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Empowerment in drug treatment: Dilemmas in implementing policy in welfare institutions


  • Frank, Vibeke Asmussen
  • Bjerge, Bagga


This article analyzes how and why welfare policies focusing on empowerment as users' self-management create dilemmas in medically assisted drug treatment in Denmark. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, the article points to two sets of dilemmas by focusing on the relationship between legal and institutional setups and staff and user possibilities for agency. The first dilemma concerns how to provide user self-management and individualized services and the actual possibilities of effectuating this in welfare institutions imbued by limited resources, manpower, and local rules. The second, how to create a balance between notions of user self-management and legal demands of control regarding substitution medicine. The article analyzes empowerment as a policy arguing that implementation of policy - also called policy in practice - is integral to policy studies, rather than a domain that is separate from policy making.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank, Vibeke Asmussen & Bjerge, Bagga, 2011. "Empowerment in drug treatment: Dilemmas in implementing policy in welfare institutions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 201-208, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:73:y:2011:i:2:p:201-208

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    11. Anonymous, 2005. "Pharmaceutical Policy, 2002," Working Papers id:84, eSocialSciences.
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