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DRUG ADDICTION AS A PROBLEM-DETERMINED SYSTEM: A CASE STUDY Introduction Drug addiction seems to be a rapidly growing societal problem that leaves many lives destroyed in its wake. Families are ripped apart by its devastating impact, and countless drug addicts are unable to free themselves from the powerful grip of drug addiction and consequently pay with their lives. According to Edmonds and Wilcocks (1995), drug addiction is a very real problem in South Africa. It affects people from all walks of life and can no longer be considered a localised problem.

Jackson, Usher and O’Brien (2006) found that the experience of having a family member that is addicted to drugs, especially a child, had a profound effect on other members of the immediate family as well as on the family relationships. Butler and Bauld (2005) highlighted the devastation parents experienced in learning that their child was addicted to drugs and the subsequent impact that this had on their lives. Grohsman (2007) argues that the impact of drug addiction goes beyond the individual and the family, as the ripples thereof can also be felt in the larger community and economy.

Therefore, it seems that parents, families, teachers, community and church leaders, healthcare professionals, law enforcement agencies, government and society at large, have a tremendous task ahead in the prevention and treatment of drug abuse throughout the country. Just like a tree bears fruit when conditions are optimal for such an occurrence to take place, the problem of drug addiction is also assumed to develop within the context of a system of relatedness that put forth just the right ingredients for its emergence.

Therefore, as the 3 researcher, I set out to explore the specific interactions between role players that created a suitable environment for the problem of drug addiction to emerge. As human beings, we are social creatures and thus our life experiences are inevitably tied up in the experiences of others. Any attempt to understand a particular individual has to include those that form part of that individual’s ecology of living Statement of the problem ? Drop in attendance and performance at work or school. Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors. ? Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies. ? Unexplained change in personality or attitude. ? Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts. ? Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness. ? To built up a drug tolerance ? take drugs to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms. ? lost control over your drug use ? life revolves around drug use ? abandoned activities you used to enjoy, . continue to use drugs, despite knowing it’s hurting you. Significance of the study The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of how a problemdetermined system developed around a case of drug addiction within the context of a system of relatedness. The epistemological framework informing this qualitative study was constructivism. The six participants who took part in the study represent the most prominent role players in the particular context of living.

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The individual battling with drug addiction, his parents, older sister, maternal grandmother and maternal aunt were interviewed. The methods of data collection employed were semi-structured interviews, a chronological event chart, genograms, and an eco-map. The interviews were interpreted using the hermeneutic approach. The different themes that emerged from each participant’s story were integrated in relation to each other and with respect to the collaborative sources of data.

The most dominant themes extracted within this study are the initial reactions to Andrew’s drug addiction, life changes experienced due to Andrew’s drug addiction, support, as well as the meanings attributed to Andrew’s drug addiction. Further researcher into problem-determined systems in different cultures is recommended. To Students: Firstly, the one reason of drug abuse among university students is peer pressure, particularly from the social influences among friends, school, and the community.

If their social main group is using drugs, it can risk for teens because they are the juncture age that really easy to be persuaded. For example, most of university students got a lot of money from their parents and a lot of students left home and have a freedom to stay in dormitory by themselves, these can cause teenagers to try drugs just to fit in the social norms, they might do it to impress their buddies to be considered “cool” as part of being in the group and gain acceptance by friends.

To Everybody: as we now, today this entire staff called drug, affect mostly young people and it is more obvious in places where there are many gathered, like university because of the easiness of finding drugs in university, whenever they want, it is really easy for them to buy it because of weak law enforcement in our country. In short, University students use drug because peer pressure, faulty function of the family, to relive their depression and the weak law enforcement. I think it is a big problem so much and we should do anything to protect them from drug.

They need to be more educated about drug abuse and have a stopping drug campaign. Moreover, the most important that can help is a family. Strong family relationship, interest in your teens, talking with reasons can prevent drug use Limitations of the Study Throughout the entire process of completing this study, the following limitations were found: The focus of this study was only directed on the experiences of one particular family in one specific culture. This narrow scope might be considered a limitation to this study, as it only explored how a single Caucasian family ascribed meaning to their particular experience of rug addiction. However, the main reasoning or driving force of this study was not to generalise the experiences of a particular family as being similar or dissimilar to the experiences of other families. Therefore, the qualitative orientation of this study allowed me as the researcher to focus my attention solely on the manner in which one family conceptualised their experiences of drug addiction. As was pointed out, Terre Blanche et al. (2006) explain that a qualitative approach allows the researcher to study selected issues in depth, openness and etail as it involves the studying of real-life situations as they unfold naturally. Therefore, the focus of this study was not aimed at aspects of generalised applicability that would fall within the domain of quantitative research. Another limitation to this study was the absence of Tim’s perspective regarding the family drama. However, it was each participant’s privilege and right to decide whether they wanted to partake in this research study. Tim’s refusal to be a part of this research study was therefore respected. Review or related determine Personal history and background

Childhood memory: [pic] In response to the news of Andrew’s drug addiction, David and Lauren both blamed themselves and tried to make sense of the situation. Both Emma and Sophia report that they also blamed David and Lauren for Andrew’s drug problem. When Katie heard about Andrew’s drug addiction, she blamed him for it, while Andrew also reported that he only had himself to blame. The first theme contains all the initial reactions experienced by the participants shortly after Andrew’s drug problem was exposed. Moreover, Andrew’s reaction to the responses from is family is also included here. Early adolescence Lauren, David, Katie, Emma and Sophia all reported experiencing shock. Both Lauren and David reported experiencing devastation, helplessness and guilt. Yet Lauren and David also felt relieved as they reported how the puzzle pieces fell into place at that moment. Emma was the only participant to report feelings of utter disbelief, and Katie was the only participant who reported that she was not surprised by the news of Andrew’s drug addiction as she had all along been suspecting that something was wrong with Andrew.

