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Social Work with Substance Users

Social Work with Substance Users

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

October 2011 | 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

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

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781848602229
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