History Of Criminal Offense And Adverse Childhood Experiences With Relapse Among Adolescent Substance Abusers In Treatment Centers Of The Department Of Medical Services, Ministry Of Public Health, Thailand

Patcha Jomket, Bang-on Thepthien, Prapapun Chucharoen


Relapse is a common feature of drug addiction, and chronic drug use and relapse creates elevated risk for serious illness. This research had the objective to study the characteristics of relapse among adolescent substance abusers and examine the association between history of criminal offense and adverse childhood experience with relapse. This study used data from a cross-sectional survey of 373 persons age 18-24 years with a history of use of an addictive drug (including alcoholic beverage and cigarettes). The sample was drawn from the population admitted for drug treatment at rehabilitation centers under the Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Public Health of Thailand, during May to August, 2018. The research protocol and data collection instruments were approved by the Ethical Review Committee of Mahidol University and the MOPH. The sample in this study was predominately male (75.9%), age under 20 years (31.4%), single (64.1%), Buddhist (91.2%), gainfully employed (53.9%), with high school or higher education (70.5%), working in wage labor (49.8%), and had been in drug treatment more than once (38.9%). The youngest age at first drug use in this sample was 10 years. Three-fourths (72.4%) had history of trouble with the police before, 31.9% had been arrested for a drug offense, and 7.5% had been arrested for other charges. Fully 82.6% reported having at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE); nearly half (45.0%) reported that someone in the household was addicted to alcohol or other addictive substance. Other types of family dysfunction include divorced/separated parents (43.2%), and history of emotional abuse (42.6%). Having had one or more ACE, female, and had ever had poly-drug use were significantly associated with relapse among adolescent substance abusers in the drug treatment programs. The study highlights the importance of tailoring treatment to address risk factors for relapse.

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