Home > A systematic review of qualitative research on substance use among refugees.

Saleh, Ebtesam A and Lazaridou, Felicia Boma and Klapprott, Felix and Wazaify, Mayyada and Heinz, Andreas and Kluge, Ulrike (2023) A systematic review of qualitative research on substance use among refugees. Addiction, 118, (2), pp. 218-253. doi: 10.1111/add.16021.

External website: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.16...

AIMS: To evaluate qualitative research on substance use and substance use disorders (SUDs) among refugees in terms of practitioners' and substance users' attitudes, beliefs and experiences.

METHODS: Six medical, allied health and social sciences databases (EBSCO, PubMed, ScienceDirect, Web of Science, Scholar and the Cochrane Library) were systematically searched in a time frame between January and April 2021 to identify original peer-reviewed articles describing qualitative findings related to substance use among refugees (alcohol, illicit drugs, tobacco and prescription drugs). Study selection, critical appraisal and detailed extraction were performed via the Joanna Briggs Institute Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA) (2018). Three independent reviewers selected the relevant abstracts and articles. Synthesis of the evidence identified prominent themes relating to the context and consequences of substance use.

RESULTS: Twenty-six studies were included in this review. Twenty-three studies applied qualitative methods and three applied mixed methods. Synthesis of the evidence from the included studies resulted in four main findings: there is a considerable susceptibility of refugees to substance use and SUDs; the harmful consequences of substance use are complicated by the social insecurities of refugees; there are rather high barriers to treatment and health facilities for refugees in many host countries; and there is a strong need to improve effective access to treatment, interventions and prevention approaches.

CONCLUSIONS: Refugees are at high risk for substance use and substance use disorders and often face high barriers to treatment and interventions in host countries.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Review, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Screening / Assessment
February 2023
Identification #
doi: 10.1111/add.16021
Page Range
pp. 218-253

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