Generic role in response to alcohol and drug misuse
Health and social care professionals in both primary and community health care and residential settings are usually the first point of contact for clients who have potential or early alcohol and drug problems. Given this increasing prevalence of alcohol and drug misuse and the normalisation of psychoactive substances in society, only a minority of drug and alcohol misusers is likely to come into contact with specialist drug and alcohol agencies. Most of them will invariably have first contact with primary care services, medical and psychiatric services, social services and voluntary agencies and the criminal justice system. The need for a multi-disciplinary response to alcohol and drug problems from generic, specialist and non-specialist agencies cannot be overlooked. From a public health perspective, in the context of substance misuse, some of the particular areas identified as threats to the nation’s health are smoking, alcohol-related diseases, blood-borne infections and disease and drug-related death due to overdose and blood borne viruses. A wide variety of roles exist in the drug and alcohol field and include not only specialist workers, but also professionals whose work brings them into contact with drug and alcohol misuse.