Author: Chen, Chau Lin Charlie
Title: What contributes to the positive outcomes of gospel drug treatment? Insights from the life stories of former drug abusers who turned over a new leaf
Advisors: Chan, Yuk Chung (APSS)
Degree: DSW
Year: 2019
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Drug abuse -- Treatment -- China -- Hong Kong
Church work with drug addicts -- China -- Hong Kong
Drug addicts -- Rehabilitation -- China -- Hong Kong
Drug abuse -- Psychological aspects
Social work with drug addicts -- China -- Hong Kong
Department: Department of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: xi, 258 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Illicit drug use is a big problem in Hong Kong. Gospel drug treatment has been found to be one of the most effective methods of drug abstention. Thus, in this thesis two major concepts were analysed: religiosity and spirituality. In addition, the aspects of gospel drug treatment that have successfully contributed to drug abstinence were identified. The central question of the thesis was as follows: "What factors have contributed to successful treatment outcomes for former users who have participated in residential gospel drug treatment programmes?" To answer this, a life story approach was adopted and in-depth interviews were conducted with eight former drug users. The life story approach allowed all of the informants to freely share their life journeys. Each of them spoke of the low points in their lives and the turning points at which their recovery began. The road to successful drug abstention was very difficult for the eight informants. Among them, seven said that they would only consider themselves successful if they could refrain from taking drugs until they died. Their definition of successful drug abstention was much stricter than the one year designated by the Hong Kong government. Their definitions of success also implied a kind of self-control. The informants' definitions of religiosity and spirituality were conceptually different. "Religiosity" referred to religious activities, including explicit behaviour. "Spirituality" referred to subjective feelings, an individual's spiritual beliefs or religion. It emphasised the implicit, personal experience. Both religiosity and spirituality played important roles in gospel drug treatment. They helped the informants find hope and meaning in life. In this thesis, the major elements that helped the informants abstain from drugs were: (1) a disciplined life, (2) a supporting community or group, (3) role models, (4) skills training, (5) spirituality and religiosity, (6) finding their identities, (7) the power of faith, (8) normal people, and (9) hope. It is suggested that the abovementioned elements of gospel drug treatment can be applied at different levels, including practice, service, education and policy. Courses related to religiosity and spirituality can be added to social work course designs so that students can learn more about them. In this way, they will be better equipped when they later provide services, and they will know how to work with the service users. This is especially relevant to spirituality, because reliance on spirituality is not limited to drug taking; it is effective in many other fields. Finally, the government must have a blueprint for drug treatment services at the level of social policy to improve the current programme.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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