Nature and extent of (il)legal substance use among members of the Flemish Deaf Community

01 January 2023 → 31 December 2025
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Sign language research
  • Social sciences
    • Causes and prevention of crime
    • Criminology not elsewhere classified
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Health and community services
Flemish Deaf Community Drug use patterns
Project description

The research will investigate the nature and extent of (il)legal substance use among members of the Flemish Deaf Community, i.e. a closed community marked by a cultural-linguistic unicity which represents around 6000 deaf signing people in Flanders (De Clerck, 2009). In doing so, I depart from a critical framework that hypothesizes that individuals with disabilities encounter several difficulties that create an increased risk of the prevalence of substance use disorder (Li and Moore, 2001; Moore and Li, 1998). Additionally, deaf individuals possess some more risk factors which are unique to the Deaf Community, e.g. related to culture, language and minority communities (Titus et al, 2008). A number of studies regarding substance use among deaf individuals have been carried out in the US. No research has been done elsewhere. In contrast to previous research, the strength and innovation of this project lays in the proposed qualitative research design, that is by conducting in-depth interviews provided in Flemish Sign Language with members of the Flemish Deaf Community. This research will add to theoretical insights into the personal and social context of substance use within the Flemish Deaf Community by giving a voice to Flemish Deaf individuals. It can finally also provide us with the needed foundation to write recommendations regarding the treatment of deaf individuals facing substance dependence or a substance use disorder.