All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Heith Copes

Advisory Committee Members

Lindsay Leban

Heidi Grundetjern

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) College of Arts and Sciences


People who use drugs are at a greater risk of being stigmatized than those who do not. Those who use drugs and parent children are at an even greater risk of stigmatization due to social expectations for parents to be accountable for their children. Therefore, it is acutely important that parents who use drugs form distinctions between themselves (i.e. good parents) and other drug using parents who are more deserving of social demonization. Previous research on drug users has demonstrated their attempts to distance themselves from other drug users using symbolic boundaries. These symbolic boundaries create clearer distinctions between oneself and a stigmatized group. However, little is known about how parents who use drugs construct such boundaries using their narratives regarding parenthood to show how they are good parents and thus undeserving of stigmatization. Here, I examine the narratives of 18 parents who used methamphetamines (meth) to uncover how they create distinctions between what represents a good or bad parent by preventing children from using drugs or facilitating safe drug use.