Substance Abuse Social Work is a subfield of social work that includes focused work with individuals struggling from substance use and addiction. Degree programs in this field can prepare you to work with clients that seek out help independently or those that are receiving treatment through substance abuse centers or the court system.

Substance Abuse Social Work Degree Programs

Typical MSW Substance Abuse Social Work Coursework to Expect

Upon entry to the Master of Social Work program, you can expect to participate in advanced courses related to social work practice in your field. Courses like Advanced Practice Using the MSLC Perspective can introduce incoming social work professionals to a dynamic view of cultural and ethnic differences through the lens of the Multi-Systems Life Course.

Since Substance Abuse Social Workers can work with individuals from different backgrounds and experiences, it is important for these professionals to be knowledgeable about different cultures, what is expected within those cultures, and the behavioral differences present within each culture system.

Psychology of Addiction

Courses directly related to the Substance Abuse specialty can include the Psychology of Addiction. In order to work with and provide services to individuals struggling with addiction, social work professionals should understand the brain’s involvement in addiction and how chemical dependence manifests within the human body.

Direct Practice

Students enrolled in Substance Abuse MSW degree programs can expect to take standard and advanced courses in Social Work Practice. This course can outline some of the most common interventions for the population being served, as well as the standard assessments used to create relevant treatment plans for clients.

A look into the various treatment settings can also be a large portion of learning in this course, since the work environment can affect the types of interventions used. Some common environments for Substance Abuse Social Workers includes long and short-term treatment facilities, mental health organizations, and within state welfare agencies.

Substance Abuse Social Work Careers

Substance Abuse Social Work may be a sector of general social work that is growing with popularity as the years progress. There is a worldwide battle against drug abuse ensuing, including a widespread public health issue within the United States.

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In order to properly fight the addiction struggle within the U.S., it is important for social work professionals to partner with criminal justice agencies, state welfare divisions, and mental health practices to help intervene with people with addictions are in need of life-changing interventions.

Role of Substance Abuse Social Workers

The role of the Substance Abuse Social Worker can be to step in as an individual planner, action taker, and guide through the complex process of rehabilitation and environmental change. In this area you can work individually with people that are willing to make change towards a healthier life.

Part of your role as a social worker in this field can be organizing rehabilitative services for your client and assisting them with finding resources related to education, their own well-being, and potentially careers. Providing former addicts with resources for a healthier and happier life can help with creating a personal environment that is not supportive of drug or alcohol abuse.

Another interesting component related to professionals in this field is that most continue to interact and work with their clients until they are at a safe discharge point. It can be extremely rewarding in this field to watch as people reap the benefits of services and provisions as they make vital changes in their own lives.

What Types of Jobs in Substance Abuse Social Work Are There?

If you are one of the many social work professionals considering a move into Substance Abuse Social Work, you could make a difference in the lives of people struggling with various forms of addiction. Addiction is one of the most dangerous mental health situations for individuals in the U.S., and can affect addicted individuals and all of the people surrounding them.

Direct Care Facilities

You can find careers in Substance Abuse Social Work in multiple treatment settings, many of which providing direct care to individuals wishing to make positive changes to their lives. One of the most popular careers options for social workers in this field is within Substance Abuse treatment facilities.

Sobriety Centers

Individuals pursuing careers within treatment facilities can assist clients with developing individualized treatment plans and finding resources both inside and outside of treatment that can help with maintaining long-term sobriety.

State Agencies

Substance Abuse Social Workers may also work for state agencies that provide services to children and families. Since the drug crisis is running rampant throughout the country, the need for more experienced and intensive social workers in this field may be constantly on the rise.

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Court System

Social workers within this specialty can also work in areas such as the court system, criminal justice, and mental health practice. In each of these areas, social workers may partner within individuals that are experiencing the legal or emotional ramifications of drug and alcohol abuse.

As a Substance Abuse Social Worker, you can help people access resources to change their lives for the better. In some cases, you may provide the guidance needed to keep families together and lead to long-lasting lives for those being served.