- Article: Riddell S (2012) Would decriminalising drugs improve care? Nursing Times; 108: 9, 16-18.
- Author: Stephen Riddell is a community staff nurse, Dumfries and Galloway Health Board.
THIS ARTICLE WILL TELL YOU ABOUT:
- The current debate on decriminalisation of illegal drugs
- The attitude of nurses in treating drug misuse and how that attitude affects care
- Complications in care and special care needs for drug users
- Opinions of experts, like the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the RCN
YOU WOULD BE LIKELY TO REFERENCE THIS ARTICLE IF YOU WERE RESEARCHING:
- Decriminalisation versus legalisation
- Patient care of drug users
- Stigma of drug misusers
- Illegal substance misuse
IN WHAT SITUATIONS WILL THIS ARTICLE BE USEFUL TO ME?
This article presents the current discussion on the decriminalisation of drugs with an emphasis on how health care professionals view drug misuse. It offers the opinions of experts so will be helpful to you in understanding the debate on decriminalisation. The article can also help shape the way you view and treat drug misuse, because it emphasises the consequences of nurses’ attitudes toward drug users. It also refers to some of the practical aspects of treatment of drug misuse.
QUESTIONS FOR YOUR MENTOR/TUTOR:
- How do you approach the treatment of drug users if your personal views on drug misuse conflicts with the attitude and actions required by the professional code of conduct?
- Do you think that decriminalisation will result in a decrease in drug misuse?
STUDENT NT DECODER:
- Decriminalisation: the process where drug misuse shifts from a criminal action to a social and health issue according to the law. Decriminalisation is not, and does not require, legalisation of drugs.
- Legalisation: the process whereby drug misuse is no longer punishable by the law. While legalisation will remove the association of criminality, it will not necessary address the social and health issues that come with drug misuse.