Adolescents Drug Abuse: The Biopsychosocial Motivations Andtherapeutic Community Intervention—A Qualitative Study of Three Former Drug Addicts

Ho Yee Sen, PhD


This study investigates why adolescents use and abuse drugs by assessing the primary factors in the Bio-psychosocial (BPS) Model.  From one-to-one, in-depth interviews with three participants, the findings of this study support the supposition that drug abuse is deeply imbedded in the family and peer functioning and relationships.  Impaired psychological development from childhood experiences due to family conflicts and crises is likely the key factor that predisposes adolescents to drug use.  Peers socialisation and activities, and easy accessibility of drugs are co-enablers.  Curiosity, favourable attitude towards drug use and the lack of awareness of drug use consequences are the motivational antecedents for experimentation with drugs.  An interesting finding is that the ‘mystique’ and fascination surrounding song lyrics and rock music can be a threshold to drug initiation. This research also investigates the conditions that contribute to drug use cessation amongst drug addicts in a therapeutic community (TC) intervention. Drug use cessation is a result of individual commitment to the recovery process.  The reparative self-worth through knowing God and the care and love of the people in a community operated as healing balms during rehabilitation.  Several implications for both research and practitioners are derived in this study.


Drug abuse; Adolescents; Therapeutic Community Intervention; Bio psychosocial; Qualitative Research.

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