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Challenges to providing culturally sensitive drug interventions for black and Asian minority ethnic (BAME) groups within UK youth justice systems

Helen Gleeson (Mental Health and Social Work, Middlesex University, London, UK)
Karen Duke (Middlesex University, London, UK)
Betsy Thom (Mental Health and Social Work, Middlesex University, London, UK)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 3 June 2019

Issue publication date: 8 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how substance use practitioners intervene with ethnically and culturally diverse groups of young people in contact with the youth justice system.

Design/methodology/approach

Telephone, face-to-face interviews and a focus group were conducted. Data were analysed thematically using a frame-reflective theoretical approach.

Findings

Practitioners tended to offer individualised interventions to young people in place of culturally specific approaches partly due to a lack of knowledge, training or understanding of diverse cultural needs, and for practical and resource reasons.

Research limitations/implications

Practitioners reject the official narrative of BAME youth in the justice system as dangerous and in need of control, viewing them instead as vulnerable and in need of support, but report they lack experience, and sufficient resources, in delivering interventions to diverse groups.

Originality/value

There is little information regarding how practitioners respond to diversity in their daily practice. This paper is an exploration of how diversity is framed and responded to in the context of youth substance use and criminal justice.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper is part of the project  768162/EPPIC which has received funding from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014–2020). The content of this paper represents the views of the authors only and is their sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Citation

Gleeson, H., Duke, K. and Thom, B. (2019), "Challenges to providing culturally sensitive drug interventions for black and Asian minority ethnic (BAME) groups within UK youth justice systems", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 172-181. https://doi.org/10.1108/DAT-11-2018-0068

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited