Uncovering the lived experiences of Filipino drug recoverees towards occupational participation and justice through an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Background: The drug using crisis entails participation and justice issues making it a pressing health and social concern in the Philippines today.

Aim: This study explored the lived experiences of Filipinos recovering from drug addiction and sought to understand the occupational justice determinants of drug addiction to better develop substance addiction rehabilitation programs in the Philippines.

Method: Using a qualitative approach, we conducted in-depth interviews guided by the Occupational Justice Health Questionnaire to 24 participants. Data were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results: We found four emerging themes: living with drugs, living around rules, living for the future, and living amidst the war on drugs. Each theme represented a “period of participation” exposing occupational injustices that activated the first enablement skill “raise consciousness of occupational injustice” from the Participatory Occupational Justice Framework.

Conclusion and Significance: Understanding the participants’ lived experiences raised consciousness of the injustices that exist before and during rehabilitation which uncovered pointers to improve local substance addiction rehabilitation programs: use of occupation-based social participation interventions, limitation of occupational therapy services due to lack of human resources reinforcing interprofessional collaboration, a participatory approach is essential in discussing and addressing injustices, and deliberate use of political activities of daily living.