More people with intellectual disability are living independent lives. They can and do experiment with substances that the wider community try, such as alcohol and drugs (both legal and illicit).Unfortunately for some, they develop problems related to their use of these substances. Face-to-face,semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 professionals who work in Intellectual DisabilityServices and Alcohol & Drug Services to discover their experiences of caring for people withintellectual disabilities who hazardously use substances. Although small numbers of people presentedto these services, many more people with intellectual disabilities used Intellectual Disability Servicesfor support, rather than their local Alcohol & Drug Services. While the numbers may be relativelysmall, the challenges this client group pose are very perturbing in relation to their physical, emotionaland social health. The professionals reported a lack of education in working with this doublydisadvantaged population. Moreover, policies were absent to guide staff to work collaboratively withthis often-ignored population. These findings are discussed in light of the innovative practices that areoccurring in other parts of the UK regarding the recognition, assessment treatment and long-termmanagement of this population. Intellectual Disability Services and Alcohol & Drug Services need towork more closely together if the needs of this population are to be effectively met.
McLaughlin, D., Taggart, L., Quinn, B., & Milligan, V. (2007). The experiences of professionals who care for people with intellectual disability who have substance-related problems. Journal of Substance Use, 12(2), 133-143. https://doi.org/10.1080/14659890701237041