Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

The Seeds of Exclusion

The Seeds of Exclusion

The Seeds of Exclusion

The Salvation Army have a new document out looking at the risk factors for social exclusion. Here’s some of what it says:

While drug choices are shaped by social and economic circumstances, biological endowment and psychological development are also important. Genetic factors do not ‘cause’ drug use or dependence, but they increase the risks for certain individuals, if drugs are available.

Other risks relate to family relationships. Abuse, neglect and homelessness all increase the chances that children will experience problems with drugs later on. The chances are also increased where parents and other family members use drugs. These and other risk factors for heavy drug use are far more significant when they cluster together in children’s and young people’s lives.

In their conclusion they ask:

When personal difficulties arise in children and young adults who have little or no immediate family support, they can become vulnerable to a range of problems. These may be exacerbated by high levels of exposure to alcohol and other drugs. Another predisposing factor to vulnerability is when close family members also have mental health problems.

This leads to critical questions relating to the family: How do you support vulnerable young people when they experience issues such as this within the family unit?

They conclude that supporting both parents is critical and make three recommendations:

  1. Support services need to be developed which facilitate the nurturing of good quality relationships between children and their parent or parents.
  2. We need to engage families who may be at risk of social exclusion with services that reach the wider community with the emphasis on building social networks and consequent social capital. Faith-based organisations are well placed to do this as they already have a function in creating networks within communities. Indeed the role of these organisations in community development generally should not be underestimated.
  3. In view of the problems of engaging vulnerable people with statutory services, there is a clear need to use Government funding to increase the capacity of the third sector to work in the community to connect with people at risk of social exclusion. The development of partnerships with other non-statutory and statutory agencies will help to fill in the gap in this support in a non-threatening way.

I doubt the Salvation Army see themselves as “morally neutral” but it seems to me that they take a rather different view of how the problems of social exclusion are created than the one we’re invited to buy into by Mr Cameron.

(via Alcohol Policy UK)

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Filed under: risk and protective factors

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