Andrew reported feeling embarrassed and sad when he told his family about his drug problem. Turning point Theme Two: Life Changes Experienced due to Andrew’s Drug Addiction This theme characterises all the changes that resulted in the family from the impact of Andrew’s drug addiction. Also included in this theme are the changes that took place in Andrew’s own life as a result of his drug addiction. Emotional changes Lauren and David reported that they felt helpless, guilty and overwhelmed by Andrew’s drug addiction. Emma and Sophia reported that they felt overwhelmed by the extent of their involvement.

Both Lauren and Andrew reported that they both felt utterly alone during this time. 15 Katie was the only participant to report that she felt tied-down by her responsibilities toward her own family, and that she was subsequently rather uninvolved in Andrew’s problems. Andrew reported that he felt anger towards his family. Identity changes Lauren, David and Andrew reported that they thought of themselves as failures. Lauren felt that she had failed as a mother and David felt that he failed as a father. Andrew reported that he was labelled as the black sheep of the family when his drug addiction became public.

David was the only participant to report that he was embarrassed by Andrew. Occupational changes Lauren reported that her occupational situation had become stressful as she repeatedly had to take time off from work as a result of Andrew’s drug addiction. She often had to attend court hearings when he had been arrested. Andrew reported that he had lost his job as a result of his drug addiction. Relationship changes Lauren, David, Katie and Andrew all reported that there was much more conflict between the family members. David and Lauren reported that communication within the family had become constrained.

Emma and Sophia reported that they became much closer to the members of the Joubert family as a result of their involvement. Katie was the only participant to report that she visited her parents less because Andrew was there. Reinforcement The orientation of this study is also adequately disclosed in that, as the researcher, I clearly demarcated my personal interest in the study and expectations thereof. The nature of the study was also clearly explained. As the researcher, my engagement with the material is reflected through the hermeneutic process of data analysis, which attempts to discover meaning and to achieve understanding.

Consequently, specific themes were identified that seem to underlie each participant’s unique experience regarding the topic of the study. Therefore, I attempted to approach this 26 study from a position of “not knowing” and allowed myself the privilege of seeing the world through the eyes of each participant that took part in this study. The hermeneutic process of data analysis also allowed me the opportunity to firmly ground the various interpretations, by linking each identified theme with examples from the specific interviews conducted with the participants.

The validity of this study was obtained by utilising the “triangulation” strategy. The data generated in this study was obtained from multiple sources such as the literature study, the description of the family and its members, the genograms, a chronological event chart, an eco-map and semi-structured interviews. The validity of this study is further strengthened by the overall coherence reflected in the qualitative nature, postmodern ontology, constructivist epistemology, literature study, hermeneutic method of analysis and collaborative resources chosen for this study.

As such, a visible thread of relevance runs through the different facets of this study. The study also appears “fruitful” as it provides an abundance of rich and meaningful descriptions about drug addiction as a problem-determined system. In particular, the participants that took part in this study all agreed that the ways in which I engaged them individually had made sense to them. As such, catalytic validity has been achieved. Conclusion This study allowed me as the researcher the profound privilege of bearing witness to intricate complexities of the Joubert family drama.

Through the stories told by each participant, the themes that seem to underlie them, and from the collaborative sources of data, I was able to see how Andrew’s drug addiction developed within the context of his family system. The following hypotheses were made: It appears that the Joubert family has always had extremely limiting rules to which each member had to adhere. These rules inevitably resulted in the formation of redundant 28 patterns of interaction between the family members.

The limited family repertoire provided a sense of stability as it ensured the predictability of each family member. Perhaps Andrew’s birth marked the start of this family’s evolution from an “undifferentiated blob of sameness” to greater individual differentiation. When Andrew was much younger, it was easier for the family to maintain its stability or status quo by opposing the difference or the new information that Andrew tried to bring to the family system. At this time, Andrew was merely pushed toward the periphery of the family as he was labelled the black sheep and the outsider.

Thus, by reframing the difference that Andrew brought to his family as deviance, the family was able to remain homeostatic and unchanged. But despite the Joubert family’s commitment to sameness, they had managed to create the context for change. Their immediate response to the challenge that Andrew’s drug addiction posed to their stability, was to form a problem-determined system whereby they all agreed through their languaging that Andrew’s drug addiction was in fact a problem. In this manner, the family tried to keep Andrew as their scapegoat by once again labelling him as the sole carrier of the problem.

However, Andrew’s drug addiction was much stronger than the homeostatic tendency of the Joubert family unit, and so evolution could take place. As a result, the stable family system was pushed off its axes and relationships were altered to such an extent that greater differentiation amongst the family members was made possible. Finally, it seems appropriate to say that where there was a beginning there is now an ending and in that way the study has come full circle as it achieved that which it has set out to achieve.

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