Drug use and recovery among male heroin users in Zanzibar
This article is based on a study about drug use and recovery efforts among male heroin users in Zanzibar. The objective of the study was to explore the impact of sober houses in Zanzibar and examine the progress made by heroin users who attended the first sober house program in 2009. Data was collected during autumn 2019 and generated from 89 structured interviews and 18 follow-up in-depth interviews with the recovering heroin users. The aim was to track details about the individual drug use and recovery story. Focus of our attention was if and how they experienced support from the sober house program and from the wider recovery community that grew in Zanzibar over these years, based on volunteer work. In addition, the study tried to identify other sources of recovery capital important to the heroin user’s success in recovery. In the study 16% of the informants reported having been drug-free throughout the 10 years since attending the first program. The most successful one-third reported to have on average 9, 1 years total drug-free time. These figures for the middle-range and lower one-third was 5, 1 and 1, 9 years. Characteristics of the more successful was that they responded positively to the first sober house program, they stayed longer, rated the support higher and had more drug free time related to their first sober house program. Important was also that they to a larger degree avoided injection of heroin, engaged more in volunteer work and had a stronger family support.