and stakeholders with lived experience of drug use, who aided in co-curating the exhibition. During the workshops and in planning the exhibition, I contributed my expertise relating to addiction, drug use and recovery. Dr Irvine contributed intellectually to discussions of landscape, geology, memory and 'deep time,' and drafted some of the written panels for the exhibition. Dr Irvine and I are co-lead authors on a draft of a publication, with several of the partners of the collaboration, that explores coal histories in relation to addiction, experiences of time and landscape. Our exhibition curator, Sonja Dobroski, was also present at the field workshops and contributed her expertise on material culture and archaeology (in addition to co-curating the exhibition). Dr Holly Warner, a sound artist and anthropologist, University of St Andrews, accompanied one of the field walks in order to record natural landscape sounds, which were then used in a soundscape curated specially for the exhibition.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Ewan Gibbs, University of Glasgow, contributed his expertise in the Scottish coalfields, deindustrialisation, masculinity and alcohol use in coalmining communities. Dr Carina Fearnley, University College London, gave a presentation on the geological history of the two mining sites, Longannet and Lochore Meadows, and produced interdisciplinary insight into the connection between time (particularly the long duree of coal), changing landscapes and heroin use. Norma Westland, a nurse currently working for the Scottish Drugs Forum and Hep C Scotland, having grown up in the area, provided local expertise on the experiences of belonging to a mining town, while also contributing her in-depth knowledge of addiction and blood borne viruses. Miles Oglethorpe, Historic Environment Scotland, provided in-depth insight into the impact of mining on the landscape, and intricate mining processes, that added rich depth to the contrast of mining life to contemporary working environments. The field workshops were extremely productive in shaping the narrative of the exhibition and feeding into the written materials produced for it. Working with partners from Restoration Fife further contributed to the curation and planning of the exhibition, as staff members acted as consultants on the name, narrative and overall direction. Staff members organised the loan of relevant objects, merchandise and group photographs, which were then displayed in the Wardlaw museum and the online Art of Energy exhibition. The collaboration also included individuals with lived experience of drug use, who contributed personal items and testimonies to the exhibition, in addition to co-curating the exhibits.
Impact The collaboration was instrumental in the conception, design and delivery of an exhibition titled 'The Pit and the Kit: Addiction, Heroin, and the End of Coalmining in Scotland.' The exhibition ran in the Wardlaw museum, St Andrews, from October 2021 to January 2022. Part of the exhibition is also featured in the online Art of Energy exhibition. The virtual exhibition was shared with policy and research colleagues within the Drugs Division of the Scottish Government, and with Scottish Government colleagues in Health and Social Care Analysis. The collaboration is multi-disciplinary, involving partners with disciplinary backgrounds in anthropology; geology; economic and social history; nursing and archaeology.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Landscape Research Group/exhibition collaboration 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Department School of Social and Political Sciences Glasgow
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution My mentor, Dr Richard Irvine, and I received a grant from the Landscape Research Group to organise field workshops with experts and stakeholders in former coal mining sites, in order to gather narratives that would contribute to the creation of an exhibition on coal mining and heroin use in Scotland. We liaised with partners, organised the events and then lead the three walking workshops. We then developed the collaboration to include grassroots community groups and stakeholders with lived experience of drug use, who aided in co-curating the exhibition. During the workshops and in planning the exhibition, I contributed my expertise relating to addiction, drug use and recovery. Dr Irvine contributed intellectually to discussions of landscape, geology, memory and 'deep time,' and drafted some of the written panels for the exhibition. Dr Irvine and I are co-lead authors on a draft of a publication, with several of the partners of the collaboration, that explores coal histories in relation to addiction, experiences of time and landscape. Our exhibition curator, Sonja Dobroski, was also present at the field workshops and contributed her expertise on material culture and archaeology (in addition to co-curating the exhibition). Dr Holly Warner, a sound artist and anthropologist, University of St Andrews, accompanied one of the field walks in order to record natural landscape sounds, which were then used in a soundscape curated specially for the exhibition.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Ewan Gibbs, University of Glasgow, contributed his expertise in the Scottish coalfields, deindustrialisation, masculinity and alcohol use in coalmining communities. Dr Carina Fearnley, University College London, gave a presentation on the geological history of the two mining sites, Longannet and Lochore Meadows, and produced interdisciplinary insight into the connection between time (particularly the long duree of coal), changing landscapes and heroin use. Norma Westland, a nurse currently working for the Scottish Drugs Forum and Hep C Scotland, having grown up in the area, provided local expertise on the experiences of belonging to a mining town, while also contributing her in-depth knowledge of addiction and blood borne viruses. Miles Oglethorpe, Historic Environment Scotland, provided in-depth insight into the impact of mining on the landscape, and intricate mining processes, that added rich depth to the contrast of mining life to contemporary working environments. The field workshops were extremely productive in shaping the narrative of the exhibition and feeding into the written materials produced for it. Working with partners from Restoration Fife further contributed to the curation and planning of the exhibition, as staff members acted as consultants on the name, narrative and overall direction. Staff members organised the loan of relevant objects, merchandise and group photographs, which were then displayed in the Wardlaw museum and the online Art of Energy exhibition. The collaboration also included individuals with lived experience of drug use, who contributed personal items and testimonies to the exhibition, in addition to co-curating the exhibits.
Impact The collaboration was instrumental in the conception, design and delivery of an exhibition titled 'The Pit and the Kit: Addiction, Heroin, and the End of Coalmining in Scotland.' The exhibition ran in the Wardlaw museum, St Andrews, from October 2021 to January 2022. Part of the exhibition is also featured in the online Art of Energy exhibition. The virtual exhibition was shared with policy and research colleagues within the Drugs Division of the Scottish Government, and with Scottish Government colleagues in Health and Social Care Analysis. The collaboration is multi-disciplinary, involving partners with disciplinary backgrounds in anthropology; geology; economic and social history; nursing and archaeology.
Start Year 2021
 
