Journal Article

Returning to Normality: Substance Users’ Work Histories and Perceptions of Work During and After Recovery

Andreas Cebulla, Noel Smith and Liz Sutton

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 34, issue 7, pages 1045-1054
Published in print October 2004 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2004 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Returning to Normality: Substance Users’ Work Histories and Perceptions of Work During and After Recovery

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New service provisions designed to improve the employment prospects of former substance users will enhance the roles and responsibilities of Drug Action Teams (DATs), Jobcentre Plus offices and other providers and co-ordinators of support services for substance users. This paper discusses the findings of a study of 30 current and former drug and alcohol users, exploring past substance use histories and current employment aspirations. The research informs new policy initiatives designed to assist substance users’ entry or return to work. Differences in present perceptions of work-readiness were observed, which reflected users’ perceptions of the nature of their addiction. The attribution of blame for the substance dependency to either ‘the drug’ or the individual’s psychology was a critical influence on users’ work-readiness assessments. Work was perceived to benefit recovery from substance dependency. The evidence suggests that substance users’ return to work might be helped by their staged (re-) introduction to the labour market as well as encouraging the primary labour market to employ (more) recovering substance users. The research highlighted the need for joint working between employment services and DATs to help substance users into work and to support their recovery. It also highlighted the need for mutual understanding and recognition of each collaborator’s expertise.

Keywords: Drugs; alcohol; addiction; employment

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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