Reducing Problematic Substance Use under Exceptional Circumstances—Effects of the COVID-19 Restrictions on Inpatient Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Finland
Kosonen, Janika; Ekqvist, Eeva; Kuusisto, Katja (2022-09-11)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s daily lives on multiple levels. At highest risk are the most vulnerable members of the society, whose lives were already affected by various risks even before the pandemic. This study investigates how clients in inpatient substance use disorder treatment experienced the COVID-19 restrictions and their influence on recovery. The research data consists of six focus group interviews conducted remotely using a semi-structured thematic interview method. The focus group clients (N = 19) were currently in inpatient substance abuse treatment during the pandemic and the ensuring restrictions. The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The results show that the COVID-19 restrictions have influenced the clients’ desistance processes throughout the pandemic. The restrictions seemed to exacerbate substance abuse problems before treatment initiation and highlight the importance of peer support during treatment. Moreover, the restrictions seemed to change the function and hamper the management of social capital, raise concerns about returning home, as well as intensifying the inter-municipal segregation of services. To conclude, attention should be paid to facilitating and ensuring informal support and managing social capital. In light of this study, it seems necessary to explore the social conditions among clients in inpatient substance abuse treatment during the pandemic.
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