Social Workers and Their Role in Controlling Drug Addictions
Individuals who earn a master’s in social work, or MSW degree, may specialize in helping clients with drug-related problems. Since an addiction to drugs can impact several aspect of people’s lives, social workers often must play many roles when assisting these individuals. For instance, they may provide support to their families, help them find stable housing and ensure that they are getting proper medical attention for their addiction.
Students who are in the process of earning an MSW degree may benefit from browsing the resources below, as they can give them a better idea of what they may need to deal with in their future careers.
Information on Specific Drugs
Social workers who specialize in drug issues will find that there are a wide range of substances that people can become addicted to. By reading the resources below, MSW degree seekers can get a better idea of what specific drugs are as well as how they affect users.
Heroin: It is important for social workers to be aware of heroin, as the opiate is extremely addictive. According to this website by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it is estimated that about 23 percent of people who try heroin become addicted to it, which can lead to devastating results. This resource will give students a better idea of how heroin affects the brain and an individual’s health, which may be important to know when helping people recover from the drug’s influence.
Cocaine: Another popular, yet dangerous drug is cocaine. This website by the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that in 2009, about 4.8 million Americans above the age of 12 had tried cocaine. Due to its prevalence, it may be important for those seeking a master’s in social work to be aware of its effects on users.
Marijuana: Today, marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the nation, according to this resource by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Many users say this drug is not harmful, however, research has shown that marijuana is, in fact, addictive and can have negative effects on a person’s life.
Inhalants: Some people inhale the fumes of household cleaners, paint, markers and other products to get a temporary high. This resource from the Nemours Foundation outlines how this practice can affect the body, as well as what the signs are of inhalant abuse. Social work degree seekers may want to browse this website, as using inhalants can be extremely dangerous and, in some cases, fatal.
Prescription medications: The U.S. National Library of Medicine estimates that about 20 percent of Americans have used prescription medications for non-medical reasons. Additionally, the website states that this problem is only growing. For this reason, social workers who specialize in drug-related issues may want to review prescription medications and how they can be abused.
How Can Social Workers Help?
From finding stable housing to supporting family members, social workers play a large and varied role in assisting those with drug problems. Using these resources, students can get a better idea of what this type of professional does, as well as whether or not this career path is right for them.
Social workers and stress reduction: This website by Help Starts Here outlines how social workers can assist individuals who have developed drug dependencies lower their stress levels. Frequently, stress is a factor that pushes people towards drugs, so it may be beneficial for social workers to learn how to control their clients’ anxiety to curb their substance abuse problems.
How social workers can help addicts’ families: When people turn to drugs, they often hurt their families in the process. For this reason, some social workers concentrate on helping and supporting families when one of their members becomes plagued by a drug addiction. This resource may be particularly useful for social work degree seekers who hope to become family social workers after graduation.
Substance abuse social workers: This website by the National Association of Social Workers outlines what a career as a substance abuse social workers is like. Using this resource, MSW degree seekers can get a better idea if this specialization is right for them.
Standards for clients with substance abuse problems: The National Association of Social Workers created this document, which outlines the group’s ethical standards for working with patients who have substance abuse issues. As it can often be challenging to assist those with drug-related problems, social work degree seekers may benefit from reading this document and getting a better idea of what their role is as a professional.
Casework with children of drug addicts: Social workers who specialize in child welfare may find themselves caring for youths whose parents have problems with drugs. This website by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services outlines various issues these professionals may face in their careers.
Are you interested in helping those with substance abuse addictions? Earn your MSW Online from the University of New England and get started!