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Social work and substance use: Ecological perspectives on workforce development

Galvani, S (2017) Social work and substance use: Ecological perspectives on workforce development. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. ISSN 0968-7637

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Abstract

© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This paper offers a theoretical analysis of the place of substance use within social work education and workforce development in England. Using ecological systems theory as its theoretical framework, it explores the relationship between social work education and practice, and wider systemic and situational constraints which have helped or hindered social work’s engagement with substance use issues. Furthermore, it suggests that the current direct government intervention in social work education and practice, in addition to the cuts in budgets and its privatisation agenda, has been unhelpful in supporting change and professional development in relation to substance use. It will draw on the limited international data that show similar challenges for social work in relation to substance use beyond England and the UK. It will conclude with an argument for strengthening the social work voice in relation to substance use education and practice in spite of the systemic pressures.

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