Getting problem drug users (back) into employment

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Transcript Getting problem drug users (back) into employment

Working Towards Recovery
Nicola Singleton
UK Drug Policy Commission
Pathways to Employment Workshop: Capital Concerns conference
9th March 2011
Relevant UKDPC research
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Working towards recovery
Study of service users, drug treatment &
employment service professionals, employers
http://www.ukdpc.org.uk/publications.shtml#Employment_report
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Stigma towards drug users & their families
Extent, nature & the impact on recovery
http://www.ukdpc.org.uk/publications.shtml#Stigma_reports
Crucial to recovery
I think that it's crucial for pathways to
employment to be established with drug
users otherwise it makes a detox and
rehab and treatment avenue almost a
farce really, unless you have something at
the end of it what is the point of going
through all of that?
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An integral part of the rehabilitation process, but
also an end goal.
 Concern on all sides if work introduced “too soon”.
Recognised by the public
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73% agreed “people recovering from drug
dependence should have the same rights
to a job as everyone else”
… and some employers
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A number of employers we interviewed
reported very positive experiences:
– Loyal
– Hard-working
– Enthusiastic
But not straightforward …
An array of hurdles
Becoming ‘Job Ready’ - user focus
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Primary needs
– Accommodation
– Health
– Personal support
– Gaining confidence and motivation.
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Detachment from ‘everyday’ living and the
labour market.
Qualifications and skills
The issue of stigma
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Recovering drug users experience:
– Job offers withdrawn following disclosure
– Sacked when drug use history revealed
– Being told to come off methadone/subutex even
though performance satisfactory
– Blamed unfairly for any thefts in workplace
– Self-employed people losing customers
– Exclude themselves from jobs requiring CRB checks
– Made fearful by colleagues attitudes to “junkie scum”
– Unsympathetic managers
The issue of stigma
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Public attitudes survey
– 41% would be willing to work with someone with a history
of drug dependence (10% do or have done).
– BUT People who have lived, worked or been close
friends with someone with drug dependence have more
positive attitudes.
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Employers attitudes:
– ~ 3/4 of employers in small survey would not employ a
former heroin or crack user even if fit for the job;
– < 1/5 had experience of employing someone with drug
problems.
– Several employers interviewed who had reported
positively
Issues for employers
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Risk of employing PDUs
– Reputation
– Managing drug use
– To other employees

Fit For The Job
– Reliability, honesty, capability
– Stereotypical views & lack of information
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Practical issues
– Criminal record, health problems, treatment regime
and medication
Implications
Long time frame – valuing interim outcomes
 Co-ordination & responsiveness
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– efficiencies
– collaboration around shared outcomes
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Addressing attitudes & concerns
– Positive examples – demonstrate benefits to employers
– Provide information guidance & support
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Address systemic barriers
What now? Co-ordination & responsiveness
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Focus on individuals - complex, varying needs
requiring
– realistic timescales
– personalised, flexible, often multi-agency response
– ongoing care and support
 a single Recovery/Rehabilitation Plan?
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Commissioning for recovery
– range of services/opportunities
– incentivising positive outcomes
– optimising use of funding streams

Engage employers
What now? Addressing attitudes & concerns
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Building motivation & aspirations – clients &
professionals
Focus on individuals – people not PDUs
Greater use of volunteering & work placements
Promote success stories – share good practice
Provide information and guidance
– Methadone and employment
– Handling disclosure
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In-work support – employer as well as employee
What now? Addressing systemic barriers
Incentives for employers? – risk mitigation
 Review of legislative / contractual barriers
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ISA / CRB checks
Benefit rules
Contractual clauses relating to criminal records
2-year drug-free rules
ROA & Equalities Act
Public sector leading by example?
Thank you
www.ukdpc.org.uk
020 7812 3794
[email protected]