Tramadol abuse and value for life among young persons: moderating effects of moral identity
Burgeoning research has begun to question what the actual value for life is among drug using individuals. Why do they engage in acts they know undermine the quality and length of their lives? Can the use of drugs be directly linked to lack of value for their lives? Or does the repeated use of drugs make them value less their lives? What if, regardless of their drug abuse, they had high levels of moral self and integrity? Would the pattern of results still be the same? Interested in finding this out, we employed the snowball technique to recruit young persons (n= 158, 75.95% males, Mage= 23 years) with differing levels of tramadol abuse, and obtained data regarding their self-reported value for life and moral identity. Results revealed significant associations between tramadol use, dimensions of moral identity and value for life such that as the level of tramadol abuse increased, value for life decreased; while as moral integrity and moral self increased, value for life also increased. Moderation analysis further showed a buffering effect of moral self and integrity on the relationship of tramadol use and value for life. These findings question our already existing drug use policies, anti-drug use campaigns and intervention strategies. Will our efforts at combatting drug use become more effective if we dwell more on building moral identities in individuals rather than incarcerating them? We suggest in-depth investigation to further explore the roles of morality in the non-medical use of prescription drugs.
Keywords: Criminalization, Morality, Non-medical, Policy, Tramadol, Value for life