LATELY, LONG DISCUSSIONS TAKE PLACE ON AN INTERNATIONAL LEVEL with regards to the terminology often adopted by authors and scientific journals in the published papers, and the extent to which many of them may be stigmatizing for the people who use and abuse substances and their families. Today, the term “addict” “user” or “drug addict” need to be replaced. These terms carry labels and attribute identities that follow the individuals in the course of their lives. Great effort is being made on an international level to replace the above terms and give a more descriptive definition to the concept of substance use and abuse. Of course, it always takes time and adaptation both from journals and writers. Gradually we hope that these changes will be adopted by our journal as well, in order to help our readership realize it and gradually remove the stigma and prejudice against people and attitudes that can actually change. Great emphasis is also placed on highlighting personal experiences through similar quality studies that focus on the person and not on numbers.
The current issue is dedicated to specific topics that highlight the experiences from the implementation of training programs and programs promoting physical activity and sports with people who abused substances and / or were addicted during a period of their lives. It also includes a paper which describes the experiences of members from therapeutic communities in correctional facilities. Another paper deals with the interventions on the vulnerable population of juvenile refugees in the area of Mytilene and tries to highlight the possibilities and difficulties that exist in the organization of interventions to prevent substance use.
In the study of Zachartzi and Armaos, the experiences of the members of two Therapeutic Communities in prison are investigated and an attempt is made to compare the two systems. Thirty-five semi-structured interviews were conducted and data were analysed according to a phenomenological approach. The study highlights the changes in attitudes, perceptions, and behaviours regarding the use and involvement with illicit substances and concludes that participating in a residential Therapeutic Community program has significant benefits for drug addiction treatment.
The paper by Lambrou and Poulopoulos explores the concept of the transitional school for the clients of a drug addiction treatment program, in the light of Foucault’s heterotopias. It aims at exploring the experiences, perceptions, feelings and views of adult learners and their trainers in the process of transforming assumptions and perceptions. A qualitative method was used, with 14 semi-structured interviews with trainees and educators. The way partixcipants conceptualize schooling and the bridges connecting two worlds, the world ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of the school. As well as the way in which the Transitional School can create a heterotopic space for learning in line with the six principles of Foucault’s heterotopology.
The paper by Panagiotounis, Hassandra, Goudas and Theodorakis regarding the implementation of an exercise promotion program for adults in treatment is hosted in English. In their paper, the authors explore the importance of physical activity for the course of drug addiction treatment. The study focuses on a 5-week program that aims, on one hand to prepare them to take part in a 10-kilometer race, and on the other hand to effectively train people who used to be addicted to substances about making commitments, and achieving important goals that promote their physical and mental health. The study highlights the important relationship between positive life-goals, self-improvement, and commitment to drug addiction treatment goals. The results show that participation in sports activities can function as a safe environment for behaviour change and further mobilization in the treatment of addictions.
The paper by Parastatidou, Vassiloglou and Boutsiarakos highlights the central role of the Mytilene Counseling Center and Family Support Unit in creating a program of secondary prevention and early intervention in order to address substance use among unaccompanied, minor, refugees on the island of Lesvos. The article highlights the difficulty and complexity of this project, the need for personal commitment of both the staff and the participants, the differences arising from the cultural background and language as well as the need to form a stable, operating framework that will provide the necessary support for the project.
Finally, Tziaras’ paper deals with the history of the phenomenon of addictions, in order to broaden its view. Tziaras focuses on the connection of the phenomenon with poverty and explores the cultural, economic and social conditions for the transition from use to addiction. It attempts to focus on the economic conditions of the development of the phenomenon and in particular on the function of the “product-drugs” in the interwar market. It argues that through this perspective two out of the three sides of Olievenstein’s triangle of dependence emerge.
Co-editor of EXARTISIS