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Exploring Irish Travellers’ experiences of Opioid Substitute Treatment: A Phenomenological Study

Claffey, C, Crowley, D, MacLachlan, M and Van Hout, MC (2017) Exploring Irish Travellers’ experiences of Opioid Substitute Treatment: A Phenomenological Study. Heroin Addiction And Related Clinical Problems, 19 (6). ISSN 1592-1638

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The Irish Travelling community are identified “as a people with shared history, culture and traditions including, historically, a nomadic way of life”. The core of Travelling culture is strong family bonds which support resilience, however changing social circumstances and dislocation have contributed to significant mental and physical health issues accompanied by a steep rise in substance abuse and addiction. Aim: To explore and describe Irish Travellers’ experiences of drug use and opioid agonist treatment (OAT), with a view to improving service delivery and expanding the limited research base. Methods: A phenomenological approach using semi-structured interviews was conducted with seven opioid dependent Irish Travellers (two females/five males) currently on OAT at an outpatient clinic in Dublin, Ireland. Results: All participants described the complexities arising from drug use, with significant life events often accompanied by depression and drug use (street, prescribed and over the counter) as a means of self-medication. Barriers to accessing treatment included shame and stigma, fears around being shunned by the community, and a negative attitude towards OAT. All participants and particularly women reported that stigma related physical violence came from community elders if suspected of drug use or association with drug users. Despite initial strong reservations about OAT, experiences were largely positive with acceptance by and support from staff viewed as instrumental. Conclusions: The development of culturally appropriate, gender sensitive and integrated OAT and mental health support services, designed with input from addiction and mental health specialists, alongside community members is warranted.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1117 Public Health And Health Services
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: Associazione per l'Utilizzo delle Conoscenze Neuroscientifiche a fini Sociali
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2017 10:05
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2023 12:34
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7647
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