Maintaining Normative Functioning Alongside Drug Use: The Recognition of Harms and Adoption of Change Strategies

Moran Chassid-Segin, Keren Gueta, Natti Ronel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examined drug users’ perspectives on strategies that helped them to maintain normative functioning or resolve impaired functioning. We interviewed 29 drug users who described themselves as functioning normatively while using drugs on a regular basis until they experienced harms or raised concerns of future harms. The content analysis showed that the users maintain their normative functioning through diverse strategies that can be located on a continuum. This continuum was conceptualized as “normative functioning management” based on White et al.’s concept of “recovery management.” This study found an ongoing continuum through self-management and social interaction consisting of three regions: the management of normative functioning, the recognition of the harm of drug use to functioning, and the subsequent adoption of change strategies for maintaining normative functioning. This continuum may provide a more nuanced theoretical understanding of the phenomenon of drug users with normative functioning and is therefore relevant for counselors encountering such users in their practice. This study highlights inner resources such as self-awareness and social interaction that help functioning users to maintain their normative functioning and fulfill basic obligations in their normal routines, that is, preserving their professional status, family lives, and relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1879-1897
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research is partially supported by a grant from the Bar-Ilan University.

FundersFunder number
Bar-Ilan University


    • change strategies
    • discursive strategies
    • drug normalization
    • functioning users


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