In this paper, I provide a critical commentary on the current state of drug ethnography in Australia. I identify and discuss funding problems and the appropriation of ethnography by qualitative and quantitative researchers, both of which undermine the credibility and potential contribution of ethnography to the Australian drug field. I also interrogate the much-heralded but little-scrutinised idea of ‘multidisciplinary drug research’, drawing on examples of non-drug multidisciplinary research to argue that, while multidisciplinary drug research is a worthy goal, the research vision offered by advocates of such research is frequently an intellectually impoverished one. I conclude by suggesting possible ways to strengthen Australia's capacity to conduct both stand-alone ethnographic drug research and high-quality multidisciplinary drug research involving ethnography.
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