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ByHilda Loughran & Wulf Livingston

The place afforded substance use in social work education has been a concern for many in the field for over 30 years. It’s difficult to believe that despite efforts of such distinguished academics as Collins (1990) and Harrison (1992) social work education continues to struggle with providing an appropriate and coherent framework for providing knowledge and skills for working with alcohol and other drugs (AOD). The need for such input is supported by ample evidence that social workers in the field are encountering increasing numbers of service users and their families who are experiencing difficulties with AOD problems, if not as the primary reason for referral then often as a related difficulty. This special edition is particularly welcomed because it brings these issues from the peripheral of social work education to centre stage. It seems that despite the obvious need for this shift social work education has been at best inconsistent about adopting this ‘new’dimension in substantive curricula developments.