DRUG ADDICTION AS A PROBLEM-DETERMINED SYSTEM: A CASE STUDY
Drug addiction seems to be a rapidly growing societal problem that leaves many lives destroyed in its wake. Families are ripped apart by its devastating impact, and countless drug addicts are unable to free themselves from the powerful grip of drug addiction and consequently pay with their lives.
According to Edmonds and Wilcocks (1995), drug addiction is a very real problem in South Africa. It affects people from all walks of life and can no longer be considered a localised problem. Jackson, Usher and O’Brien (2006) found that the experience of having a family member that is addicted to drugs, especially a child, had a profound effect on other members of the immediate family as well as on the family relationships. Butler and Bauld (2005) highlighted the devastation parents experienced in learning that their child was addicted to drugs and the subsequent impact that this had on their lives. Grohsman (2007) argues that the impact of drug addiction goes beyond the individual and the family, as the ripples thereof can also be felt in the larger community and economy. Therefore, it seems that parents, families, teachers, community and church leaders, healthcare professionals, law enforcement agencies, government and society at large, have a tremendous task ahead in the prevention and treatment of drug abuse throughout the country.
Just like a tree bears fruit when conditions are optimal for such an occurrence to take place, the problem of drug addiction is also assumed to develop within the context of a system of relatedness that put forth just the right ingredients for its emergence. Therefore, as the 3 researcher, I set out to explore the specific interactions between role players that created a suitable environment for the problem of drug addiction to emerge. As human beings, we are social creatures and thus our life experiences are inevitably tied up in the experiences of others. Any attempt to understand a particular individual has to include those that form part of that individual’s ecology of living
Statement of the problem
▪ Drop in attendance and performance at work or school.
▪ Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors.
▪ Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies. ▪ Unexplained change in personality or attitude.
▪ Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts.
▪ Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness. ▪ To built up a drug tolerance
▪ take drugs to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms.
▪ lost control over your drug use
▪ life revolves around drug use
▪ abandoned activities you used to enjoy, .
▪ continue to use drugs, despite knowing it’s hurting you.
Significance of the study
The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of how a problemdetermined system developed around a case of drug addiction within the context of a system of relatedness. The epistemological framework informing this qualitative study was constructivism. The six participants who took part in the study represent the most prominent role players in the particular context of living. The individual battling with drug addiction, his parents, older sister, maternal grandmother and maternal aunt were interviewed. The methods of data collection employed were semi-structured interviews, a chronological event chart, genograms, and an eco-map. The interviews were interpreted using the hermeneutic approach. The different themes that emerged from each participant’s story were integrated in relation to each other and with respect to the collaborative sources of data. The most dominant themes extracted within this study are the initial reactions to Andrew’s drug addiction, life changes experienced due to Andrew’s drug addiction, support, as well as the meanings attributed to Andrew’s drug...
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