Being a Male Drug User and Female Drug User: Meaning of Drugs Use

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Siriporn Chirawatkul
Amorat Srikumsook Saito
Pranee Boonreong
Jeerapa Srirahut
Thitiwat Kongkird


This paper is a part of a qualitative study of experiences and perceptions of drug users through gender perspective in one hospital of Northeastern part. It aims to understand the meaning of drug abuse and, the differences of perceptions between male or female drug users. Qualitative method was employed at the one hospital during June-October 2012. Eighty three key informants including 41 females, with an average age of 26 years and 42 males, with an average age of 28 years participated in the study. Data were collected using in-depth interviews. Context and thematic analysis were conducted. Findings included four major themes that reflected meaning of drugs use; 1) ‘play’ is a word used by drug abusers to describe the use of drugs 2) drug abuse among male is regarded as a ‘normal’ behavior 3) for female, drug use is viewed as being ‘bad’ or a ‘slut’; 4) male homosexual abusers have to find drugs for their partners. The findings reveal that men and women have different background history towards drug use, from the beginning till the end. Further research is clearly needed to explore a gender-specific treatment system. In addition, policy makers and professionals should take gender into consideration in the planning of policy, research and intervention.


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Chirawatkul, S., Srikumsook Saito, A., Boonreong, P., Srirahut, J., & Kongkird, T. (2015). Being a Male Drug User and Female Drug User: Meaning of Drugs Use. Journal of the Psychiatric Association of Thailand, 58(4), 407–420. Retrieved from
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