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Disclosure decisions within transition narratives: How ex-drug users decide what information to share when working toward employment in the substance misuse field

Wilson, S and King, M and Yeowell, G and Wibberley, C (2016) Disclosure decisions within transition narratives: How ex-drug users decide what information to share when working toward employment in the substance misuse field. Journal of Substance Use. ISSN 1465-9891

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Abstract

Ex-user narratives often “end” at the point where treatment ends, leaving much to discover regarding what happens next. Within this post-treatment experience, ex-users making the transition to work in the drugs field must decide whether or not to disclose their past substance use and, if they do disclose, further personal decision-making relates to how much to disclose, to whom, and in what context. This article explores ex-drug users’ decisions around disclose of their background to colleagues and service users. In-depth narrative interviews were undertaken with 11 ex-drug users to explore their journey to become substance misuse practitioners and their decisions around disclosure within this transition. Process mapping was used to enable participants to structure their story in their own way. Following thematic analysis, it became apparent that most participants received little or no guidance regarding disclosure. In the absence of clear guidelines regarding personal disclosures,reflective practice could be seen as a potential tool to enable participants to assess such risks and rewards. Alongside personal reflexivity, consideration should be given by service providers to disclosure policies, induction and ongoing training, and supervision in order to support ex-user drug workers’ disclosure decision-making.

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