Substance Abuse and how Social Workers Make Positive Impacts

1.) 9% of the population of the US has a substance abuse disorder. That’s about 22.5 million people just in the United States! (Straussner 127)


2.) There is a stigma that surrounds substance abuse (Straussner 128). It prevents us from thinking it could be our Mom, Dad, or even Grandparent. The traditional “junkie” looks something like this:


3.) Despite the large number of people with substance abuse problems, social workers tend to receive little training in substance use and abuse (Class Lecture). Social workers have many skills that can help facilitate a clean recovery for addicts, it is amazing that they don’t have more skills in that particular area.


4.) FUN FACT Social workers play an important role in the treatment of alcoholics and their families after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 (Straussner 128)


5.) Social workers don’t just help in the treatment of alcohol and other drugs (AOD). Social workers also help “process” addictions such as eating disorders, sexual addictions, and gambling (Straussner 128).

6.) Certain medications can help diminish the craving for drugs and assist clients in re-establishing normal brain functioning. Some commonly used medications are methadone, buprenorphine, disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprasate (Straussner 128).


7.) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is very effective with treating AOD disorders. It reduces self-defeating behavior by modifying cognitive distortions and maladaptive beliefs (Straussner 129).


8.) What many people do not know is that people in the LGBTQ community have a higher risk of suffering from substance abuse (Silvestre 369)



In Class Lecture

Silvestre, A., Beatty, R., & Friedman, M. (2013). Substance Use Disorder in the Context of LGBT Health: A Social Work Perspective. Social Work in Public Health, 28, 366-376.

Straussner, S. (2012). Clinical Treatment of Substance Abusers: Past, Present and Future. Clinical Social Work Journal Clin Soc Work J, 40, 127-133.