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      Managing Stigma: Women Drug Users and Recovery Services.

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          Abstract

          Women who use drugs are stigmatized for their drug use behavior, which marginalizes them from mainstream society. Stigmatization can be viewed as an attempt by social services to exert control. Research shows that these strategies do not work well for discouraging drug use; whereas attempts to reduce the stigma related to drug use can encourage users to stop use. Using qualitative methods and grounded theory analysis, the goal of this study is to examine (1) the stigmatization of drug use through different stages; (2) how stigmatized women drug users perceive normality; and (3) barriers and challenges to recovery. Based on in-depth interviews from 20 women who used methamphetamine, the analysis focuses on stigmatization before the initiation of drug use, difficulties related to stigma as drug users, and challenges due to stigmatization as they recover from drug use. Findings show that women are stigmatized before they use drugs, face more stigma as they use, and even during recovery society still holds onto the label of former drug user, making it difficult to avoid stigma. The findings contribute to a better understanding of how stigmatization of women drug users impacts their recovery and provides suggestions for social service and treatment providers.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Fusio
          Fusio : the Bentley undergraduate research journal
          2017
          : 1
          : 2
          Article
          NIHMS931455
          6103317
          30140790

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