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Social Work with Substance Users

Social Work with Substance Users

  • Anna Nelson - National Addiction Workforce Development Centre, New Zealand

216 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This engaging and comprehensive book explores social work with problematic substance use. Anna Nelson offers social workers new insight on the subject, helping students to understand the issue as it affects service users across a range of social work practice settings. Written from both an anti-discriminatory and evidence-based perspective the text highlights successful responses to the issues surrounding problematic substance use, so that students and social workers can achieve best practice.

The book provides a detailed understanding of:

  • Historical and current policy relating to prohibition, drug use and problematic substance use
  • A range of substances and their potential effects on service users
  • Key models of practice including screening and assessment, brief intervention, motivation approaches and relapse prevention
  • The particular issues and special needs of specific service user groups who may be experiencing problematic substance use

Considering the effects of problematic substance use across a wide range of service-user groups, the book takes a reflective approach to this widely misunderstood area. Each chapter includes reflective exercises and examples of further reading challenging students to critically reflect on their practice, and increase their awareness in the area.

Social Work Practice with Substance Users will be essential reading for all social work students, particularly those taking courses in problematic substance use and addiction. It will also be useful for qualified social workers and for students taking related courses across the health and social care field.

A Social History of Problematic Substance Use
Anti-Discriminatory/Anti-Oppressive Practice and Partnership Working
Substances and Their Effects
Problematic Substance Use Across the Lifespan
Gender and Problematic Substance Use
Working with Criminal Justice Service Users Who Have Problematic Substance Use
Problematic Substance Use in Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Communities
Problematic Substance Use in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Communities
Screening Assessments
Harm Reduction, Abstinence and 'Recovery'
Motivational Approaches
Relapse Prevention
Brief Interventions
Working with Problematic Substance Use in Disability Practice Settings
Dual Diagnosis: Working with Co-Existing Problems in Mental-Health Practice Settings
Parental Problematic Substance Use and Working with Families
Problematic Substance Use in HealthCare Settings Pain, HIV and HCV

Practical and relevant

Ms Barbara A Kirkpatrick
Department of Humanities, Institute of Technology Carlow
October 7, 2016

This is a very clear and thoroughly accessible text that is invaluable for students' understanding of this topic. I have recommended this book to students at all levels of the programme and included it on reading lists for modules I teach.

Allan Rose
School of Health Science & Social Care, Brunel Univ.
June 16, 2014

An easy to comprehend writing style that will appeal to students. Particularly useful section on 'Concepts and models'.

Dr Selwyn Stanley
Social Work, University of Plymouth
December 14, 2012

Excels in its wide-ranging coverage on the history, causes, effects of drugs and how we can deal with the problem.

Dr Chiu-wan Lam
Applied Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
October 31, 2012

A detailed, well written book that focuses on the theory and practice link

Ms Sarah Riding
School of Health Care & Early Years, Blackpool and the Fylde College
October 5, 2012

Text is accessible and informative and provides a clear picture of the issues faced for substance users. It provides a basic level of information and guidance for our students about what is involved when working in the field of substance use, and has been a helpful source for this course.

Miss Abigail Ingram
School of Social Work, Birmingham City University
September 3, 2012

This text is a greatly needed resource in social work practice and education. It provides both general and population-specific analysis of substance use in an open, easy-to-read and engaging format. Importantly, it provides information about techniques and theoretical approaches which help equip the student or graduate social worker to work in an informed manner in this area.

Dr Priscilla Dunk-West
Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Coventry University
April 30, 2012

Good and clear read

Miss Desiree Jansen
HE and Skills, Accrington and Rossendale College
January 17, 2012

Teaching on substance problems on social work courses has been patchy, to say the least, and it is heartening to see that a number of texts are coming on the market to support improvements with regard to this. 'Social Work with Substance Users' is a sound, basic introduction for undergraduates and social workers with no previous experience in this field.

Its strengths are:
- its accessible, easy to read style.
- factual accuracy.
- anti-oppressive practice as a theme throughout.
- strong practice chapters [e.g. motivational interviewing and relapse prevention].
- Consideration of various service user groups and social worker settings.

- Whilst theories as to why people develop problems are introduced at various points, a brief early chapter contrasting these would have been helpful.
- Smoking cessation might have been given greater prominence.
- More on the various uses of pharmacotherapy and on working with stimulant uses would have strengthened the book.
- The chapter on children affected by parental problems addresses the issues primarily from the perspective of child care workers. There are different but equally complex challenges for practitioners dealing with adults with problems who have children.

Tighter editing would have tidied up a few problems of sentence structure and repetition.

Despite some omissions, this is a sound and easy to read introductory text.

Mr George Allan
School of Applied Social Studies, Robert Gordon University
December 5, 2011

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Anna Nelson

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