Staff drug knowledge and attitudes towards drug use among the mentally ill within a medium secure psychiatric hospital

Keith R. Barry, Jeremy A. Tudway, Jacqueline Blissett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


There is little research in the UK that focuses on medium secure psychiatric nursing staff attitudes, beliefs and knowledge about alcohol and illicit substances, substance use and mental illness. The current study presents data from 98 staff, working within a medium secure psychiatric hospital, and compares differences between staff groups in relation to general drug knowledge and attitudes towards both alcohol and illicit substances and the mentally ill patients who use them. Data suggest that, even for qualified staff, training in alcohol and illicit substances was inadequate in both length and depth. Qualified nursing staff had better knowledge of licit and illicit drug use than unqualified nursing staff and non-clinical staff, and also had different beliefs about why people with severe mental illnesses use licit and illicit drugs. However, no significant differences were found between groups for either level of punitive attitude towards people with severe mental illness who use drugs or the impact that certain factors have on severe mental health problems. These results identify the need for training in drug knowledge and drug use in mental illness, for those staff working in the field. The need for ongoing post-registration training in substance use and mental health is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Attitudes
  • Drugs
  • Mental illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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