Beyond the East Side of Addiction: Addressing Issues of Substance Use and Addiction in Albania

  • James DiReda Anna Maria College
  • Jack Maroney
Keywords: substance use disorders, dependence, ethnographic research


This paper is an account of our recent trip to Albania, a small country in Southeastern Europe’s Balkan Peninsula, to study substance use in the country. The purpose of our exploratory research was to gain a deeper understanding of the prevalence of substance use in Albania, its impact, and Albania’s response to these issues. In contrast to interventional and associational styles of research, we decided to present our findings ethnographically, through immersion in the population. This paper is a narrative reflection of our trip, its qualitative method fortified by the incredible opportunity to learn up close and personal the challenges faced by the Albanian people and their culture regarding substance use and dependence. The valuable insight we gained regarding their history and traditions was made possible only by the openness and willingness of the Albanian people to share their most intimate reflections on their beloved country.

General Submissions