Socio-spatial stigmatization and the contested space of addiction treatment: Remapping strategies of opposition to their disorder of drugs
In recent years, the Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) phenomenon has become increasingly prevalent with regard to harm reduction sites, addiction treatment facilities and their clients. Drawing from a case study of community conflict generated by the relocation of a methadone clinic into a rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood in downtown Toronto, Canada, this article offers a unique analysis of oppositional strategies regarding the perceived (socio-spatial) ‘disorder of drugs’. Based on interviews with local residents and business owners this article suggests the existence of three interrelated oppositional strategies, shifting from a recourse to urban planning policy, to a critique of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) practice, to explicit forms of socio-spatial stigmatization that posited the body of the (methadone) ‘addict’ as abject agent of infection and the clinic as a site of contagion. Exploring the dialectical, socio-spatial interplay between the body of the addict and the social body of the city, this article demonstrates the unique aspects of opposition to the physically, ideologically and discursively contested space of addiction treatment. Representations of the methadone clinic, its clients and the larger space of the neighbourhood, this paper suggests, served to situate addiction as a ‘pathology (out) of place’ and recast the city itself as a site of safe/supervised consumption. The opening of Methadone clinic was not very appealing for the local residents of Cork town because this is not what they wanted in their backyard when they first moved into their neighbourhood. Introduction: East central downtown was considered as a wasteland, sooner or later this area was a place for social services, homelessness shelters, and drug treatment facilities. But later on this area transformed itself to a “Creative city”, it soon turned out to be a urbanized village. Later they decided to bring back a methadone clinic into the community but the community members disapproved. MMT was administered orally in liquid forms. The first strategy imposed by the Corktown was portraying them as victim in which the government just used them to dump an...