Description National Mining Museum collaboration 
Organisation National Mining Museum Scotland
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Myself and Sonja Dobroski arranged visits to the National Mining Museum Scotland to browse the museum's archival material, source objects and photographs for our exhibition, and hold discussions on the relationship between coal mining and addiction.
Collaborator Contribution National Mining Museum Scotland contributed objects and photographs to our exhibition, and contributed their expertise on coal mining in Scotland, which went on to shape the display of the mining-related exhibits.
Impact The exhibition was made possible by the object loans provided by the museum, and by their intellectual contributions to the narratives of the exhibition.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Substance Use Covid-19 Policy Collaborative 
Organisation NYU Langone Medical Center
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I was able to contribute regionally specific expertise to the workshops and policy-driven journal article, which focused on the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for substance users. I wrote a section pertaining to Scotland. The article in currently under review with the journal 'Social Science & Medicine.'
Collaborator Contribution There were over 40 individuals involved in this collaborative, who varyingly contributed their expertise to the workshops or took part in writing the journal article.
Impact This was a multi-disciplinary collaborative involving Anthropology, Sociology, Medicine, Clinical Neuroscience, Psychology, and Health Studies.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Substance Use Covid-19 Policy Collaborative 
Organisation University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Department School of Medicine UCLA
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I was able to contribute regionally specific expertise to the workshops and policy-driven journal article, which focused on the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for substance users. I wrote a section pertaining to Scotland. The article in currently under review with the journal 'Social Science & Medicine.'
Collaborator Contribution There were over 40 individuals involved in this collaborative, who varyingly contributed their expertise to the workshops or took part in writing the journal article.
Impact This was a multi-disciplinary collaborative involving Anthropology, Sociology, Medicine, Clinical Neuroscience, Psychology, and Health Studies.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Substance Use Covid-19 Policy Collaborative 
Organisation University of Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I was able to contribute regionally specific expertise to the workshops and policy-driven journal article, which focused on the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for substance users. I wrote a section pertaining to Scotland. The article in currently under review with the journal 'Social Science & Medicine.'
Collaborator Contribution There were over 40 individuals involved in this collaborative, who varyingly contributed their expertise to the workshops or took part in writing the journal article.
Impact This was a multi-disciplinary collaborative involving Anthropology, Sociology, Medicine, Clinical Neuroscience, Psychology, and Health Studies.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Substance Use Covid-19 Policy Collaborative 
Organisation University of St Andrews
Department School of Medicine St Andrews
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I was able to contribute regionally specific expertise to the workshops and policy-driven journal article, which focused on the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for substance users. I wrote a section pertaining to Scotland. The article in currently under review with the journal 'Social Science & Medicine.'
Collaborator Contribution There were over 40 individuals involved in this collaborative, who varyingly contributed their expertise to the workshops or took part in writing the journal article.
Impact This was a multi-disciplinary collaborative involving Anthropology, Sociology, Medicine, Clinical Neuroscience, Psychology, and Health Studies.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Anthropology research seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Approximately 35 people comprised of academics from different institutions and undergraduate/postgraduate students attended the talk, which centred on how experiences of time are shaped through addiction. The talk spared an abundance of questions and discussion, and I was invited to create an exhibition as part of the virtual Art of Energy Exhibition, which became the online component of my exhibition.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://events.st-andrews.ac.uk/events/st-andrews-social-anthropology-seminar-dr-laura-roe/
 
