Substance Abuse Intervention, Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Systems Change Strategies: Helping Individuals, Families, and Groups to Empower Themselves

Substance Abuse Intervention, Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Systems Change Strategies: Helping Individuals, Families, and Groups to Empower Themselves

Substance Abuse Intervention, Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Systems Change Strategies: Helping Individuals, Families, and Groups to Empower Themselves

Substance Abuse Intervention, Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Systems Change Strategies: Helping Individuals, Families, and Groups to Empower Themselves

Synopsis

This book is the first to utilize the empowerment approach of social work practice with substance-abusing clients, bridging clinical, community, and social policy approaches in order to place individual addiction in its sociopolitical context. As Lorraine Guti¿rrez points out in her foreword, the book "challenges us to transform our thinking about substance abuse and move beyond our existing focus on individual deficits." Arguing that pathology-focused definitions of substance abuse tend to transform people into their problems, Freeman instead advocates for strengths-centered policies and regulations as the means to empower clients, communities, and society as a whole. Freeman outlines basic empowerment principles and practices, then details the service delivery processes; offers a context for power, policy, and funding decisions; and examines the needs of special populations. Case examples supplement each chapter, and the final part examines four exemplary programs that demonstrate the empowerment process in action.

Excerpt

It is true that what is personal is political, and what is political is also personal (Davis and Hagen 1995). Therefore, to attempt to address substance abuse prevention and rehabilitation only at the personal and interpersonal level is to perpetuate a trend toward victim blaming. Solomon (1987) reminds us that “practice models that rely heavily on intrapsychic explanations for clients' problems in functioning” have not been effective (79). Therefore, rather than using a traditional clinical focus, this text attempts to connect direct service, community, administration, and policy practice in the substance abuse field. This broad, integrated approach is consistent with social work values and the ecological perspective as well as empowerment practice. An underlying assumption of empowerment practice is that clients' and communities' problems in living, their substance abuse and addiction problems, and therefore, the resolution of those problems are justifiably linked to personal, interpersonal, and environmental factors. Conflicting explanations for rehab failures (clients' recidivism and drop-out rates) and the ineffectiveness of community prevention efforts have recently led practitioners and researchers to begin to apply power concepts to substance abuse problems.

Consequently, this book clarifies how important aspects of the larger sociopolitical environment, the community, and service programs themselves influence clients' opportunities for empowerment and the quality of intervention, prevention, and rehabilitation services. The sociopolitical environment includes norms, values, policies, and practices that affect both the . . .

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