Course Number: 
42001

Social workers, regardless of their practice setting, frequently encounter individuals, families, and communities adversely affected by alcohol and other drug use. A 2002 survey of NASW members revealed that during the year prior to the survey 77% of members had taken one or more actions related to clients with substance use problems; these actions typically included screening, treatment, or referral. Especially relevant for social work practice is the understanding that substance use can be both adaptive and potentially maladaptive and that poverty, class, racism, social isolation, trauma, sex-based discrimination, and other social inequalities affect both people's vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with substance use problems. This course will facilitate the development of attitudes, knowledge, and skills needed for effective clinical practice with substance users. The course will review the core concepts and essential features of substance use intervention including models for understanding substance use, the transtheoretical model of change, and countertransference. We will examine a range of contemporary approaches to substance use treatment including harm reduction, motivational interviewing, and relapse prevention, and review the literature related to the implementation of these practices in the field. Additionally we will consider several special topics related to the intersection of mental illness and substance use, trauma and substance use, spirituality, and working with families, LGBTQIA individuals, women, and people with HIV. Students will be encouraged to draw on their direct practice experience with clients affected by substance use concerns.