Engagement with Peer-Supported Vocational Networks: Recovered Iranian Substance Users’ Perspectives and Practices

  • Masoomeh Maarefvand
  • Naghmeh Babaeian
  • Sahar Rezazadeh
  • Jagdish KhubchandaniEmail author
Brief report


Employment is essential for reintegration of recovered substance users in the society after treatment, rehabilitation, and discharge. However, strong triggers in workplaces could be a potential threat to recovery and may lead to relapse. A comprehensive model for relapse prevention should include several strategies for interventions at individual, family, community, and workplace levels. Since the twentieth century, drug use remains a major problem in Iran with ongoing research on many facets of substance use problems. This study was conducted to describe the experiences of recovered substance users in peer-supported vocational networks (PVNs) in an Iranian context. Using grounded theory and saturation principles, twenty-three PVN’s members were recruited and interviewed. Data was analyzed using constant comparison in open, axial, and selective coding stages. “Recovery as the first priority” and “peer support in both employment and recovery” were the two main themes identified in data analysis. Peer-supported vocational rehabilitation process included case identification, registration, part-time occupation, full-time employment, and developing the network or discharge. Financial management by peers reduced risk of relapse during the 12 months of recovery. Membership in a PVN reduces the risk of strong external triggers in workplaces that cause craving and relapse. Peers have a major role in both employment and recovery in a PVN. Further research is needed on development, implementation, and efficacy evaluation of PVNs in the Middle East to assist with recovery of substance users.


Vocational network Peer influence Substance use Rehabilitation Addiction 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer India Pvt. Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WorkUniversity of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition and Health Science, Cooper Life Science Building-Room 325Ball State UniversityMuncieUSA

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