Moral Economies of Care and Women Who Use Drugs in Ukraine

Jill Owczarzak, Sarah D. Phillips, Amy Allen, Polina Alpatova, Tatyana Zub, Alyona Mazhnaya, Olga Filippova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyzes interviews with women who use drugs in Ukraine to understand the care conundrum they face as members of a stigmatized group. In the interviews, the women sought to position themselves as deserving and needing care as members of a vulnerable category—sometimes as women who use drugs or people living with HIV, but also as mothers—yet also themselves capable of providing care for others. We examine how women who use drugs in Ukraine navigate a moral economy of care involving judgments about deservedness and social worth, the obligatory nature of care, and expectations for reciprocity. For programs for women who use drugs to be successful, they must acknowledge and engage with the moral economies of care in which these women operate. We offer recommendations for how health and social service providers can better meet the unique needs of women who use drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-175
Number of pages21
JournalContemporary Drug Problems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • HIV
  • Ukraine
  • addiction
  • care
  • drug use
  • moral economy
  • women who use drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Law


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