Competence and professional development
There is an increasing acknowledgement that drug and alcohol misuse is a major public health problem and the previous chapters have reinforced this notion. The argument for raising the profile of alcohol and drug misuse problems is challenging in the light that substance misuse is more likely to be the norm than exception among the population. The recognition, screening and brief psychosocial interventions with alcohol and drug misusers are very much the ‘core business’ for primary and community health services, and social care services. There is a pressing need for health and social care professionals to develop their knowledge and clinical expertise in substance misuse in order to respond effectively to potential misusers and to those with severe substance misuse problems. However, education and training in alcohol and drug use and misuse have been largely patchy and limited and have lagged behind the growth in service provision. Many reports have recommended that professional bodies in health and social work continue to design training in the early identification of drug and alcohol misuse and appropriate referral skills for professionals working in health, social care and the criminal justice system.