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‘Not having a real life’: psychosocial functions of using and selling drugs among young Afghan men who came to Sweden as unaccompanied minors
Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), Department of Social Work (SA). Department of Social Work, Protestant University of Applied Sciences Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany;Department of Social Work, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1929-0127
Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), Department of Social Work (SA).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6975-6645
Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), Department of Social Work (SA).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0653-0849
2023 (English)In: Journal of ethnic and migration studies, ISSN 1369-183X, E-ISSN 1469-9451, p. 1-21Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Unaccompanied minors (UM) entering Europe face significant psychosocial challenges. Uncertain residence situations, marginalization during the asylum process, and low levels of support increase their risk of developing mental health and drug use issues. However, little is known about drug involvement (using and dealing) in this group. This is the first study to investigate drug involvement among young adults who entered Europe as UM from their subjective perspectives. We conducted qualitative interviews with 11 Afghan men who came to Sweden as UM in 2015/2016 and had experience of using and/or selling drugs, and analyzed the transcripts based on grounded theory. Drug initiation usually occurred after arrival in Sweden and was related to peer influence. Using and selling fulfilled specific psychosocial functions including self-medication and money-making. ‘Not having a real life’ (being excluded from school, employment, and many social activities) emerged as a central motive for drug involvement. By using or selling drugs, feelings of social belonging and control over one's own life could be experienced. Long, uncertain asylum processes and social exclusion exacerbate the risk of UM and former UM using or selling drugs. Policy and intervention measures must focus on providing this group with support, social inclusion, and meaningful activities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2023. p. 1-21
Keywords [en]
Unaccompanied minors, Sweden, drug use, drugselling, social exclusion
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-64820DOI: 10.1080/1369183x.2023.2290984ISI: 001128558000001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85180208679OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-64820DiVA, id: diva2:1823925
Part of project
Urban drug scenes as risk environments - how do the police and social welfare institutions intervene and how are problem drug users affected?, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
Funder
Riksbankens JubileumsfondRiksbankens JubileumsfondAvailable from: 2024-01-03 Created: 2024-01-03 Last updated: 2024-01-04Bibliographically approved

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Nordgren, JohanRichert, Torkel

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