Alcohol and drug misuse in culturally and linguistically diverse communities
Globally, many countries in Northern Europe, America and Australasia are considered to be multi-cultural societies with heterogeneity of culturally and linguistically different communities. The socio-political, economic and health perspectives of nations are intrinsically linked to the issues of race, culture, ethnicity and substance misuse. Most culturally and linguistically diverse communities have used and misused alcohol, tobacco and psychoactive substances throughout the ages. Cultural and social factors have a significant influence role in the initiation, maintenance and therapeutic intervention of substance misuse. Culturally and linguistically different communities are a heterogeneous group with varying values, attitudes, religious beliefs and customs that affect the patterns of substance misuse. This cultural diversity with a wide variation in lifestyle, health behaviours, religion and language has profound effects on their perception and recognition of health problems. Some of the service provisions for those who are culturally and linguistically different are sometimes patchy and uncoordinated, and not ready to provide culturally appropriate care and interventions. Potential barriers occur at three different levels: patient level, provider level and system level. There needs to be more explicit and overt organisational commitment to diversity and more resources dedicated to meeting the needs of people from ethnic and culturally diverse communities.