A Mobile-based drugs and alcohol addiction self-assessment and management scheme
Mutua, Lewis Mwangi
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The number of people dying of drugs and alcohol induced causes is alarmingly high and is gradually rising. One reason for the high numbers is that most drugs and alcohol users are not aware when they transition into addicts. However, some users believe that they are in control of their drugs and alcohol usage. Other users might be aware of their addiction but may not get help due to: the high cost of getting help, the absence of help, or the fear of stigmatisation. Some of those aware might have accepted the addiction as part of their life, or might have other personal reasons for not seeking help. To reduce the deaths, drugs and alcohol users need to know if they are addicted, the severity of the addiction and how to manage the addiction. To identify and manage an addiction, a drugs and alcohol assessment is done by a trained clinician who then recommends ways to help manage the addiction. This could be costly to most drugs and alcohol users, and family or friends might get involved which can lead to stigmatisation. A review on drugs and alcohol assessment tools and existing applications was done to get an understanding of how the tools work and how they can be improved. Existing drugs and alcohol assessment and management mobile applications where analysed to identify their strengths and areas of improvements. The review of the tools and analysis of the assessment applications provided the requirements needed for the research. The identified requirements helped in designing a scheme that was implemented to help the users and addict. The solution was verified and validated to make sure that it meets the users’ requirements through accurate assessment results on drugs and alcohol use, and enabling addicts manage their addictions. The methodology used was applied research through prototyping. This was done by using a quantitative and qualitative research approach using: interviews, observation, questionnaires and documentary analysis. Interviews with drugs and alcohol users, addicts and clinicians was done to find out the need of the application and their expectations and suggestions. Observation was used to see how drugs and alcohol assessment is done, and questionnaires was given to addicts and users to identify their needs and the need of the application, existing gaps and their expectations. Documentary analysis was used to gather information on the assessment and diagnosis tools, and information on existing applications to identify their strengths and areas of improvement.