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Palestinian children’s experiences of drug abuse in the home in the Occupied Territories of Palestine: A scoping review of extant literature

Van Hout, MC and Al-Afifi, MF and Abushams, L and Kewley, S and Quigg, Z and Whitfield, M and McVeigh, J and Wazaify, M (2019) Palestinian children’s experiences of drug abuse in the home in the Occupied Territories of Palestine: A scoping review of extant literature. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. ISSN 1557-1874

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Abstract

The Occupied Territories of Palestine (OtP) consists of the non-contiguous West Bank including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Its dense population with political and economic tensions is affected by a rise in drug trafficking, abuse and addiction. A scoping review mapped what is known about Palestinian children’s experiences of drug abuse in the home. Following application of exclusion measures, six records remained. Charting and analysis resulted in three themes: the consequences of being a child with a drug-using parent, causal factors of drug use in Palestinian families and prevalence rates of parental drug use are unknown. The review paints a concerning picture of stigma, family dysfunction, school drop-out, child and family isolation and maladaptive child development. Exposure to drugs, trauma and abuse contributes to strong potential for Palestinian child drug use, sexual exploitation, overdose, psychiatric illness and infectious disease acquisition. The review will inform the urgent strategic response.

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