"Not Everyone who Wanders is Lost": Exploring Street Youths' Decision Making Processes in Relation to the Problematic Use of Substances and Its Possible Solutions

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Carleton University (Canada), 2007 - Decision making - 172 pages
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This study examines the decision making processes of street youth regarding the use of substances. Living on the margins of society means that street youth often hold different views than the social service providers they interact with, who are entrenched members of the mainstream. Both groups agree there is considerable substance use among the street youth population in Ottawa, but disagree on key details. Interviews with both groups produced a distinction between the street youth 'user' whose use is not problematic and the 'addict', who suffers problems related to health, mental health, high risk behaviour, involvement in crime, income loss, and victimization. Rational choice theory was used to explain street youths' decision to continue using substances despite these problems. The theory was further used, with mixed results, to predict that street youth who want to stop using seek solutions related to social support, spirituality, and self-reliance but not professional assistance, family support, and jail treatment programs.

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