"Drug use often develops from being occasional to problematic: ties with close family members and non-using friends are gradually severed, while school and professional performance can be seriously affected and may come to a premature end. As a consequence, the normal process of socialisation, the integration of an individual from adolescence to adulthood as an independent, autonomous member of society, is jeopardised and this often leads to a gradual exclusion into the margins of society. However, this is a two-sided process. At the same time, society is marginalising problem drug users, making their access to education, employment and other social support even more difficult. Also, one should not forget that, in many cases, social exclusion already precedes drug use. Drug use often then exacerbates the already difficult life conditions of excluded individuals, making integration efforts a real challenge for the individual and for those providing support. This aspect is particularly relevant during the current period of economic difficulties in Europe, with high levels of unemployment among young European citizens and their gradual impoverishment.
"In order to protect problem drug users or recovering users from further social exclusion and to support them in their integration efforts, it is crucial that we provide individuals with opportunities and tools that are efficient, adequate and acceptable both for them and for their social environment."
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. EMCDDA Insights Series No 13: Social reintegration and employment: evidence and interventions for drug users in treatment. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2012.