chapter  8
Diversification endangered
WithAlfred Springer
Pages 15

This chapter discusses the Austria, a special system of diversified maintenance treatment for opioid addicts has developed, allowing the prescription of different substances for maintenance purposes. It focuses on participant observation and partly on the systematic analysis of documents from diverse sources, including the campaign against the use of slow-release morphine for maintenance purposes, media reports on drug fatalities and on maintenance treatment, press releases, press conferences, and the draft of an amendment to Austrian drug laws. ‘Diversification’ became an influential slogan in the discourse on treatment approaches at both the professional and the political level. The implementation of diversification mirrors the cultural ambivalence towards the medical interpretation of opioid dependency. In the Austrian case, labelling has shifted from the heroin addict to the client maintained on slow-release morphine, and the stigmatisation has been transferred from heroin addiction to morphine treatment.