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How to live with and despite addiction : Experiences of drug users in Vietnam

Abstract : Overcoming drug addiction has been proved to be realistic and common. However, it remains unclear how these people manage to do it, what facilitates and what hinders their efforts. This study seeks to understand the experiences of life with drug use with insights from Vietnam by investigating three specific questions: (1) What major hardships do people who inject drugs (PWID) encounter in their daily lives? (2) How do they cope with these challenges? (3) What resources (more specifically, what social and cultural capital) do they mobilize during this process? We employed ethnographic observation in peer support group offices for a total of 12 months and in-depth interviews with 62 drug-injecting individuals in Haiphong, a major port city in Northern Vietnam with a high burden of heroin addiction and HIV. About one third of participants were interviewed a second time a year after their first interviews. We found that stigma and living with HIV were the two major hardships that PWID in Vietnam encounter in their daily lives. Although participants actively sought to cope with these challenges and mobilized their available cultural knowledge and social resources, their efforts were most effective in reducing their negative feelings but had limited impact on changing their living situations. This limited impact relates to participants’ broader disadvantages in terms of education and employability and a lack of supportive structural mechanisms. This study argues that the drug-related challenges of PWID in Vietnam are inseparable to broader structural factors. Thus, effective interventions must tackle broad social issues, instead of being limited to drug issues, to strengthen the existing support structure for PWID and improve the quality of life of PWID.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 11, 2022 - 10:25:08 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - 3:13:18 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 6:27:41 PM


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  • HAL Id : tel-03565691, version 1



Thu Trang Nguyen. How to live with and despite addiction : Experiences of drug users in Vietnam. Political science. Université Montpellier, 2020. English. ⟨NNT : 2020MONTD004⟩. ⟨tel-03565691⟩



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