Vulnerable Populations Paper: Substance Abuse Essay

Vulnerable Populations Paper: Substance Abuse Substance abuse disorders is easily defined when an “individual continues to use the substance despite experiencing negative consequences from their use. These negative consequences can include health problems; difficulties in their family, work, and social life; and financial and legal problems. They are said to be dependent on the substance when,” in addition to theses negative consequences, they build tolerance and experience withdrawal if they stop using the drug” (Martin, 2007, p. 265).

Substance abuse dates back to the early Americans colonies with beer that was brought over by the pilgrims and more popularly the ratification of the Constitution to prohibit the use of alcohol (“Alcohol Prohibition timeline“, n. d. ). Signs of substance abuse can come in many forms starting with social problems like loss of employment, withdrawal from family, friends, and loved ones, and irrational thoughts including actions that contribute to the user behaving criminally, and many health problems (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Adolescent and School Health [CDC], 2009).

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Demographics for the user vary from the type of substance being used, cultural background, and family genetics, and for the need to feel accepted (Tracy, 2005). Common clinical issues before treatment can begin is the client must first believe that he has a problem (Martin, 2007). As intervention, a human service worker can counsel the substance abuser friends and family member with not enabling the abuser (Martin, 2007). One of many ideas and discussions for future considerations of the issue of substance abuse is counseling and starting teaching at the adolescent level the harmful effects of drug use.

History of the Population Substance use can be dated back to the beginning of this country with the pilgrims bringing kegs of beer on the Mayflower and by 1657 a rum distillery operating in Boston (“Alcohol Prohibition timeline“, n. d. ). Alcohol and drugs use was accepted widely and used socially, medically, and for religious uses (Tracy, 2005). Substance use of opium, laudanum, and other opiates and its medical use that are regulated with the formation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and at the same time were able to criminalize the non-medical use of the same drugs (Martin, 2007).

Prohibition Prohibition was amended through the Constitution and a ban on alcohol started from 1919 and lasted until 1933 (Johnson, 2006). Prohibition was created as a prevention strategy to help control the issues early America had with its increase use of substance abuse and public displays of over drinking. The failure of prohibition was the beginning in history for substance education and the beginning of using terms such as alcoholism. Substance Abuse Treatment Formations The word alcoholism was created by Magnus Huss a physician in 1849 (Martin, 2007).

Approximately one hundred years later Alcoholics Anonymous “a fellowship of men and women” was formed (Martin, 2007, p. 257). Founded in 1935 by Dr. Bob and Bill simply stated “Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problems and help others to recover from alcoholism” (AA, n. d. ). In 1963 Marty Mann founded the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism and Information Centers within the National Institute on Mental Health (Johnson, 2006).

This formation was in an effort of government becoming involved with harm prevention of substance abuse. The Nature of the Social Problems or Issues Experienced The substance abuse problem is not just focused at the user it also affects those close to the user such as friends, family members, and society as a whole. Abusing alcohol contributes to about seventy five thousand deaths per year, forty one percent of which is from driving drunk (Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy, n. d. ).

Substances affect the users’ ability to make good judgments that usually results in the user committing crimes (Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy, n. d. ). Along with illegal behavior often a substance abuser will find themselves as homeless, spending their paychecks on their habits of using substances (Tracy, 2005). Children of abusers are affected by both possessing negative role models that set the example that drug use is not wrong and sometimes the children are placed into the care of the community because of neglect and abuse by the substance ser (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Adolescent and School Health [CDC], 2009). Other medical, social, and economic issues also are being experienced from substance abuse and use. Health Abusing central nervous system stimulants, most commonly called uppers or downers can be associated with physical and psychological problems (Martin, 2007). Excessive drinking can cause sclerosis or cancer of the liver (Khara, 2009). “As with the stimulants, tolerance builds with repeated use.

As a person needs more of the drug to feel high, they experience more of the negative side effects of the drug: loss of coordination, impaired judgment, memory problems, and the development of physical dependence” (Martin, 2007, p. 265). Demographics The number of people who use substances issues is charted by the population of Americans using alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs. Substance use and abuse were once thought to be an issue for the inner cities and only affecting the poor and indigent (Martin, 2007).

