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Dual diagnosis substance abuse in Vancouver mental health boarding homes : a need assessment survey Hayward, Timothy James


This study explores the dual diagnosis substance abuse phenomenon within the context of Vancouver area mental health boarding homes. The target population consisted of thirty-nine mental health boarding homes used by Greater Vancouver Mental Health Services, Mental Health Residental Services. An attempt was made to survey directors (n=37), staff (n=unknown), and residents (n = 422), to: estimate the prevalence of dual diagnosis substance abuse within these homes; look for associations between substance use/abuse and the demographic characteristics of staff, directors, and residents; examine boarding home policies; and to establish what, if any, services should be developed. Questionnaires were completed by twenty-nine directors (78%), twenty staff members (% unknown), and ten residents (3%), from twenty-nine boarding homes with a total resident population of 358. Results indicated that one hundred and fifteen residents (32%) consumed alcohol, and 57 residents (16%) had consumed alcohol during a specified two week period. Only eight residents (2%) out of a potential 358 (from four different facilities) reportedly had substance related problems during the specified two week period. However, substance abuse was identified in eleven facilities (38%), without referrence to the two week time limitation. Further, staff and directors from fifteen facilities (52%) had at some time tried to get help for a resident with a substance abuse problem. Thus, while very few residents reportedly had dual diagnosis substance abuse problems, a considerably greater number of boarding homes reportedly had problems related to dual diagnosis substance abuse. Twenty-four directors (86%) and thirteen staff (68%) were interested in receiving a workshop on dual diagnosis substance abuse. It is the recommendation of this author that a drug education program/workshop for boarding home directors and staff be developed through the Greater Vancouver Mental Health Services "dual diagnosis program."

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