The SIG’s focus is on social work and social care and substance use issues. While health discourse tends to dominate research around substance use, this special interest group recognises how substance use can often stem from, and lead to, social harms. Identifying and addressing these harms are part of the everyday practice of many social work and social care professionals. This group seeks to bring together like minded social work and social care professionals (academics and practitioners) who are interested, or experienced in, researching some aspect of substance use in relation to social care. This can be intervention focussed but may also be about identities, experiences, safeguarding concerns, mental health and co-existing substance use, or violence and abuse, for example. Members of the group may also be interested in the substance use of particular groups of people, for example, older people, marginalised communities, e.g. homeless people, or substance use by minority ethnic groups. Research in all aspects of social work and social care practice and education are included providing they have a component relating to substance use.

The aims of the group are simply to bring together like minded people from the European and International social work community to share ideas and develop links from which to further develop our research on this topic and its application to social work practice and education.

Note: Our use of the term ‘substance use’ includes alcohol, other drugs, and prescribed medication.

Activities to date:

  • Email list set up with members below
  • Register of research interests to be completed by members;
  • Began collaborative venture ‘an international conversation about substance use in social work education’;
  • Joint article between UK and Norway in pipeline
  • Joint research bidding
  • Members to work to get social work on agenda of substance use conferences and substance use on agenda of social work conferences.
  • Dissemination of SIG to attract colleagues to join the group.
  • Possible website in due course

SIG convenors:

Ines Arendt 

Sari Kaarina Lindeman