The Substance Abuse Problem
This unit examines the nature, extent, and effect of the substance abuse problem in the United States. In addition, this unit explores the continuum of substance abuse, addiction, and recovery.
The abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs places an enormous burden on the United States. Considered the nation’s number one health problem, substance abuse puts a large strain on the health care system, adds to the high cost of health care, and contributes to the death and illness of millions of Americans every year. Substance abuse also harms family life, the economy, and public safety. It gives many of our children and youth a poor start in life.
Substance abuse can result in family violence and mistreatment of children. The death of a family member due to substance abuse has lasting ramifications. Substance abuse affects the workplace as well, because employees who abuse alcohol and drugs can be less productive. In addition, the safety of many neighborhoods and the people living and working in them is threatened by the violence associated with drug sales.
Substance abuse involves patterns of increasing levels of use that result in health consequences or impairment in social, psychological, and occupational functioning. People tend to differ in their substance use behavior. Some never experiment; some do and never use again. Others use substances irregularly or become regular users, while others may develop pathological and addictive patterns of use. In the traditional sense, addiction is considered a chronic, relapsing medical condition characterized by compulsive use and is usually accompanied by craving, increased tolerance, and substantial impairment of health and social functioning. A person who is dependent on a substance needs it, often in increasing amounts, even when trying to cut back.
A tremendous opportunity exists to change the ways in which the public understands drug abuse and addiction, based on recent scientific findings about addiction and its treatment. Overcoming misconceptions and replacing ideology with scientific knowledge is the best hope for bridging the great disconnect—the gap between the public perception of drug abuse and addiction and the scientific facts. An equally tremendous opportunity exists to intervene with more cutting-edge approaches to affecting change in clients with substance and alcohol issues with the solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) and motivational therapy models.
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Explain the extent of the substance abuse problem and its effect on society.
2. Describe the continuum of use, misuse, addiction, and recovery.
3. Analyze the public perception of substance abuse and its effect on how treatment is provided.
Use your Concepts of Chemical Dependency textbook to complete the following:
• Read Chapter 1, “Why Worry About Substance Abuse?” pages 1–7. This chapter discusses the scope and cost of the problem.
• Read Chapter 2, “The Nature of the Beast,” pages 8–15. This chapter discusses the reasons people abuse chemicals, the growth of new addictions, and the state of the art.
• Read Chapter 23, “Addiction and the Family,” pages 329–338. This chapter discusses addiction and marriage and adult children of alcoholics.
• Optional – Readings
The following articles are optional readings from the Internet and the Concepts of Chemical Dependency textbook that can add insight in responding to the upcoming Local Substance Abuse discussion.
• The SAMHSA report Results From the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings.
• Chapter 26, pages 390–401 in the Concepts of Chemical Dependency text.
The following optional online readings can provide additional insight for the upcoming Town Meeting discussion.
• The SAMHSA manual Siting Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs: Legal Challenges to the NIMBY Syndrome.
• The National Institutes of Health Web site Stigma and Global Health: Developing a Research Agenda.
Assignment 2a1: 3 pages needed with 5 references.
Topic and Rationale
Topic and Rationale: The topic and rationale includes a detailed description of the client population you have chosen. Briefly discuss the historical and current policy issues that impact services to your chosen population. Examine the impact of substance abuse, addiction, recovery, and relapse on this client population. Use 2 to 3 peer-reviewed journal articles and any course materials you find useful .This initial assignment would be best addressed in 3 pages. Hope this is helpful.