Alcohol treatment workers' use of public health policy
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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the views of drug and alcohol workers on existing alcohol-related public health policies in the UK. Alcohol consumption is closely linked to negative health outcomes, social problems and increasing cost burdens for the UK public, yet alcohol consumption is legal and drinking alcohol is a normalised feature of society. Design/methodology/approach: Nine drug and alcohol workers completed semi-structured interviews, exploring awareness of alcohol-related public health strategies, views on how both their clients and the public orient towards drinking behaviour, and perceptions of links between alcohol treatment and public health services. Findings: Ambivalence towards alcohol-related public health strategies, and a lack of mutual awareness and coordination between public health and treatment services were expressed by participants. Participants felt that public health strategies around alcohol were out of reach to their client group, and failing to have a behavioural change effect on the wider public. Participants proposed several ways of improving public health strategies. Research limitations/implications: Drug and alcohol workers are potentially valuable contributors in developing public health policy. Their views, based both on interactions with service users and on occupationally influenced observations of society, could be utilised more effectively than is currently the case. Originality/value: This study uniquely ties together public health and treatment aspects of alcohol services and employs a methodology that opens the way for further research and clinical development. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.