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The relationship between sight loss and substance use: Users’ perspectives.

Galvani, S and Livingston, W and Morgan, H (2016) The relationship between sight loss and substance use: Users’ perspectives. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 23 (6). pp. 476-483. ISSN 0968-7637

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Abstract

© 2015 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.Background: This UK study emerged from the concerns of a sight loss charity which sought to meet the support needs of its service users with problematic alcohol use. This paper presents findings from one strand of the study focusing on service users’ perspectives. Aims: The aim was to explore the meaning and function of substance use in the lives of people with sight loss. Method: Through purposive and snowball sampling, 17 semi-structured interviews were held with people face-to-face or via telephone. Data were analysed thematically through coding, recoding and categorising data with double coding providing quality control. Results: People were at different stages in their use of substances and their experiences of sight loss. They reported a number of relationships between sight loss and substance use with three main relationships emerging; substance use as, (i) a cause of their sight loss,(ii) a contributor to their sight loss and (iii) a coping mechanism for sight loss. Conclusion: The diverse experiences of people with sight loss and substance problems require an individual and tailored response from substance use professionals. This needs to include routine questioning and accurate information about the medical relationship between sight loss and substance use.

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