Social Work 615

SOWK 615: Substance Abuse and Dependency

Prerequisites: Graduate standing or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

This course examines current theories and models pertaining to substance abuse and chemical dependency. It explores intervention and treatment techniques for working with chemically dependent individuals and their families, with an emphasis on diverse populations. The course integrates theory and practice skill to teach students to critically examine the clinical issues involved in substance abuse and chemical dependency treatment. Mental Health emphasis area.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Thematic Outline of the content of the Course

I. Introduction

        A. Historical overview of the alcohol and drug problem in the United States

                    1. Current and past theories of chemical dependency
                    2. Stages of the addictive process

II. Categories of drugs and their effects

        A. Assessment: DSM IV criteria
        B. Treatment Issues
        C. Dual Diagnosis
        D. Recovery, relapse prevention, family dynamics

III. Population groups

        A. Cultural competence and sensitivity
        B. Adult children of alcoholic/addictive parents; NA; A1-Anon
        C. HIV/AIDS and substance abuse


Detailed description of content of the course

This course includes theories and models of substance abuse and information on assessment, diagnosis, treatment alternatives, and relapse prevention. The course examines family dynamics in chemically dependent families and the high rate of substance abuse/dependency in the lesbian/gay population and other populations including women and other diverse communities.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals: This course is intended as an introductory graduate level immersion in domain of substance abuse for community-based family social workers. It covers the knowledge base (theories and models), skill repertoires, and values that are foundational for direct practice.

Objectives: Having completed this course students will be able to:

  • Described the theories and models of substance abuse and dependency as they apply to diverse populations
  • Describe DSM-IV criteria for the diagnosis of Alcohol abuse, Alcohol dependence, Substance Abuse, and Substance Dependence and demonstrate competence in the assessment of Substance Abuse and Dependency
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the recovery process and the including motivational interviewing
  • Identify and assess obstacles to recovery such as denial, resistance, high risk behaviors, and enabling family members
  • Describe the common causes of relapse and interventions utilized in relapse prevention
  • Analyze the strengths and limitations of relevant support groups
  • Describe the stages of a formal intervention
  • Develop assessment and intervention strategies for the individual client and family system that are sensitive to culture, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation
  • Describe the relationship between HIV/AIDS and substance abuse
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical issues and federal laws that impact work with substance abusing clients and their families
  • Recognize and understand the characteristics and dynamics of families affected by addiction including family roles and rules, codependency, and ACOA issues
  • Demonstrate knowledge of ACOA group development, dynamics, and facilitation as well as appropriate screening techniques for selecting group participants


Assessment Measures

Class participation, student presentations and/or research paper, examination


Other Course Information

Bibliography of readings relevant to the course. Students are required to attend an open Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting.


Review and Approval

February 2000 New course proposal