Staff perception of illicit drug use within a special hospital.

M. McKeown, H. Liebling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the results of a survey of staff perceptions of issues related to illicit drug use amongst patients within a UK Special (forensic) Hospital. The issues examined were: the nature and extent of drug-related problems; current management strategies and their perceived efficacy; suggestions for improved management strategy; and identification of staff training needs. Data were collected utilizing a questionnaire distributed all patient-care team members and representatives of disciplines working in off-ward areas (n = 311). The response rate was approximately 40%. Analysis of the returns suggests that staff concerns are largely focused on issues around the supply of drugs. A significant level of ignorance regarding illicit drugs and their usage was revealed, indicating a need for coordinated training. A review of literature suggests that future management strategies should not be solely directed towards supply restriction. A discussion of the results highlights parallels between Ashworth Hospital staff perceptions of illicit drug problems, media coverage of the same, and the findings of earlier sociological studies of deviance, subculture and moral panic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-350
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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