Presentation on theme: "Jennifer Hoolachan, PhD Candidate. Youth literature focuses on recreational substance use Homeless literature focuses on problematic substance use."— Presentation transcript:
Youth literature focuses on recreational substance use Homeless literature focuses on problematic substance use What about substance users who are both young and homeless? Recreational or problematic?
Source: A Public Health Approach to Drug Control in Canada Health Officers Council of British Columbia, October 2005
What are homeless people’s perspectives as to why they consume drugs and/or alcohol? What role does substance use have in their lives? How does their homelessness interact with their substance use? How does the physical and social contexts of their lives influence their substance use?
Symbolic Interactionism George Herbert Mead (1863 – 1931) Herbert George Blumer (1900 – 1987) Blumer: SI rests on the following premises: 1. Human beings act toward things on the basis of the meanings that the things have for them 2. The meaning of such things is derived from, or arises out of, the social interaction that one has with one’s fellows 3. These meanings are handled in, and modified through, an interpretive process used by the person in dealing with the things he encounters
Immersion in a social context for an extended period of time Participant-observation Field notes Research diary Ethnographic interviewing Life history interviewing
Eight months in a service that provides temporary accommodation for young people aged 16 – 25 years Aim is to recruit a group of 10 – 15 young people and 4 – 6 staff members Snowball sampling
Disclosure of illegal activities “imminent and significant harm to the participant or another individual” Maintaining confidentiality Handling requests from participants Leaving the field
Legal risks Picked up by police Expected to “snitch” Health risks Blood borne viruses Stress Personal risks Risk of being attacked
Collects the following data in relation to individuals who have died in Scotland in a given calendar year from a drug related death (i.e. overdose): Demographics (gender, age, race etc.) Living arrangements Previous incidents of non-fatal overdose Medical and psychiatric history Contact with treatment services Involvement in criminal justice system Toxicology Substitute prescribing (e.g. methadone)
A lot about drug related deaths! The availability of various sources of literature How to write a Government/ISD report How teams within the Government and NHS are structured and the corresponding politics How to handle myself at meetings with stakeholders and present ‘need-to-know’ information That people really do look to you as being the expert in a given area
Pros Fast-stream Work in all areas of policy Up-to-date on ‘hot’ policy areas Lots of networking Cons No guarantee you will work in a policy area related to your research interest No primary research Politics!