Hurt: Chronicles of the Drug War Generation weaves engaging first-person accounts of the lives of baby boomer drug users, including author Miriam Boeri’s first-hand knowledge as the sister of a heroin addict. The compelling stories are set in historical context, from the cultural influence of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll to contemporary discourse that pegs drug addiction as a disease punishable by incarceration. With penetrating insight and conscientious attention to the intersectionality of race, gender, and class, Boeri reveals the impact of an increasingly punitive War on Drugs on a hurting generation.
1 • The Historical and Social Context
2 • The Life Course of Baby Boomers
4 • The War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration
5 • The Racial Landscape of the Drug War
6 • Women Doing Drugs
7 • Aging in Drug Use
8 • The Culture of Control Expands
9 • Social Reconstruction and Social Recovery
Appendix: The Older Drug User Study Methodology
Miriam Boeri is Associate Professor of Sociology at Bentley University. She is the author of Women on Ice: Methamphetamine Use among Suburban Women.
"Adroit use of first-person narratives draws the reader into the human condition of people who went through the War on Drugs. Boeri has contributed harrowing perspectives on disastrously failed enforcement policies. Her work reflects especially on the aging of drug users and the gender aspects of using drugs in an era hostile to drug users."—J. Bryan Page, coauthor of Comprehending Drug Use and The Social Value of Drug Addicts
"Boeri’s ethnography chronicles the personal and social costs of our nation’s war on drugs. Her up-close look at personal lives of drug-using baby boomers across their life histories challenges common assumptions and provides a sociologically grounded, paradigm-shifting analysis of heavy drug use. A much-needed insightful and compassionate account."—Leon Anderson, author of Deviance: Social Constructions and Blurred Boundaries
"Profound life histories of baby boomers who were all users of illicit drugs, captured through Miriam Boeri's lens, inform and guide us in understanding the fundamental challenges of addiction to users, their relatives and friends, and society at large. Boeri argues persuasively for prevention and policy approaches to meet these challenges. Hurt is an important resource for experts in public health, addiction, social and health services, and public policy, but also for anyone interested in drug users and solutions for their own health as well as that of society."—Claire E. Sterk, Charles Howard Candler Professor, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
Miriam Boeri provides a scholarly and comprehensive critique of the failure of the War on Drugs. Framed through a life course perspective, she uses the voices and experiences of aging baby boomer drug users to explain how U.S. policies have exacerbated drug problems. The book challenges conventional paradigms and theories that dominate current public policy discourse on the subject.— Avelardo Valdez, Professor of Social Work and Sociology, University of Southern California