Module 6: how drugs work: facilitator's guide

11.3 The four L's model

Page last updated: 2004

Another useful model for understanding the nature and extent of drug-related difficulties considers the actual nature of the difficulties experienced. Thorley's model looks at patterns of use and related problems whereas the Four L's model, (adapted by Roizen) considers the impact of drug use on four major spheres on a young person's life. These are:

  • Liver: Anything to do with a person's health – either physical, psychological or emotional health problems

  • Lover: Problems associated with a person's relationships, family, friends, children, lovers etc.

  • Lifestyle/Livelihood: Problems which relate accommodation, work, finances, education, recreation etc.

  • Legal: Any problems associated with the law – either criminal or civil proceedings.
Like Thorley's model, the Four L's model is extremely useful for frontline workers in that it assists you to work out the types of problems or difficulties being experienced by a young person. This model can be applied during an initial or more comprehensive assessment of a young person as it helps you to identify the most urgent areas for intervention. If a young person is experiencing difficulties in all four spheres of life it may indicate that they are dependent upon drugs. Once drug use affects every aspect of daily life it is a major issue of concern and will require further exploration with the young person.