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Mainstream Generic Workers

An increasingly important role is played by mainstream generic workers in dealing with alcohol and other drug issues (AOD). Mainstream generic workers include those who are not employed in AOD specialist agencies nor within AOD programs embedded in non-AOD specialist agencies, but who are often faced with AOD issues as part of their main work role. Such workers generally have extensive contact with the wider community and are thereby well placed to implement AOD prevention and intervention strategies. These workers may be employed in sectors such as health, welfare and community services, law enforcement, education and a wide range of other organisations and industries.

Due to the breadth and diversity of the occupations and work roles that comprise AOD work, data on mainstream generic workers are more difficult to collect and collate. However, examples of mainstream workers who may have an AOD workforce role include:

  • Police
  • Ambulance officers
  • Community health workers
  • Occupational health & safety professionals
  • Teachers
  • Correctional service workers
  • Welfare workers
  • Social workers

WFD needs of mainstream generic workers

The workforce development (WFD) needs of mainstream generic workers are likely to differ from those of specialist AOD workers. The role of mainstream generic workers in responding to AOD issues differs from that of AOD specialists, requiring different training and education curricula. In addition, the structural and organisational barriers that prevent mainstream workers from engaging in AOD work are likely to differ from those experienced by AOD specialists.

As responding to AOD issues is not the main work role of mainstream workers, two important WFD issues for mainstream workers who respond to AOD issues are 'role adequacy' and 'role legitimacy'.

  • Individual role adequacy concerns a worker's perceptions of their ability to respond to AOD issues, while organisational role legitimacy concerns the percieved ability of a worker's work organisation to respond to AOD issues.
  • Individual role legitimacy refers to the degree to which a worker perceives responding to AOD issues is an appropriate work role, while organisational role legitimacy refers to the degree to which it is percieved that responding to AOD issues is an appropriate role for the worker's work organisation.

Attitudes & Stigma

Some mainstream workers hold negative attitudes towards AOD users and there is often a high degree of stigma associated with AOD use and problems. Click here for more information.

More Information

For further information on AOD work and mainstream workers see:

Relevant NCETA reports and articles:

Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce Development Issues and Imperatives: Setting the Scene [pdf, 4.3MB]

Health professionals’ attitudes towards licit and illicit drug users [pdf, 1.52MB]

Outcomes of training general practitioners to prescribe methadone. In A.M. Roche & J. McDonald (Eds.), Catching Clouds: Exploring Diversity in Workforce Development for the Alcohol and Other Drug Field (pp. p93-98) [pdf, 58KB]

Training general practitioners to prescribe methadone (and other pharmacotherapies): Outcomes and uptake in four jurisdictions [pdf,195KB]

Relevant NCETA peer reviewed publications

Edwards, D., Freeman, T., et al. (2006). "Dentists’ and dental hygienists’ role in smoking cessation: An examination and comparison of current practice and barriers to service provision." Health Promotion Journal of Australia 17(2): 145-151.

Edwards, D., Freeman, T., et al. (2006). "General practitioners’ confidence in and barriers to implementing smoking cessation services: Compared to dentists, dental hygienists and pharmacists." Australian Journal of Primary Health Interchange 12(3): 117-125.

Edwards, D., T. Freeman, et al. (2006). "Pharmacists’ role in smoking cessation: An examination of current practice and barriers to service provision." International Journal of Pharmacy Practice 14(4): 315-317.

Roche, A., Skinner, N., et al. (2005). "The general practitioner pharmacotherapy prescribing workforce: Examining sustainability from a systems perspective." Drug and Alcohol Review 24: 393–400.

Roche, A.M., Guray, C., et al. (1991). "General Practitioners experiences of patients with drug and alcohol-problems." British Journal of Addiction 86(3): 263-275.

Roche, A.M., Hotham, E.D., et al. (2002). "The general practitioner's role in AOD issues: Overcoming individual, professional and systemic barriers." Drug and Alcohol Review 21(3): 223-230.

Roche, A.M., Watt, K., et al. (2001). "General practitioners' views of home detoxification." Drug and Alcohol Review 20: 395-406.

Skinner, N., Feather, N.T., et al. (2007). "Stigma and discrimination in health-care provision to drug users: The role of values, affect and deservingness judgments." Journal of Applied Social Psychology 37(1): 163-186.

Skinner, N., Roche, A.M., et al. (2009). "Health professionals’ attitudes towards AOD-related work: Moving the traditional focus from education and training to organizational culture." Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy 16(3): 232-249.