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Mental Health and Substance Misuse

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Mental health care is an area that has been neglected in the field of health. There exist more than 200,000 problems of drug substance users being in contact with treatment services in public health in England. Imperative that is behind the issue of drug treatment is immense. The problem of drug use has been extremely profound in most areas within England. The effect of drug misuse has been eminent, which results in critical conditions in the field of health. Health practitioners receive a lot of cases regarding mental health from those of drug abuse. The issue of drug misuse has become a chronic and even relapsing condition (Zweben, 2009). This has resulted in the categorization of drug misuse together with chronic conditions whose treatment requires a specific care from the health care system. The concept of drug misuse and the resultant effect of mental illness should be conceptualized as a condition that requires health attention. This paper seeks to analyze the concept of drug misuse in various perspectives within the United Kingdom society (Cohen, Schamorth, Nazareth, Johnson, Graham, & Thomson, 1992).

The concept of drug misuse does not occur in exception as other conditions also influence the occurrence of mental disorder. Individuals, who experience substance misuse that is concurring and conditions of mental health problems, at most times experience other social problems that are complex. These effects include unemployment, violence, homelessness and childhood trauma. These social problems may occur over a long period of time. Misuse of drugs has a list of sideline effects, along with the mental problems. There have been several policy developments in service provision in the mental health field (Zweben, 2009). However, these developments have not consistently improved the condition of the country in regard to the conditions of mental health. The existence of co-morbidity conditions ranges from moderate to mild mental ill health.

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A report referred to as the “Mind the gaps” regards people experiencing multiple problems that often result from multiple causes which are at times complex. These causes co-concurring substance misuse problems and mental health problems which often occupy margins in the society. Most of the individuals can benefit from the already established systems of health care. However, there exist gaps and shortcomings in the existing health care systems (Tantam, Donmall, Webster, & Strang, 2008). This has resulted in the development of policy programs that can help in establishing a system of care that is more effective and addresses the needs of the society. These policy procedures seek to narrow the gaps that exist in the service. There is a need for the improvement of economic, health and social policy in order to achieve an effective policy of service provision. The challenges that exist in ensuring the effective functioning of these systems regards the creation of climate of service and public attitude. The creation of a culture concerning good practice that promotes the well being of the individuals in this group is also a challenge in the implementation of an effective health care system. Many people in the having the co-morbidity condition have had poor experiences in their lives, which often result in poor adulthood lives (Cheng, Dewitt, Savageau, & O’Connor, 1999).

Public Perspective

The approach of public health to drug treatment lays emphasis on drug users in terms of their access to treatment. This can help in reducing the harmful effects of drug use, while reducing the side effects resulting from drug misuse. This includes the related risks like sepsis and hence live for longer. The public health perspective is yet to be conceptualized by all in regard to the situation of drug misuse and mental health. Public health approach towards solving this problem is necessary, and it requires a commitment to eliminating the vice of drug misuse (Williams, Chinnis, & Gutman, 2000).

The history regarding the treatment of substance misuse has gone through a range of varied ideological perspectives. These perspectives range from professional, legal to public ones. From the public perspective, the issue of drug misuse is seen as a situation that brings a lot of social problems. The social problems include loss of employment and family, along with other problems. The best approach towards curbing the problem of drug misuse lies within reducing the risk attached to the drug misuse. This involves reducing harm amongst the population that has been identified to be victims of drug misuse. The perspective of the public is that proper measures should be developed in order to ensure handling of economic, social and health harms. Harm reduction is, therefore, a great concern among the population as it serves to reduce the side effects attached to misuse of drugs (Waller & Casey, 1999).

Ways should be developed to deal with the issue of problematic drug use. The problematic drug user experiences a series of unwanted consequences that are exceedingly negative. Regular and excessive consumption results in psychological, social and physical problems. Problematic drug use is a relapsing and chronic condition. Misuse of drugs is an example of social deviance among the public. The public view drug users as those who defy the good morals of the society. The issue of drug misuse is subject to condemnation by the community, and especially those, who do not partake in the use of drugs. In this regard, those who participate in this vice of drug misuse are seen as negative light in the society at large (Waller & Casey, 1999).

There has been a lot of media campaigns against the misuse of drugs. These campaigns are seen to have contributed to the negative perception of drug users by the public. The media campaigns portray drug users as dysfunctional and helpless among the community. These addicts are seen to contribute to the immoral activities within the society. Connecting the immoral activities with the problematic drug users makes this highly unacceptable within the society (Tantam, Donmall, Webster, & Strang, 2008).
Drug users perceive most of the facilities put across, such as voluntary and statutory services, as having negative attitudes towards them. Drug users, thus, avoid seeking help from these facilities that perceive them as minors in the community. Effective rehabilitation of the drug users can only occur if the services handling this group encourages and appreciates them. The negative attitudes, in turn, may result in treatment that is not adequate as well as a patient discrimination (Waller & Casey, 1999). The perception of the society has been negative, and this seems to alienate members of the society who misuse drugs. The alienation of these individuals makes them tend to activities that are generally unaccepted in the society (Chung, Chan, Yeung, Wan, & Ho, 2003).

Several policies have been established to help the members of society who experience the problematic drug use. Some of these include education to sensitize drug addicts on the need to lead a drug free life. Members of the society are exceptionally supportive in terms of such a program. The support is influenced by the benefits accrued to a society that is drug free. These include the reduction in the immoral activities associated with drug addicts. According to the society, education should not only be offered to drug users, but also to non drug users. This will help in curbing the possible entrant of new individuals into drug misuse. The purpose of educating even those, who do not misuse drugs, is to create an awareness among the community on the need of having a drug free community. These individuals will also offer education and counseling to drug abusers (Cheung, Ch’ien, & Lee, 2000).
The public also feels that penalties given to drug dealers should be increased. The increasing trend of drug misuse and its adverse effects have caused the emergence of this public opinion. The public supports the enforcement of strict laws and prohibitionist policies that currently exist. However, part of the public does not support the issue of legalizing cannabis. Law enforcers need to ensure that the several laws that have been set to reduce the misuse of drugs are followed. This reduces the negative implications that drug use has on the society at large. The public is also of the opinion that the issue of drugs should be taught to children right from their tender age.

