There can be strong links between prostitution and problematic substance (drug and alcohol) use, on a number of levels. For example, such usage can be a coping mechanism for people involved in prostitution. For others, it can be an addiction funded by the prostitution itself. On the other side of the spectrum, it can be a method to embroil and coerce another into prostitution.
(See ‘Out-of-Court Disposals’ for further information on response to drug abuse.)
Other vulnerabilities of those who sell sex may include mental illness and depression, homelessness or vulnerable housing status, domestic abuse and previous experience of the criminal justice system. Suitable cases should be dealt with by means of diversion from the criminal justice system, with referral to special exiting and outreach support. This would include mental health support, benefits advice, education, training and employment support, drug and alcohol services, health services and domestic abuse services.