Not your neurotypical client: Autism, alcohol, and other substances

London, United Kingdom,


About this event

Hosted by Alcohol Change UK, the Centre for Applied Autism Research at the University of Bath, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists

Autistic people are as likely to experience substance use issues as anyone else. But when they do, they find it much harder to get the support they need.

Research by the Centre for Applied Autism Research found that almost half of autistic drinkers would not seek support for an alcohol problem; and that alcohol support workers expected poorer treatment outcomes for autistic clients. There are indications of similar barriers to support for autistic people who use cannabis.

This half-day online event offers an opportunity to lift the lid on these overlooked and under-researched topics, and to make connections with others working to understand them. We are seeking to build a network to ensure that:

• Substance misuse services are better able to meet the needs of people with autism.

• Autism services are more aware of substance use issues.

• Both sets of services are working together better.


09:30 to 09:35 Andrew Misell, Director for Wales, Alcohol Change UK

Welcome and introductions

09:35 to 10:05 Dr Julia Lewis, Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist, Gwent Specialist Substance Misuse Service

Yes, autistic people drink!

10:05 to 10:35 Cathie Long, Independent Social Worker

In the thick of it: perspectives from the frontline of autism social work

10:35 to 10:45 Ten-minute tea break

10:45 to 11:15 Daniel Hua, University of Bath

It’s not just about alcohol: autistic people’s use of cannabis and cannabidiol

11:15 to 11:45 Prof Mark Brosnan and Dr Sally Adams, University of Bath

Working with neuro-diverse drinkers

11:45 to 11:55 Ten-minute tea break

11:55 to 12:35

Smaller group discussions

12:35 to 12:45 Andrew Misell

Conclusions and close .

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