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Public Policy and Administration


Gloria Billingsley


AbstractThe objective of post-conflict countries after an extended period of war and trauma is to maintain peace and stability. However, the physical and psychological effects of substance use to cope with the devastation of war remains long after the crisis has ended. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to examine substance use among Liberian working-age adults, including their substance use habits, experiences with substance use, and access to mental health rehabilitative treatment. The access to medical care theoretical framework was used to guide the study. Data were collected from face-to-face semistructured interviews with 15 individuals regarding their experiences as substance users in Liberia. Data analysis included manual coding of interview transcripts to identify recurring themes. The findings revealed that although there is room for improvement with mental health services and treatment, the mental health services utilized by the substance users were instrumental to their rehabilitation and recovery. Suggestions for improvement of substance use treatment programs included establishing life skills and vocational training as part of rehabilitation to have former substance users reintegrate into society with meaningful occupational skills that will prevent relapse of substance use behavior. Findings may be used to improve clinical and patient education services and address mental health policies to manage patients effectively leading to positive social change.