Drug Use Cessation among Street Children and Youth

Embleton, L., Atwoli, L., Ayuku, D., & Braitstein, P. (2013). The journey of addiction: barriers to and facilitators of drug use cessation among street children and youths in Western Kenya. PloS one8(1), e53435.

Abstract: This mixed-methods study examined barriers to and facilitators of street children’s drug use cessation in Eldoret, Kenya utilizing a cross-sectional survey and focus group discussions with a community-based sample of street-involved children and youth. The primary objective of this study was to describe factors that may assist or impede cessation of drug use that can be utilized in developing substance use interventions for this marginalized population. In 2011, 146 children and youth ages 10–19 years, classified as either children on the street or children of the street were recruited to participate in the crosssectional survey. Of the 146 children that participated in the survey 40 were invited to participate in focus group discussion; 30 returned voluntarily to participate in the discussions. Several themes were derived from children’s narratives that described the barriers to and facilitators of drug cessation. Specifically, our findings reveal the strength of the addiction to inhalants, the dual role that peers and family play in substance use, and how the social, cultural, and economic context influence or impede cessation. Our findings demonstrate the need to integrate community, family and peers into any intervention in addition to traditional medical and psychological models for treatment of substance use dependence.

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