Did life change after treatment? How did it change? Evaluations of in-treatment programs for drug abusers are usually designed to discover effects of treatment on the client´s drug use. This report presents a follow-up study with a broader perspective. Rehabilitation from drug abuse is seen as a radical or gradual change of life course and identity, interrelated to changes in social conditions. Many factors are important in this tansistion, apart from treatment.
A statistic part of the study shows that a majority (70 %) of the former clients have the same kind of social conditions five years after treatment as before. They still have criminal records and are dependant on social assistence for their living. Data indicates that only a few lead a normal social life outside the drug subculture. In a qualitative interview study, questions are raised about why and how same of the clients have succeeded in quitting drugs, while most have not succeeded, even if they have tried many times. The analysis demonstrates how successfull quitters have been able to establish an alternative life structure with values and relationships, that are not connected to drugs. Those who still have periods of drug abuse have not been able to establish an alternative life structure. The analysis also identifies different vocabularies and strategies used in the rehabilitation process.