Alcohol and illicit drug misuse in people with learning disabilities: Implications for research and service development

Laurence Taggart, Adam Huxley, Gill Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper offers readers a review of the literature on alcohol and illicit drug misuse in people with learning disabilities, focusing on six keyareas. First, clarity is provided on the definition of ‘misuse’. Second, prevalence rates are examined along with the methodological difficultiesinvolved in such studies, the authors arguing that prevalence rates are higher than current estimates. Third, the authors explore the relationshipbetween the intra- and inter-personal risk factors. Fourth, the nature of the substance misuse is explored, with a focus on offending behaviour.Fifth, a range of treatment modalities are described with a series of recommendations for more robust evidence-based interventions. Last, theauthors explore the gaps in policy that lead to a dearth in service provision as well the barriers which people with learning disabilities face onentering treatment services. The paper cites four innovative projects that address this population’s needs in England, and illustrates howNorthern Ireland has positioned the needs of this hidden population within the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety(Northern Ireland).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
JournalAdvances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities
Volume2
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

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