Exploring Perspectives of People in Recovery: Peer Support Groups in Drug Rehabilitation within the Maldivian Context


1.Ms. Luhya Ismail (⚑ Maldives) 1

2.Mrs. Malsha Muneer (⚑ Maldives) 2

3.Ms. Zara Athif (⚑ Maldives) 3

1. Independent practitioner, 2. Villa College, 3. Independent Practitioner


Drug abuse is a prevailing issue in the Maldives, though the nation is often referred to as an "Island Paradise". By 2021, over 12,000 drug cases were reported within a span of five years. Institutional data indicates that the rates for testing positive for drugs have been on an alarming rise over the past few years - for opiates it has increased two-fold from 2016 to 2020.Though drug use has been recorded in all atolls of the Maldives, the geographically isolated nature of the islands has made it challenging to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services across the nation. In response to this growing problem of drug misuse in the Maldives, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) began to develop peer support groups (PSGs) as one of their rehabilitation approaches. Little research attention has been given to such efforts to explore how these are conducted, or its potential in contributing to addiction recovery.

This study will primarily examine PSGs for drug rehabilitation through the lens of participants, to understand their experience of implementing and participating in PSGs. The study will draw on qualitative research approaches, including programme observations, interviews with patients and facilitators as well as record analysis of programmes conducted by NGOs that have been using this method for years. Moreover, this study will also include a literature analysis on the history of drug usage in the Maldives and the implementation of drug legislation in Maldives. The study will provide insight into how the Maldives addresses an ongoing issue with an evidence-based approach that can compel stakeholders to prioritize peer support groups as a rehabilitation strategy in a resource-constrained country.

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