Substance abuse and substance use can vary based on socioeconomic class, family heredities, influenced by the cost and for youth sometimes by peer pressures (Tracy, 2005). Alcoholism “The lifetime prevalence in the general population for alcoholism is between 9. 4% and 14. 1%. The disorder occurs twice as often as often in males than in females. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse affect 20% or more of hospitalized and ambulatory patients (those receiving care on an outpatient basis). Alcoholism can develop in all people of all races and socioeconomic classes.

Approximately two-thirds of Americans older than 14 years drink alcohol. People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol account for about half of the total alcohol consumed, and account for almost all the socioeconomic and medical complications of alcoholism at an annual cost of $100 billion. Alcoholism ranks third in the United States as preventable disease and accounts for 5% of the total deaths in the U. S. amounting to about 100,000 people dying annually” (“Alcohol and related disorders“, n. d. , para. 15).

Common Clinical Issues and Intervention Common Clinical Issues Denial. Common clinical issue of the professional is to addressing with the client that there is a problem and to bring the client out of denial (Martin, 2007). Getting high and getting drunk are the way the client escapes reality. As an additional consideration for a human service professional is that the user’s thoughts and the way they think has been altered because of the substance and therefore may not think there is a problem (Martin, 2007).

Life has to become unbearable for a client and he has to “hit bottom” in which the consequences for the action has to have a negative enough affect to want change (Tracy, 2005). Friends, family members or other loved ones of the substance abuser may become frustrated as their viewpoint is the abuser has “hit bottom” long before receiving help (Martin, 2007). For a client to want to receive help he has to have made a decision and be ready to help themselves (Tracy, 2005). Dual Disorders. Dual disorders sometimes diagnosed in a substance abuser when he enters treatment.

Bipolar, attention deficit disorders and schizophrenia are just some of the issues a human service professional may face as the substance abuser sobers up and all need attention by the correct medical professional (“Alcohol and related disorders“, n. d. ). Professionals and treatment facilities that believe a substance abuser should have complete absence from all drugs, must be sensitive to this and ready to allow the correct medication be dispensed to the client (Martin, 2007). Interventions Some clinical interventions a human service worker can undertake is realizing behavior that enables (Tracy, 2005).

A client needs to be allowed to face the consequences of their choices and actions when they use (Martin, 2007). Human service professionals can counsel families on many different options including confronting the substance abuser on the negative effects of their actions and how it impacts their lives (Tracy, 2005). A professional can use an intervention strategy such as motivational interviewing, which is helping the substance user see he has a problem and to enter into a treatment program (Martin, 2007). Summary and Discussion of Future Considerations

Future Considerations of substance abuse and prevention should focus on the care and treatment of relapses. Programs that work the twelve steps where other members who suffer from addiction are often called mutual aid society are the most common tool a human service professional has at their disposal to help refer clients (Martin, 2007). Often substance abusers have dual health problems with mental illness and health problems (Tracy, 2005). Clinics and human service workers need to be sensitive to this and know which facility is best able to help the client and refer him correctly.

Loved ones and family members play important roles in the support system for an abuser and the human service professional should be ready to refer the family member to counseling such as Alanon, and other community based co-dependency support group meetings (Martin, 2007). Outpatient treatments or stepped down after care services should be used and utilized because they refer the substance abuser to education, counseling, and help to teach basic life living skills so that the user can reintegrate into society and functionally live (Martin, 2007).

With any treatment to be successful, the human service worker needs to have tools for continuing after care and care for substance abusers. References . (2009). Healthy youth, health topics alcohol and drug use. Retrieved from http://www. cdc. gov/HealthyYouth/alcoholdrug/index. htm Alcohol Prohibition timeline. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. aaanativearts. com/article1609. html Alcohol and related disorders. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. minddisorders. com/A-Br/Alcohol-and-related-disorders. html Alcoholics Anonymous. (n. d. . http://www. aa. org Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy. (n. d. ). Drug related crime march 2000. Retrieved from http://www. whitehousedrugpolicy. gov/publications/factsht/crime/index. html Johnson, S. (2006). The history of substance abuse prevention: 1750-2000. Retrieved from http://captus. samhsa. gov/western/resources/documents/3-SJ_03-16-06_TheHistoryofSubstanceAbusePrevention. ppt#256,1,The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention The History of Substance Abuse Prevention: 1750 – 2000 Khara,


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