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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200253 Find in a Library
Title: Drug Use and the Role of Homelessness in the Process of Marginalization
Journal: Substance Use & Misuse  Volume:38  Issue:3-6  Dated:February-May 2003  Pages:311-338
Author(s): Moniek Coumans M.Sc.; Marinus Spreen Ph.D.
Date Published: February 2003
Page Count: 28
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This Dutch study examined the influence of marginalization on homelessness in the daily lives of drug users in Parkstad Limburg.
Abstract: Coumans et al. (2000) used the concept of marginalization to refer to a simultaneous process of social, economical, psychological, and physical deterioration in which a drug user loses control of his/her use. During this process a drug user progressively becomes detached from key institutions of society. A drug user may lose his/her job, become dependent on unemployment benefits, or become involved in illegal activities. One important variable in the process of marginalization is homelessness. Once the drug user becomes homeless, he/she must adapt to a new world in order to function daily in a variety of roles, contexts, environments, and systems. In order to examine marginalization and its impact on homelessness for drug users, this study obtained data from a sample of 58 drug users in the Dutch region of Parkstad Limburg in 1999. The following variables were used as indicators of drug-use control: whether the respondent used cocaine, used methadone, or injected drugs. Social integration was measured by the following binary variables: whether the respondent had contact with his/her parents during the last month and whether the respondent had at least one close friend, not necessarily within the drug scene. Other measures were used for the extent of public-nuisance behavior, economic deterioration, and health deterioration. The study found that marginalized drug users were more likely to be homeless than nonmarginalized drug users. The following behavior increased the odds of homelessness within each dimension of marginalization: injecting drugs, using cocaine, having no contact with friends and family outside the "drug scene," buying and using drugs at public places, having been arrested, dealing drugs, and poor physical health. These findings suggest that interventions should focus on reversing the process of marginalization in order to support the drug user in regaining control of both one's drug use and one's life. 38 references
Main Term(s): Drug abuse
Index Term(s): Drug abuse in foreign countries; Economic influences; Homeless offenders; Homeless persons; Netherlands; Social conditions
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