Drug use is considered in many countries the plague of today's society. Researchers from medical, psychological and sociological fields, as well as lawmakers, are interested in finding more answers to this widespread phenomenon. All over the world there are known conflicts related to drug producing, transportation routes and distribution, that harm the economy and social standing of the involved communities or countries. Policies towards drug use vary from country to country, but this research focuses on how stigma affects the lives of individuals suffering from substance use disorder (SUD) in Albania. Substance use disorder is not often considered a disease, and more often individuals suffering from this disorder are stigmatized and not given the right care from their families, societies, or healthcare providers.

Drug usage in Albania is closely linked to the country's geopolitics and its communism and dictatorship past history. This phenomenon has influenced the Albanian societal perceptions. Even though Albania became a democratic country in the 1990s, there are still old mentalities to be changed, with social stigma towards drugs being one of them. The purpose of this pilot research is to understand the connection between social stigma and the treatment that individuals with substance use disorder receive from their families, society, and medical institutions. This pilot study was based on interviews conducted in a small sampling of 18 individuals. The qualitative information collected through interviews falls into four categories: Medical professionals and psychologists, family members or people who have loved ones with substance use disorder, current users of cocaine or synthetic drugs who are in denial regarding their addiction and everything it entails, and heroin users currently in treatment programs. There are also different types of stigma associated with different types of drugs. These types of stigma are herein categorized based on the collected information which supports the premise of how social stigma affects these individuals' lives. This study is the first known research for this subject matter in the country of Albania, therefore, it intends to open the path for further research that is inclusive of more groups/individuals.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Pineda, Yovanna


Bachelor of Integrative General Studies (B.G.S.)


College of Undergraduate Studies


Integrative General Studies/ Minor History

Degree Program

Integrative General Studies/ Minor History



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date