Professional Perspective

The problem of substance abuse is escalating among the young adults and the youths. An illness that is related to lifestyle accounts for a larger number of mortality within the society. Substance abusers and substance abuse stir up responses in the society that are complex. There are common issues like stigma, punitive responses and rejection within the society. Lack of awareness as well as understanding of drug abuse causes most of the substance abusers not to be detected, and hence they remain untreated (Chappel, 1993). Health professionals, therefore, perceive the problem of untreated cases as resulting from lack of awareness among the public on the issue of drugs. These responses causes drug abusers not to integrate well with the community and, hence, fail to recover. Service providers have the possibility of being exposed to biasness, as well as uninformed attitudes and beliefs regarding drug abuse. Clinical supervision and education are seen as proper measures that can effectively address these problems. Professionals may not be aware of the attitudes and the biases assimilated from the society (Waller & Casey, 1999).
Various studies that have been undertaken reveal that health professionals possess negative views regarding drug users. The negative perception induces professionals not to want work with abusers. Psychiatrists and practitioners have been identified to possess disapproving attitudes. Several factors have been cited to cause the unwillingness to associate with drug users among professionals. These include occupational constraints, attitudinal factors and lack of motivation among the professionals to study about issues related to drugs.

Due to the nature of their engagement, professionals are required to offer a solution to the community. This requires physicians and professionals in different fields to associate with the community at large, including drug users. Physicians have portrayed positive attitudes towards substance abusers, as they intervene to ensure drug addicts follow the physician recommendations. Professionals indicate a more positive attitude in the prevention of drug and substance abuse as opposed to the curing process. They possess more positive beliefs towards the prevention practice.
According to the department of health in the United Kingdom, doctors should undergo trainings regarding the issue of substance misuse. Few doctors get the chance of attending training courses aimed at providing knowledge of substance misuse. The idea of share care is also recommended where professionals interact with primary misusers found in the primary care. For instance, drug agency is supposed to provide training workshops and offer advice to the public on aspects relating to the complicated cases of drug misuse.

The initial step in enhancing skills encompasses the expansion of nursing and medical schools. This provides the necessary platform for impacting on the knowledge of the existing and new professionals on how to deal with drug abusers. The various health conditions suffered by drug abusers should be studied at an in-depth state. This will enable professionals to deal with the issue of drug misuse from a professional perspective. The existence of school-based programs has also served to equip learners with the relevant knowledge regarding the abuse of drugs (Tantam, Donmall, Webster, & Strang, 2008). This approach of the risk focused identification is effective in preventing drug misuse in the school setting.

Policy Measures and Legal Perspective

The program for improvement of mental health and well being endorsed aims that were designed to achieve and promote higher standards of mental well being. In addition, among the aims is preventing problems related to mental health, as well as identification and taking of action, when the problem arises. Such measures are essential in ensuring a nation free of the negative implications of drug abuse. Separation of the process in planning for services between individuals with mental health problems and those with co-occurring substance misuse may inhibit a service provision for this group. The various groups dealing with these individuals should undertake a joint responsibility rather than having a division of duties. Drug and Alcohol Action Team, as well as the Joint Health Commissioning Group should work closely to ensure that a proper attention is given to drug misusers (Tantam, Donmall, Webster, & Strang, 2008).

The existence of the Joint Future Agenda in regard to social and health care services offers hope for a better outcome. Effective results are achieved through the use of an integrated approach in financing, management and running of the daily services. The existence of the effective interventionist unit provides an avenue for the achievement of objectives of joint future. This provides hope for the community and other players in the society.

Professional consensus regarding the role played by the services offered by secondary mental health in personality disorder treatment is lacking in Scotland. Apart from the policies offered, there lacks Scottish guidance on the issue (Zweben, 2009). There is a rudimentary service provision with only a few exceptions. Such situation may induce the public to substance misuse, as there are no existing restrictions towards it. Individuals, in this case, have substantially high risk of being dependent on substances. There is an absence of systematic provision of services for individuals who have previously been on drug misuse. Individuals surviving earlier traumatic experiences lack a system that takes into consideration their plight. Most of the staff within Scotland dealing with these cases are uncomfortable with the level of skills that they possess in handling such cases of disclosure. The Executive Health Department in Scotland should provide the necessary services that are crucial in terms of handling the situation of drug misuse (Zweben, 2009).

There are several variations that exist in the provision of health and other services for individuals suffering from problems of substance misuse and mental health. Some of the mental health services work on narrow models of care and assessment. There is also an absence of communication in planning and operational level between mental health services as well as addiction. Other instances reflect the absence of clarity in identifying clients who suffer from substance misuse and co-occurring mental problems (Bry & Attaway, 2001). This may cause a poor assessment which may consider referral rather than identifying causation. All these variations reflect a gap in the provision of services to this group, thus, continued problem within the society.


The society perceives substance users within the community from a negative perspective. The perception is not different from other fields of operations. This group poses a threat to the community as they are associated with varied social and economic evils. Different players of the economy, including professionals and government, should develop concrete measures to curb this vice. Rehabilitation should be adopted in order to take care of the individuals who are already a part of the group. This will ensure a cohesive society that is living in harmony.

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