This paper offers readers a review of the literature on alcohol and illicit drug misuse in people with learning disabilities, focusing on six key areas. First, clarity is provided on the definition of ‘misuse’. Second, prevalence rates are examined along with the methodological difficulties involved in such studies, the authors arguing that prevalence rates are higher than current estimates. Third, the authors explore the relationship between the intra‐ and inter‐personal risk factors. Fourth, the nature of the substance misuse is explored, with a focus on offending behaviour. Fifth, a range of treatment modalities are described with a series of recommendations for more robust evidence‐based interventions. Last, the authors explore the gaps in policy that lead to a dearth in service provision as well the barriers which people with learning disabilities face on entering treatment services. The paper cites four innovative projects that address this population's needs in England, and illustrates how Northern Ireland has positioned the needs of this hidden population within the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (Northern Ireland).
Taggart, L., Huxley, A. and Baker, G. (2008), "Alcohol and illicit drug misuse in people with learning disabilities: implications for research and service development", Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 11-21. https://doi.org/10.1108/17530180200800003Download as .RIS
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