“You get stuck in it”: Young people's accounts of attempting to quit non-medical tramadol use

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Aim: Non-medical use of tramadol and other prescription opioid use has become a great concern in many countries, including Sweden. This study examines key components in young people's accounts of attempting to quit drugs, focusing on non-medical use of tramadol. Methods: Repeated qualitative interviews were conducted with 12 individuals aged 19–24 years with experiences of problems related to non-medical tramadol use. The analysis used the concepts of autonomy, competence, and relatedness from self-determination theory. Results: Three themes emerged from the young people's accounts: (1) quitting initiated by parents and professionals; (2) being willing, but unable; and (3) between ambivalence and determination. These themes demonstrate conflicting emotions towards drug use along with a significant external pressure to quit, but also difficulties in quitting due to experiences of dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and mental health issues. For most participants, however, an increasing autonomous will and ability to abstain from drugs gradually developed, with the support from trusted relationships with professionals, family, and friends playing a crucial role. Conclusion: The process of trying to quit non-medical tramadol use can be challenging and involve a complex interaction between willingness and capability, where external influence can be either facilitating or hindering. This study highlights the importance of taking into account young people's own perspectives in treatment efforts, where trust is a key component.

Originalspråkengelska
Sidor (från-till)355-370
TidskriftNAD Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Volym40
Nummer4
Tidigt onlinedatum2023
DOI
StatusPublished - 2023

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