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Alarming attitudinal barriers to help-seekingin drug-related emergency situations: Results from a Swedish online survey
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies (from 2013).
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies (from 2013). Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Centre for Public Safety (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5668-0469
2019 (English)In: Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN 1455-0725, E-ISSN 1458-6126, p. 1-10Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Background: New troublesome drug trends constitute a challenge for public health. Sweden has the second highest drug-related mortality rate in Europe. This calls for an investigation into the help-seeking attitudes of young adults to early middle-aged individuals asking how they would act in acute drug-related emergency or overdose situations. Methods: In total, 1232 individuals com- pleted an online survey promoted on Sweden’s largest discussion forum Flashback.org. Their free- text responses were analysed according to inductively generated categories. Results: Around 60% of the sample would act as expected and contact emergency care without hesitation. However, approximately 32% of the sample showed palpable resistance and would put off seeking help and use emergency care only as a last resort due to, for example, fear of legal repercussions and stigma. Moreover, 8% displayed a total lack of confidence in public healthcare and would avoid it at all costs or entirely disregard it as an option due to the alleged risk of negative consequences and expe- rienced restrictions on their personal freedom. Conclusions: While the inevitable criminalisation and stigmatisation associated with Sweden’s “zero tolerance” drug policy putatively serve as deterrents to drug use, our results demonstrate that these measures may also contribute to attitudes which discourage help-seeking. Such attitudes may at least partly explain the growing and comparatively high number of drug-induced deaths. Therefore, attitudinal and structural barriers to acute help-seeking in drug-related emergency situations should be acknowledged and investigated further in order to minimise harm.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2019. p. 1-10
Keywords [en]
drug abuse, drug-related mortality, emergency, help-seeking behaviour, novel psychoactive substances
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-75776DOI: 10.1177/1455072519852837OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-75776DiVA, id: diva2:1371071
Funder
Public Health Agency of Sweden , 0234-2016Region Värmland, LIVFOU-765801Available from: 2019-11-19 Created: 2019-11-19 Last updated: 2019-11-19Bibliographically approved

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Soussan, ChristopheKjellgren, Anette
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