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Pathways to addiction

Researchers: Fatima Husain
Published: November 2014


We were commissioned by Motiv8 Addiction Services to carry out research into experiences of alcohol and drug addiction among adults living in the Isle of Man.

The research explored pathways to addiction and recovery on the island. Its ultimate purpose was to help Motiv8 and other agencies improve the support they provide to their clients, and to identify broader changes which could help people who are trying to recover. 

You can read the full report here.

The research was funded by the Manx Lottery Trust, a delegated partner of the Big Lottery Fund.


  • Public awareness and understanding of addiction should be improved through school programmes and public education campaigns.
  • Efforts should be made to reduce demand for alcohol and drugs, for instance by providing more sports and arts activities for young people.
  • Initiatives which bring together people in recovery – such as the recently established SMART Recovery group – should be supported and expanded.  
  • There was no single approach to recovery which helped all participants, so it is important to maintain a range of addiction support services on the island.
  • Healthcare and criminal justice professionals should be encouraged to identify people at risk and direct them to addiction services at an early stage.
  • Public attitudes to addiction need to change. Recent calls for a fresh debate on the island about how to deal with drugs – including alcohol – are to be welcomed. The local media can help by showing sensitivity when reporting alcohol- and drug-related incidents. 


This was a qualitative study based on biographical interviews with 51 adults who had experienced addiction to alcohol or other drugs and who lived in the Isle of Man.

Throughout the project, great attention was paid to research ethics, focusing on informed consent, minimising the risk of harm to participants, and ensuring confidentiality and anonymity.

Read the report