SOWK350: Social Welfare Policy
30th June 2019
Instructor: Dr. Princess Clarke
The University of the Southern Caribbean
Understanding of Substance Abuse
Based on my understanding, substance abuse can be defined as the misuse of illicit, legal and harmful drugs which is used for mind-set adjusting purposes. It also threatens to harm the physical, social and/or emotional wellbeing of the user or different people or society by extension.
Difference between Substance Use, Abuse and Dependency
Though the terms substance use, abuse and dependency are sometimes used interchangeably, they all have differences.
The differences are substance use has to do with the consumption of drugs and alcohol a person take. Some people may not be affected by substance use which may not lead to abuse and/or dependency. Substance abuse is the continuation of drug use or alcohol even if it affects the persons health, family or job. Substance abuse interferes with the individuals duties and the amount it disturbs their life.
Dependency is where a person gets addicted to drugs and alcohol and unable to quit which lead to physical withdrawal side effects when they attempt to stop.
The class had impacted me in many ways but the main two are being aware of the health risk of substance abuse and abstinence. This class has exposed me o major effects of substance use on the body and mind. What I have learnt inspired me to limit my alcohol consumption. I have gathered that there are several diseases a substance abuser can contract which can affect their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. On the other hand, abstaining from drug use and alcohol will be beneficial to me since they are very dangerous to our health and can be life-threatening. These impacts allow me to have a different mindset towards substance use because in my opinion life is so precious to me and I need to protect myself and family.
Effects of Lifestyle on Families
In most households where there is a drug abuser, the lifestyle of those users would affect their families financially, emotionally and physically. Drugs cost money so a drug user will always need money to buy their drugs which may persuade them to steal money from their family members. This can lead to mistrust within the home and family members will have to start hiding their money. In the event that utilizing drugs starts to expend your life, your relationship become significant and you lose interest in your love life, bonding with your kids and you may pull back from your family time and activities. This can cause family members especially their wife and children to feel left out, less important and a sense of unloved. In homes where substance abuse is prevalent, family members can encounter abuse such as verbal, physical abuse and even domestic violence. This is due to the frustration and the mental effects the drug abuser is facing which triggers forces to lash out. Abuse at most time can lead to wounds and eventually can lead to death.
Model of Intervention
As a social worker, if I am to work with a client, the main model of intervention I will use is the social learning model. This model states that when we watch the conduct and responses of other individuals utilizing addictive substances we may wish to repeat what we saw. According to Fisher and Roget (2009), the social learning model posits that behavior is learned and can be clarified by the complementary interactions among ecological, intellectual, situational or behavioral determinants. An individual will abuse substances based on what he sees around him. If someone grew up seeing a person such as a family member using substances, they might think it is cool to do so as well. This is they learned what they see and through curiosity they are anxious to use such drugs.
Usefulness of Model
The social learning model plays an integral part in the assessment process of a substance abuser. As humans, we most times learn based on what we see or observe. This model is useful because it can help explain and treat recognizable causes of certain behaviors and to identify patterns of dysfunctional thoughts that are influencing the individuals emotions and behavior towards substance abuse. Tropeano (2015) purported that the social learning theory can leverage social learning theory in pretty much every difficult situation to figure out the best solution for their clients. The model places emphasis on how the individuals environment influence him/her and directs learning but not the individuals accountability of his/her own action. Putting the attention on how setting impacts behavior puts more weight on the people and community that the individual is a part of, and insufficient weight on how the individual handles and process what they learned (Loop, 2018).
Roles of a Social Worker
The roles that I would play in the lives of the clients are an educator which is being able to provide information to clients and families on the various types of drugs, how they affect them and the treatment options available for them. According to Miller (2017), social workers may act as drug abuse educators in community outreach centers, schools and shelters and also may give presentations at schools and outreach programmes. Another role is facilitator where I will help the client get access to treatment services and assist them with obtaining their basic needs if needed in order to create a change in their life. Lastly, I would act as a broker, in this venture I must be able to link the clients to resources through referrals where the social worker will also be familiar with the resources, requirements, location of services and the costs.
Principles of Social Work Practice
Principles are basically guiding beliefs and statements of dos and donts. As a social worker, the principles that I will use at a supposed organization in the lives of clients are acceptance and confidentiality. I must accept the client for who they are with all their limitations. I should not condemn a client because of their differences in behavior and thoughts which may differ from the approved one.1 Every client information must be kept confidential where disclosure of information should not be revealed unless the client request to and must be in written form.
Being concern and afraid are my feelings that I experienced completing this assignment. Awareness of substances, its impact and causes have contributed to these feelings. I am concerned especially on persons I am surrounded by who uses marijuana and other cannabis drugs as these drugs can affect second hand smokers. My consumption in alcohol is occasional but I am still worried about the effects of the alcohol on my body since I am still at risk because I am consuming it. Spiritually, help with this feeling can be given by seeking confessions at my church with my priest and prayers for a better and healthier lifestyle. I will also seek assistance from a counsellor where I can be guided through in order to ease my thought and control my behavior.
Finally, substance abuse is involuntary which may not be reasonable for a persons addictive behavior with his/her ethical standards or character. The brain reaction to someone who is an addict, changes so that he/she keeps on living with the unfortunate habits despite of understanding its threatening implications. Aside from treatment and medications, the individual requires a strong support system, a great deal of affection and inspiration to get over their addiction. On the other hand, this class is very important to me because as a social worker I am fully informed about substance use, abuse and dependency which will help me in my venture in assisting substance use clients. I have gained knowledgeable information on drugs and alcohol and in fact my duty is to share this knowledge to others to better their life and by extension their families. I enjoyed this class and I look forward to pursuing other classes with my lecturer in the future.
Loop, E. (2018, June 25). Social Learning Theory Strengths & Weaknesses. Retrieved from
Miller, A. (2017, November 21). The Role of Social Workers in the Fight Against Drug Abuse.
Retrieved from 11513.html
Roger, N.A., & Fisher, G.L. (2009). Encyclopedia of Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment,
and Recovery. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Tropeano, M. (2015, October 23). Social learning theory and Its Importance to social work.