Debates about the regulation of drugs are inseparable from talk of children and the young. Yet how has this association come
to be so strong, and why does it have so much explanatory, rhetorical and political force? The premise for this book is that
the relationship between drugs and childhood merits more exploration beyond simply pointing out that children and drugs are
both 'things we tend to get worried about'. It asks what is at stake when legislators, lobbyists and decision-makers revert
to claims about children in order to sustain a given legal or policy position. Beginning with a genealogy of the relationship
between the discursive artefacts of 'drugs' and 'childhood', the book draws on Foucauldian methodologies to explore how childhood
functions as a device in the biopolitical management of drug use(rs) and supply. In addition to analysing decriminalisation
initiatives and sentencing measures, it (unusually) reaches beyond the criminal context to consider the significance of the
'politics of childhood' for law- and policymaking in the fields of family justice and education. It concludes by arguing that
the currency of childhood and 'youth' is not reducible to rhetoric; it shapes the discursive entities of drugs and addiction
and is one of the ways in which particular substances become socially, culturally and politically intelligible. At the same
time, 'drugs' serve as a technology of child normalisation.
The book will be essential reading for policymakers
as well as researchers and students working in the areas of Criminal Justice, Law, Psychology and Sociology.