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Home > Risk and responsibilization: resistance and compliance in Swedish treatment for youth cannabis use.

Ekendahl, Mats and Månsson, Josefin and Karlsson, Patrik (2020) Risk and responsibilization: resistance and compliance in Swedish treatment for youth cannabis use. Drugs: Education Prevention and Policy , 27 , (1) . https://doi.org/10.1080/09687637.2018.1544224.

URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09687...

There is a lack of research on how youth make sense of substance abuse treatment. The aim of this article was to explore how young people in Stockholm, Sweden, perceive outpatient treatment for cannabis use, position themselves as subjects in relation to it, and how they respond to staff’s appeals to rationality and responsible action. The data, consisting of 18 interviews with clients recruited from six treatment centers, were explored using narrative and thematic analysis. Results show that the young clients understood their histories in a responsibilized way where the risk information about cannabis they received was considered crucial. Those who resisted treatment rejected cannabis problematizations by staff, did not value interventions and felt that they had control over their use. Those who complied with treatment said that cannabis problematizations helped them acknowledge their own difficulties, handle substance dependence and mature.

We conclude that treatment resistance among young cannabis users would perhaps be prevented if the adult world acknowledged that some believe it is rational and responsible to use cannabis. While the criminal offense of substance use is often expiated through ‘treatment’ in Sweden, young clients establishing a substance use identity could possibly be avoided if cannabis was not equated with risk.


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