Special Populations – Substance Abuse
This paper will consider information illustrating the fact that there are many special populations that have a real need for services from social agencies. A special population can be explained as a group of people that need assistance in order to function and have as normal and productive quality of life as possible. They are unable to do this on their own because of a disability or deficiency that creates a disadvantage not necessarily experienced by the mainstream population. (Rothman & Sager 1998)
One of these special populations is those who have a problem with substance abuse. For approximately the last forty years substance abuse, which includes drugs and alcohol, has been a growing problem in countries around the world. This problem is of particular concern among adolescents however, this problem affects people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Substance abuse can be a very painful experience for individuals, which may seem impossible to them to overcome. Some counselors choose to deal with this special population because, many, over the years have had several friends and family members who have had problems with substance abuse providing he/she with a more intimate view of the problem. It is necessary to acquire understanding of the various causes and reasons why an individual becomes a user of controlled substances, how different situations and influencing factors play a part and can lead to substance abuse. The causes seem to be somewhat varied for different individuals. It is interesting to understand why and how the same behavior in individuals can stem from different causes, but the same behavior is manifested. In addition, an understanding of what must be addressed in order for a person to overcome a problem with the abuse and what must be done on the individual’s part and the part of any concerned person interested in offering help, including case managers in formal settings is necessary. Many students are limited by inexperience in actual case management, but may have personal experience with this population, which would be a strength to be utilized. Support programs for substance abusers have proved to be important and successful. A case manager working in the field with this special population can use the insight gained through personal experience, which could be of great benefit and assist in helping those with particular needs.
To aid a client in overcoming a substance abuse problem a general objective would be to establish a relationship with the client, which would breed a climate of trust and mutual cooperation. To use case management effectively the clinician must link clients with services that are best suited to help with specific needs. At the outset the clinician must confer with the client to ascertain what the client wants to accomplish. It must be determined what is attainable for the client and then decided what goals will be set along with a reasonable time frame for when they can be achieved. The case manager must review programs that are available for clients and tailor recommendations and referrals accordingly. The case manager will also help in deciding what goals need to be achieved mutually between an agency and the client and what must be achieved individually. The case manager working with any information obtained concerning the client’s situation can give recommendations for a psychiatrist if there are any accompanying psychiatric issues. If there are behavioral goals the client wants to achieve the case manager can also give recommendations for a therapist or psychologist as the need exists. The main focus for the client is an effective substance abuse program, but the case manager’s view must be comprehensive and the client must be linked with agencies that will help give them the skills needed to increase and sustain coping abilities and how to perform in social working situations. The case...