Description Anthropology society event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Small local event titled 'tales from the field: the anthropology of love,' aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students. The event encouraged discussion around a range of anthropological themes relating to love and intimacy. I directed the audience to think of love in terms of love of substances, and intimacy strained by needful prioritisation of substances over relationships, which prompted a contentious debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.facebook.com/pg/anthrosoc/events/
 
Description Being Human festival talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Roughly 40 people (made up of the general public, students and other academics) attended the online event as part of the Being Human Festival, at which I presented on the role of energy transition in Scottish trends in drug use, which sparked lively debate and discussion. I also discussed how this question fed into an exhibition on the subject. I was contacted after the event and invited to collaborate in a future exhibition on coal and oil in Scotland, a collaboration in early development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://beinghumanfestival.org/events/art-energy-creative-encounters
 
Description Durham university health research cluster talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 20 academics belonging to a health research cluster at Durham University attended the talk, which related to the use of fractal mathematics to analyse experiences of health. The discussion sparked a lively debate on the use of fractals in qualitative research, with some shifting to allow that they could be used beyond a metaphorical sense.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Exhibition launch event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Patients, carers and/or patient groups
Results and Impact 15 people (in line with social distancing guidance at the time) attended the launch event of the exhibition created as part of the fellowship. Attendees were largely comprised of co-collaborators with lived experience and third sector organisation staff. The launch involved a tour of the exhibition, a talk and an active discussion of the exhibition's themes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://researchstudio.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/residency-1/
 
Description Interview for museum podcast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Museums of the University of St Andrews (MUSA) have a podcast titled the Curiosity Conversation, for which I was interviewed in advance of the launch of my MUSA exhibition. The interview discussed the collaboration underpinning the exhibition, the curatorial process, and my doctoral/ongoing research into addiction. During the podcast I discussed the stigma faced by people who use drugs, and the potential for policy to have meaningful impact. The podcast has a broad audience largely made up of the general public, students and academics within the university. I also shared the podcast with my research network, including third sector organisations, professional practitioners. and policymakers.

Tweets about the podcast were retweeted by prominent scholars in the field, including Professor Catriona Matheson, who at the time was the chair of the Drugs Death Taskforce, and by staff members of Restoration Fife (a community recovery charity) and the Scottish Drugs Forum. I received emails from undergraduate students requesting further information on the exhibition and asking for literature relating to addiction. I was also contacted by the academic blog 'Scotland & Carbon,' who asked if I would write a blog on the relationship between coal and addiction.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://anchor.fm/curiosity-conversation
 
Description Lived experience group workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Patients, carers and/or patient groups
Results and Impact Dissemination of research findings and exhibition in a workshop attended by people who use drugs, family members and staff from third sector organisations from across Fife and the Lothians. Event stimulated discussion of historical roots of addiction and how to reframe narratives away from individual blame.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Medical Anthropology event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact 30 undergraduate students and a small number of postgraduate students and lecturers attended a virtual event discussing our experiences of research in the field medical anthropology. I co-convened the event with another member of staff and the undergraduate anthropology society. The event gave rise to a fruitful conversations on career options in the medical humanities and I was contacted by students requesting further literature after the event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://events.st-andrews.ac.uk/events/the-anthropology-of-health-and-wellbeing/
 
Description Research Presentation to stakeholders and general public through Local Community Recovery Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The talk was intended to share results from the doctoral research preceding the fellowship with relevant stakeholders, such as local community members, research participants, third sector service providers, practitioners. It aimed to stimulate debate on how addiction and substance use are conceived to broaden perspectives beyond medicalised understandings; in particular to view experiences of time and how it is affected by drug use as an important avenue of inquiry in the study of addiction. The talk lead to fruitful discussions between community members, people who use drugs, and service providers about the lived experiences of addiction, and the benefits of looking beyond medical perspectives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Residential Rehabilitation Working Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact On joining the Scottish Government, I was invited to join the formal working group aiming to improve the accessibility and standards of residential rehabilitation for the treatment of substance dependency. The working group is comprised of expert stakeholders, including policymakers, practitioners, rehab and third sector service providers, academics, and people with lived experience of addiction/drug use. The working group has produced a number of written documents, including a good practice guide and a series of policy recommendations, that have gone on to materially shape policy, such as the ongoing development of a national service directory of rehabs. The working group also feeds into major policy decisions relating to residential rehab, such as the conception of a Residential Rehabilitation Rapid Capacity Programme, which seeks to rapidly increase the capacity of rehabs. I am able to contribute my expertise as a scholar of addiction and as an anthropologist who has worked closely with people who use drugs, and take a leading role in policy discussions. I also played a key role in Scottish Government research, recommended and steered by the working group, which mapped out existing capacity and models of care in rehabs in Scotland. This has allowed for a treatment baseline and in turn a new treatment target to be developed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021,2022
URL https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/research-and-analysis/2021/11/p...