The broad, long-term objective of this exploratory study is to gain an understanding of emerging trends among methamphetamine users in the suburbs, focusing on how users initiate, maintain, moderate, remit or resume use of methamphetamine over the life course. Methamphetamine users living in the suburbs comprise a hidden population of hard-to-reach drug users, and we know very little about the mechanisms of initiation to methamphetamine and patterns of methamphetamine use among this particular population.
The specific aims are: (1) to examine the initiation patterns, settings of use, and use behaviors of methamphetamine users living in the suburbs; and (2) to identify the transitions and turning points in the drug career of suburban methamphetamine users, with a focus on social roles across the life course. Recent health studies have found that methamphetamine users have higher levels of dysfunction and more serious health problems than users of other illicit drugs, including riskier sexual behaviors and injection practices. The guiding theoretical perspectives are symbolic interaction and life course theory, specifically the concept of social role transitions. Using qualitative research methods, a convenience sample of 50 active and 50 former users of methamphetamine will be recruited from the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. These suburbs have been identified as one of the areas in the U.S. most affected by the growing methamphetamine problem. The convenience sample will be driven by targeted and theoretical sampling methods. Only users age 18 and older will be interviewed, including male and female as well as African American, Hispanic and white users. Drug use history will be captured using a drug history matrix, a life history matrix, and in-depth audio-recorded interviews. Grounded theory methods will inform the data collection and analysis, wherein additional themes will be identified as they emerge from the data and confirmation of new findings will be supported in subsequent interviews. Data analysis includes triangulation of participant observation field notes, drug history matrices, life history matrices and in-depth interviews. The QSR N-Vivo computer program will be used to help manage the qualitative data. The in-depth knowledge gained from this study will help in the development of intervention and prevention initiatives to impede the spread of current and future methamphetamine epidemics into the suburbs. The broad findings of the study will help in the development of future large-scale research studies and guide the development of hypotheses, as well as inform treatment efforts and public health strategies for methamphetamine users. The findings of this study will help develop public health initiatives to address methamphetamine use. Recent health studies have found that methamphetamine users have higher levels of dysfunction and more serious health problems than users of other illicit drugs, including riskier sexual behaviors and injection practices. A greater understanding of the social contexts and diverse patterns of methamphetamine use and an in-depth knowledge of the diversity of methamphetamine users will help in designing more effective prevention and treatment programs. ? ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) (R15)
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Community Influences on Health Behavior (CIHB)
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Lambert, Elizabeth
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Kennesaw State University
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Lee, Nayeong; Boeri, Miriam (2017) Managing Stigma: Women Drug Users and Recovery Services. Fusio 1:65-94
Boeri, Miriam; Gardner, Megan; Gerken, Erin et al. (2016) ""I Don't Know What Fun Is"": Examining the Intersection of Social Capital, Social Networks, and Social Recovery. Drugs Alcohol Today 16:95-105
Lamonica, Aukje; Boeri, Miriam (2015) Risk Behaviors Among Suburban Women who Use Methamphetamine: Social Harms and Social Solutions. J Appl Soc Sci (Boulder) 9:98-114
Bairan, Annette; Boeri, Miriam; Morian, Janice (2014) Methamphetamine use among suburban women: implications for nurse practitioners. J Am Assoc Nurse Pract 26:620-8
Woodall, Denise; Boeri, Miriam (2014) ""When You Got Friends in Low Places, You Stay Low:"" Social Networks and Access to Resources for Female Methamphetamine Users in Low-Income Suburban Communities. J Drug Issues 44:321-339
Boeri, Miriam; Gibson, David; Boshears, Paul (2014) Conceptualizing Social Recovery: Recovery Routes of Methamphetamine Users. J Qual Crim Justice Criminol 2:5-38
Boeri, Miriam W; Tyndall, Benjamin D (2012) A Contextual Comparison of Risk Behaviors Among Older Adult Drug Users and Harm Reduction in Suburban Versus Inner-City Social Environments. J Appl Soc Sci 6:72-91
Lamonica, Aukje K; Boeri, Miriam (2012) An Exploration of the Relationship between the Use of Methamphetamine and Prescription Drugs. J Ethnogr Qual Res 6:160
Boeri, Miriam W; Tyndall, Benjamin D; Woodall, Denise R (2011) Suburban Poverty: Barriers to Services and Injury Prevention among Marginalized Women who Use Methamphetamine. West J Emerg Med 12:284-92
Boshears, Paul; Boeri, Miriam; Harbry, Liam (2011) Addiction and sociality: Perspectives from methamphetamine users in suburban USA. Addict Res Theory 19:289-301

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