• addiction;
  • qualitative research;
  • young people;
  • parenting experience;
  • Iran


Introduction and Aims. Substance abuse has become a major public health problem in Iran. The process of developing an addiction is complex and multifaceted. Early childhood experiences are thought to be one of the important determinants of addictive behaviour. The aim of this qualitative study is to explore the early childhood experiences, especially the experiences within the immediate family, of current substance-using young adults in Iran.

Design and Methods. The study is qualitative in nature. In-depth interviews were conducted with 15 young men and women who were either in treatment for their addiction or were active drug users at the time of the interviews. Moreover, four interviews have been conducted with family members of participants.

Results. The majority of the participants experienced traumatic events during childhood and came from dysfunctional families. There appears to be a significant disconnect between these individuals and their families. An obedience-instilling parenting style and parents' knowledge and attitude toward drug using and prevention were also identified as important determinants of substance use.

Discussion and Conclusions. The results of this research point out the need for early interventions for at-risk families as well as at-risk individuals.[Mirlashari J, Demirkol A, Salsali M, Rafiey H, Jahanbani J. Early childhood experiences, parenting and the process of drug dependency among young people in Tehran, Iran. Drug Alcohol Rev 2012;31:461–468]