Drawing information from around the globe the report suggests a number of social welfare organizations and outreach programs in order to prevent younger children from beginning to abuse either drugs or alcohol and assisting those members of the population already addicted in their rehabilitation.
Pomerleau, J., McKee, M., Rose, R., Haerpfer, C., Rotman, D., Tumanov, S. (2008). Hazardous drinking in the former Soviet Union: A cross sectional study of eight countries. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 43, 351- 359.
This paper discusses the prevalence of alcoholism within the countries that once comprised the Soviet Union as a regional phenomenon. Observing the behavior trends within a group of people formerly linked ideologically provides a great deal of insight into the specific problems facing these eight countries as a unified population as opposed to eight distinct population samples. This approach may be crucial in understanding the social divergence of addiction facing Armenian women as it has been observed in women of other formerly Eastern block countries.
*Creswell, J.W. 2006. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage
Statement of Research Problem:
The rate of reported substance abuse and alcohol abuse in Armenian women has increased exponentially beginning in 1996 (Pomerleau et al., 2008). Though it is acknowledged that the actual reported incidence of addiction is inaccurately low the uptrend in rates of dependence constituting clinical impairment is apparent. Though there has been research regarding the general rate of substance dependence in that region, there has been no research specifically addressing women. The rate of liver toxicity in women though as a result of substance abuse indicates that this population within the Armenian demographic may be specifically at risk (Amnesty International, 2008). Their status as a potentially high risk demographic sector bears further research into social, cultural, and economic reasons that women specifically are presenting with such high rates of addiction.
What are the primary causes for the rapid increase in the number of Armenian women suffering from addiction to either prescription drugs or alcohol?
This paper will employ a narrative methodology of qualitative research as well as an extensive literature review. Rather than selecting a single method of addressing the void in existing research a combined methodology will prove most effective. This combination allows for the first hand narrative of individuals who are members of the target population as well as empirical evidential sources regarding the severity and possible larger social influences resulting in the problem. More significantly though, it may allow for a unique insight into the mindset of the individual members of the target population and their understanding not only of the state of their addiction but the social and potentially cultural influences behind their position.
As discussed earlier, it is extremely difficult for researchers such as those participating in this project to understand completely the context and circumstances of addiction in a culture which is reasonably isolated and not completely accessible culture. As outsiders the most effective and efficient manner of investigating the nuances of such a culture is through the collection of thorough narratives. These narratives are collected during an interview in which the researcher and the participant sit and discuss at length their experience in a given context (Creswell, 2006). In this instance the context is the participant's experience as an Armenian woman with an addiction to either prescription drugs or alcohol.
A narrative interview not only provides critical cultural context for the chronological progression of events which lead to the development of the dependency, it also frames them in the manner in which the participant experienced them (Creswell, 2006). The greatest value of such an interview is in the critical contextual information which would be excluded from articles such as those reviewed in the literature review.
The use of narrative though must be carefully applied in the instance of scholarly articles. A narrative while rich with information about a single person's personal experience is also colored by that individual's perception of their experiences (Creswell, 2006). In the instance of traumatic events, painful events, distant events, or events characterized by the long-term dependence on an illicit substance the memory of the event itself will likely be altered. It will be nearly impossible for the researchers to verify individual facts or events within the context of these narrative interviews. It is therefore necessary for the information acquired via interview not be treated as empirical evidence. Rather the evidence from the narratives in conjunction with verifiable fact as found in the literature review will serve to help identify specific stressors resulting in the addictions that are perhaps unique to Armenian women.
For the purposes of this research paper, three Armenian women will be interviewed. These women will all be over the age of 18 and will be informed of their role within the project. Participation will be voluntary and conditional upon the individual decision to continue moving forward with the project. Each participant will be made aware that they are able to withdraw from the experiment at any time without penalty. Further, that although many details of what they divulge during the course of their interview, specifically identifying details such as their name and the names of their family members can be with held upon request.
The status of these participants as individuals experiencing addiction poses the specific risk of a high mortality rate. This potential is not an inconsiderable risk given the small sample group indicated for this project. Though there is the risk that participants will not complete the project in its entirety, attempting to include more participants would potentially jeopardize the quality of the research collected by the researcher during the interviews. Collecting a narrative interview, in this case of an individuals entire life, is an extremely time consuming and labor intensive task. Not only must the researcher faithfully transcribe the recording of the interviews but then they must also discern from a collection of anecdotes specific information which can then be correlated effectively to data derived from empirical sources and methods. These narratives provide insight into which of a wide variety of potential influences is actually most likely responsible for the increase seen since 1996.
The data collection for this process is twofold. The literature for the literature review will be collected by accessing a number of academic databases which stock up-to-date issues of peer reviewed journals. These journals specialize in not only the physical and psychological effects of addiction but specifically the effects of addiction in women. There are also resources available discussing Armenian culture and history as well as the events currently shaping their socio-cultural landscape.
The interviews will be conducted in person one on one with the researcher and the participant. Each participant will be asked to complete three two hour long interviews during the course of the project. The date and time of the interviews will be subject to the convenience of both the researcher and the participant. The interviews themselves will be recorded using an audio recorder, they will then be transcribed for the convenience of the researcher. All materials will be kept in a secure location and shared only with authorized personnel whom the participants have been made aware of prior to the beginning of the project.
The data collected will be analyzed qualitatively. No quantitative data is being collected. The researcher will compare the anecdotal evidence collected during the interviews with the data collected via the literature review. Conclusions will be drawn based on evidence found in the narrative which can be supported with empirical evidence. Based on the information found the researcher will propose intervention programs to help lower the number of Armenian women suffering addiction.
1. Creswell, J.W. 2006. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage
2. Pomerleau, J., McKee, M., Rose, R., Haerpfer, C., Rotman, D., Tumanov, S. (2008). Hazardous drinking in the former Soviet Union: A cross sectional study of eight countries. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 43, 351- 359.
3. World Health Organization, The World Health Report .(2002). Reducing risks, promoting healthy life. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2002.
4. Rehm J, Monteiro M, Room R, Gmel G, Jernigan D, Frick U, Graham K. (2001). Steps towards constructing a global comparative risk analysis for alcohol consumption: determining indicators and empirical weights for patterns of drinking, deciding about theoretical minimum, and dealing with different consequences. Eur Addict Res, 7,138-147.
5. The Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe. (2007). Women Empowerment and Cooperation in Armenia with a focus in the Syunik Region. Yereven, Armenia.
6. Amnesty International. (2008). No Pride in Silence: Domestic and Sexual Violence Against Women in Armenia. London, U.K.
7. U.S. Department of State. (2006). Annual Narcotic Control Reports. Washington, D.C.