'Allowing the right' and its currency in managing drug stigma in Greece

Maria Fotopoulou, Alison Munro, Avril Taylor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    BACKGROUND:Evidence suggests that problem drug users are still subject to high levels of stigmatization. In countries, like Greece, where families occupy a central position and honour is collectively attained, secondary drug stigma is also highly prevalent. However, little is known about how drug users and their families manage drug stigma in the specific cultural milieu that makes up Greece. This article presents findings from a qualitative study exploring how drug stigma both manifests itself and is managed by drug users and parents in the context of Greek familial culture.METHODS:The study was conducted in two state drug agencies in Thessaloniki - Greece and involved the participation of 40 problem drug users (PDU) (23 male/17 female) and 8 parents of PDU. Qualitative, in-depth, interviews were used to collect narrative accounts about experiences of managing addiction, drug stigma and secondary stigma in the Greek parental home.RESULTS:'Allowing the right' - broadly understood as referring to passing to others information which might devalue a person and consequently that person's family - is discussed in terms of drug stigma management in Greece. We highlight how this culturally specific notion can be viewed as an active strategy adopted by both individual drug users and parents of PDU to manage stigmatization by illustrating the various way in which not 'allowing the right' was described by participants, including drug problem discovery or disclosure and subsequent management of drug using careers and drug stigma within the Greek family context.CONCLUSION:Given the significance of the cultural notion of 'allowing the right' in the trajectory of drug use amongst PDU and more particularly in stigma management and secondary stigma management, the paper highlights the need for further research into the field in Greece. The need for targeted culturally specific and culturally relevant interventions aimed at reducing drug stigma is also highlighted in relation to both policy and practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)723-730
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


    • Greece
    • problem drug use
    • stigma management
    • secondary stigma


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