Helping Substance Misuse Workers 2004-6

Helping substance misuse workers to apply the evidence and knowledge base to their practice environments with reference to the DANOS (Drug and Alcohol National Occupational Standards)

Substance misuse is a growing problem throughout Sussex and professionals working in this multidisciplinary, multi-agency sector face complex challenges. At the time of this project’s conception, however, they had little opportunity either to reflect on how they work or to take on board the evidence- and knowledge-based practice approach accepted in other public sector areas.

This £15,000 BSCKE project, a partnership between the University of Brighton and the Drug and Alcohol teams of Brighton and Hove, East and West Sussex, aimed to identify the educational products this professional group needs. Building on the university’s experience in running the Diploma in Professional Studies in Substance Misuse Intervention Strategies (Dip SMIS), which incorporates the Drug and Alcohol National Occupational Standards (DANOS), it analysed student feedback, course work and web-based discussion to identify how workers develop evidence- and knowledge-based practice.

The project outcomes included a conference for Sussex-based professionals; improved Dip SMIS teaching/ learning materials; and a community-based best-practice website for local workers. The findings fed into Faculty of Health courses and guidance for undergraduates on careers in substance misuse work.