Scotland has high levels of drug and alcohol misuse compared to
the rest of the UK. While substance misuse affects the whole of
Scotland, it particularly affects people living in deprived areas.
In 2010/11, there were 10,813 'new' individuals that received a
specialist assessment of their drug use and care needs, which
equates to a rate of 219 per 100,000 of the Scottish population. Of
- 67% were unemployed.
- 12% were in paid or unpaid employment (including full time
education and training).
In terms of alcohol misuse, it is estimated that in Scotland
1 in 8 men and 1 in 24 women have some degree of alcohol
Substance misusers are a marginalised group and often encounter
multiple barriers entering and sustaining employment. These
- No or low qualifications.
- Low self-confidence.
- Lack of work experience or incomplete work histories.
- Lack of recent references.
- Health and mental health problems.
- Homelessness (or risk of).
- Criminal background.
- Perceived or actual discrimination from employers and
- Isolation and lack of social networks.
Policies and Interventions
In April 2009 a joint Framework
for Alcohol and Drug Partnerships was launched, signed jointly
by Scottish Government, the NHS and COSLA, for delivering action on
alcohol and drugs at the local level. The document sets out a
framework for local partnerships on alcohol and drugs. It aims to
ensure that all bodies involved in tackling alcohol and problem
drug use are clear about their responsibilities and their
relationships with each other; and to focus activity on the
identification, pursuit and achievement of agreed, shared
for Growth also commits to ensuring that people with drug and
alcohol problems are able to access the right services at the right
time in order to facilitate their journey towards sustained
recovery, self sufficiency and employment. For this reason the
Scottish Government has been working, and will continue to work
with the DWP in Scotland and local Alcohol and Drug Partnerships to
ensure that people seeking help with drug or alcohol problems are
always able to receive swift referrals that are appropriate to
In addition to simplifying referral routes for these clients and
ensuring that staff are educated and confident in dealing with
issues of addiction and recovery strong relationships between the
relevant staff of the DWP and local addiction services are vital.
Crucially, in line with our commitment to person-centred care, the
clients should at all times play a central role in the planning of
their own treatment and support. At a local level, local
partnerships need to continue to give full consideration to the
varying needs of people with drug and alcohol problems within their
pipelines of support.
In supporting people with substance misuse problems, good practice
suggests the need to:
- Adopt a holistic approach where all agencies work in
partnership to support the individual. These include addictions,
health, social work, education and employability services.
- Embed an employability culture within addictions services.
Employment, education, access to training and voluntary work are no
longer viewed as end point goals for individuals, but as key
intermediate goals that will promote longer term stability and give
additional focus for interventions working towards recovery;
- Ensure that employability forms part of their core initial
assessment work with service users.
- Supported people to remain in employment and training by
forging stronger working relationships with training providers,
colleges and employers. This helps ensure that if people relapse or
struggle to comply with course or employment requirements, then
they can immediately be routed back for a review of care and