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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Working with Substance Users

A Guide to Effective Interventions

ISBN 9781137278043
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Paperback Ebook 
Publisher Palgrave

Social care and health professionals encounter people with drug and alcohol problems on a daily basis, but many feel ill-equipped to respond. Although people working across various professions will approach substance users from different perspectives, the knowledge and skills needed to intervene effectively are the same for all.

With a strong emphasis on the core skills needed for practice, this up-to-date and accessible text provides a complete guide to working with substance users and their relatives. It covers the nature of problematic use and introduces theories as to why people experience substance problems and why people change. The book moves on to examine a number of effective interventions and how they can be applied, including assessment and care planning, pharmacological treatments and cognitive behavioural therapy. Distinctively, in addition to chapters on working with specific groups such as adolescents and involuntary service users, it also addresses the implications of parental problems for children and explores ways of helping adults affected by a relative's substance use.

Supported throughout by case examples and activities to help apply theories and concepts to practice, this comprehensive text equips readers with the knowledge and skills needed to work with substance users.

George Allan is a qualified social worker whose career has primarily involved working in the substance problems and criminal justice fields. He recently retired from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, where he was a lecturer specialising in teaching substance problems modules. George is the chair of Scottish Drugs Forum.

1. Defining and Experiencing Substances
2. What is a Substance Problem?
3. Why do People Develop Substance Problems?
4. Cultural Trends; Social Control
5. Why and how do People Change?
6. Effective Interventions, Competent Practitioners, Successful Services
7. Assessment and Care Planning
8. Motivational Interviewing
9. Harm Reduction; Less Intensive Treatment; Brief Interventions
10. Pharmacological Treatments
11. Interventions: Specific Approaches
12. Relapse Prevention, Endings and Follow Up Care
13. Psychological Distress and Substance Problems
14. Children Affected by Parental Problems
15. Significant Others: Adults
16. Young People: Substance Use and Substance Problems
17. Offenders and Other Involuntary Service Users
Appendix: Validated Questionnaires


A lucid and comprehensive introduction to substance use and dependence which will define undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the field for some time to come' – Ian Paylor, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Lancaster University, UK
'This broad-ranging text provides valuable insights into effective ways of working with people who use drugs' – Peter Higgs, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, Australia
'A treasure trove of useful advice and insights' – Neil McKeganey, Director of the Centre for Drug Misuse Research, UK
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