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Moral concerns - Treatment staff and user perspectives on alcohol and drug problems
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD).
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Constructions of alcohol and drug problems, as well as of treatment, show a great variation that can be understood from the perspective of societal needs to categorize individuals as deviant. The thesis deals with contemporary perspectives, among staff in treatment of alcohol and drug problems and a group of drug users, on alcohol and drug problems and how these problems should be handled in the public sphere. The thesis consists of four papers covering: (1) views of treatment staff on alcohol and drug problems, (2) views of treatment staff on gender issues, (3) views of treatment staff on priorities of client groups and (4) views on the “user” from the point of a union for drug users. The first three papers use questionnaire-data from a treatment systems study in Stockholm County. The first and third papers deal with questions directed to treatment staff whereas the second paper besides staff data analyses data from interviews with 1865 individuals entering treatment for alcohol and drug problems. The fourth paper is a discourse analysis of texts written by the Swedish users union.

The results shows that staff see alcohol and drug problems as social problems, diseases and moral problems. Staff also perceive men and women in treatment as different, both in terms of their problems and their treatment. These experienced differences were supported by comparisons between men and women in treatment in a few cases, but mostly differences were not that great or did not appear at all. When staff were asked to make priorities between groups of clients they seem to take past actions of the clients into account rather than using the egalitarian reasoning regulating priorities in official documents. Taking past actions into account indicates a moral approach to alcohol and drug problems. The analysis of the Swedish users union also points at a moral perspective on drug problems in the dominating drug policy discourse, pronounced in the opposition of the union. In this opposition the union constructs the user as a “consumer”, as “weak”, “sick” and “innocent”. The union shows signs of a human rights perspective, a public health perspective and a disease perspective as well as a direct opposition to the perspective of the user as a criminal.

Seen together the papers show the importance of categorizing subjects for and in treatment as well as the constructed nature of alcohol and drug problems. A moral perspective seems to be the base for many categorizations (distinguishing between normal and deviant as well as between more and less culpable “troubled persons”) and is not as clearly in conflict with medical and social perspectives as one might expect. The thesis also indicates a strengthened medical approach with connections to individualisation of problems and market orientation. To classify a certain group of individuals as deviants is important for our construction of normality and inclusiveness, whether the deviance is in terms of illness or moral failure. Treatment of deviance can be seen as a manifestation and reproduction of this categorization and research on treatment and deviance plays an important part in this process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Kriminologiska institutionen , 2006. , 252 p.
Series
Avhandlingsserie / Kriminologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1404-1820 ; 19
Keyword [en]
alcohol and drug problems, treatment, categorization, moralization, attitudes
National Category
Law and Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1003ISBN: 91-7155-255-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-1003DiVA: diva2:189159
Public defence
2006-05-24, Skandiasalen, hus 15, Kräftriket, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-05-03 Created: 2006-05-03 Last updated: 2016-05-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The nature of and responsibility for alcohol and drug problems: Views among treatment staff
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The nature of and responsibility for alcohol and drug problems: Views among treatment staff
2004 In: Addiction Research and Theory, ISSN 1606-6359, Vol. 12, no 5, 413-431 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22607 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1003Available from: 2006-05-03 Created: 2006-05-03Bibliographically approved
2. Women and men – same problems, different treatment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Women and men – same problems, different treatment
2006 (English)In: International Journal of Social Welfare, ISSN 1369-6866, E-ISSN 1468-2397, Vol. 16, no 1, 18-31 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The focus on difference between men and women has been important in the development of gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug problems. The aim of this article is to examine the views of alcohol and drug treatment staff on differences between men and women in treatment and compare men and women in treatment on issues related to staff attitudes. One data set consists of questionnaires sent to staff working with alcohol and drug problems in Stockholm County (n = 918). Another data set consists of interviews with women and men in treatment for alcohol and drug problems in Stockholm (n = 1865). The results show that staff experience differences between men and women both in their problems and in how they should be treated. Some of these differences are supported by the comparison of women and men in the client-data, but mostly the differences are relatively small or even non-existent.

Keyword
alcohol and drug problems • clients • gender differences • staff attitudes • treatment
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22608 (URN)10.1111/j.1468-2397.2006.00420.x (DOI)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1003Available from: 2006-05-03 Created: 2006-05-03 Last updated: 2010-08-04Bibliographically approved
3. Priorities in Swedish alcohol and drug treatment: Policies, staff views and competing logics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Priorities in Swedish alcohol and drug treatment: Policies, staff views and competing logics
2006 (English)In: Contemporary Drug Problems, ISSN 0091-4509, Vol. 33, 367-399 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Federal Legal Publications, 2006
Keyword
Alcohol and drug problems, ethical reasoning, priority staff, treatment
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22609 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1003Available from: 2006-05-03 Created: 2006-05-03 Last updated: 2010-10-25Bibliographically approved
4. The weak, sick and innocent consumer – Constructions of “the user” by the Swedish Users Union
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The weak, sick and innocent consumer – Constructions of “the user” by the Swedish Users Union
2006 (English)In: Drug users and spaces for legitimate action / [ed] Jørgen Anker, Helsinki: NAD , 2006, 155-179 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsinki: NAD, 2006
Series
NAD publication, ISSN 9515328810 ; 49
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22610 (URN)9515328810 (ISBN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1003 RefereegranskatAvailable from: 2006-05-03 Created: 2006-05-03 Last updated: 2010-07-09Bibliographically approved
5. Women and men in alcohol and drug treatment: An overview of a Stockholm County study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Women and men in alcohol and drug treatment: An overview of a Stockholm County study
Show others...
2003 (English)In: Nordisk Alkohol- & Narkotikatidskrift, ISSN 1455-0725, Vol. 20, no 2-3, 91-100 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22611 (URN)
Available from: 2006-05-03 Created: 2006-05-03 Last updated: 2016-05-19Bibliographically approved

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