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Survey of staff perceptions of illicit drug use among patients in a medium secure unit

  • Mairead Dolan and Helen Kirwan (a1)
Abstract
Aims and Method

A survey of staff perceptions of illicit drug use among in-patients in a medium secure unit.

Results

Sixty per cent of staff were aware of drug misuse on the unit. While 82% commented on the potential adverse effects of illicit substances on patient psychopathology, 45% were also concerned about the negative impact on the staff–patient relationships. Most (82%) staff cite personal enjoyment as the main reason for drug-taking behaviour and perceive drug use on the unit as a form of antisocial behaviour. Less than one-third of staff were clear about the unit's policy for dealing with in-patient drug use and few have had adequate training in the management of patients with dual diagnoses. Strategies for dealing with drug misuse appear to focus on security rather than therapeutic issues.

Clinical Implications

Services need to provide adequate training for staff on the management of patients with comorbid substance misuse, introduce patient education programmes and develop and disseminate clear policies that emphasise both therapy and security.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Survey of staff perceptions of illicit drug use among patients in a medium secure unit

  • Mairead Dolan and Helen Kirwan (a1)
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