Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 4 Issue 2 (May 1994), Pages fmi-fmi, 77-144

Surveying the drug service users' perspective through self‐help groups (pages 131-140)


Survey data is presented from a questionnaire designed and distributed through Victorian drug self‐help groups. This survey yielded 203 returns representative of Melbourne metropolitan admissions to drug treatment services on the variables of sex and region. The survey is examined both from the perspective of its methodological potential for providing entry to this hard‐to‐access population and also on the basis of its findings. Questioning of this sample concerning the difficulties they had encountered when seeking help revealed that the most frequently listed difficulties were waiting periods for access to services. Respondents that had previously used particular services were asked how beneficial they had found these services: Respondents most frequently listed self‐help groups, residential and methadone services as beneficial and least frequently listed medical (hospital casualty) and doctor services as beneficial. Stepwise logistical regression revealed six variables significantly predicting selfhelp treatment. Those reporting having sought self‐help groups were predicted by more frequently listed problems with alcohol and ‘over the counter’ drugs, reports of having sought counselling services and more frequently reported difficulties due to a lack of information and admission restrictions when seeking services. Despite a number of methodological weaknesses identifiable in the survey, experience with this project suggested collaboration between researchers and those active in self‐help networks as a useful model for future research into the drug service users perspective. Such collaboration should, however, begin at an earlier phase than occurred in the present study.

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