The official journal of
EUROPAD - European Opiate Addiction Treatment Association
WFTOD - World Federation for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence
Editor: Icro Maremmani, MD - Pisa, Italy, EU
Associate Editors:
Thomas Clausen, MD - Oslo, Norway
Pier Paolo Pani, MD - Cagliari, Italy, EU
Marta Torrens, MD - Barcelona, Spain, EU
Statistical Editor:
Mario Miccoli, PhD - Pisa, Italy, EU

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Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems: 2024, 26, 35

Effects of heroin and other illicit drug usage on family and social network in Sri Lanka. Evidence from a cross sectional study

Nuwan Darshana, Champa Wijesinghe, and Vijitha De Silva

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Summary: Background: Strong family and social networks are identified as important factors for the effective treatment and rehabilitation of drug users. This study was conducted to assess the effects of illicit drug use behaviour on family and social networks among male illicit drug users admitted to rehabilitation centres in Sri Lanka. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a consecutive sample of 431 male illicit drug users in five selected rehabilitation centres in Sri Lanka. Effects on family and social networks (family and social relationships, legal and employment status) were assessed using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify the factors associated with the effects of illicit drug use behaviour on family and social networks. Results: A large majority (92.8%) of drug users were heroin users, while 89.4% of the total sample was addicted to heroin. Adverse legal consequences (86.3%) were identified as the commonest effect on family and social networks, followed by adverse consequences in family relationships (83.5%) and in social relationships (78.4%). Adverse consequences on employment (58.5%) were reported as relatively less common, though they too affected over half of the sample, while at least any of that problem were reported among 98.4% of drug users. Drug users with higher problematic levels of drug use were more likely to experience adverse consequences on family and social relationships, employment and legal aspects (p<0.001). Polydrug users were more likely to have adverse consequences on family relationships (p<0.05), while drug users in the younger age group were more likely to have adverse consequences on employment aspects (p<0.05). Conclusions: As many drug users are not able to identify the consequences of illicit drug use, awareness should be improved among them as well as among family members and even the wider society for a successful implementation of drug prevention and harm reduction programs.

Keywords: Effects; drug use behaviour; family and social network


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