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Treating Substance Abuse/Addiction (Part II)

Contributor: Yvette McBride Thomas

Treating Illegal Drug Addiction

  • Around half a million Americans are heroin addicts, and four million are regular users of marijuana.
  • Treatment is often based on the AA model.
  • Because of incarceration of illegal drug abusers, jail is the usual context for treatment.
  • “Stay’n Out” is a prototype of a jail treatment program that works well and has a recidivism rate of only 25%.

Treating Families where there is Substance Abuse/Addiction

  • Families either promote or enable substance abuse behaviors. The whole family has to be included in the treatment.
  • Children with chemically dependent parents are at risk.
  • Alcoholic families tend to be isolated and lack positive role models.
  • Young people from dysfunctional families use substance abuse to
    • Relieve stress and anxiety and structure time.
    • Keep their minds off family dynamics and on predictable problematic behaviors.
    • Substitute for sex and promote pseudo-individuation (a false sense of self).

Treatment Services

  • Counselor can provide information.
  • Counselor may have to be confrontational with the family over the effects of substance abuse on the family and individual. An intensive systems approach must be used that also involves agencies.
  • Counselor can work to help family deal with feelings, such as anger and defense mechanisms.
  • Counselors can also help the family take responsibility for their behaviors.
  • Developmental issues are also worked on by the family.

Treating Women and Minority Cultural Groups in Substance Abuse

  • Approximately five to seven million women abuse alcohol in the US alone.
  • Women face societal rebuke and chastisement for alcohol abuse.
  • Barriers to treatment include need for childcare, cost, family opposition, and inadequate diagnosis.
  • Little evidence exists on the benefits of AA and NA on the one-third of the AA membership that women represent due to gender differences and cultural differences.
  • “Women for Sobriety” is an alternative help group program that is based on a cognitive-behavior modification approach. Thinking is changed to overcome feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, guilt, and dependence.
  • Cultural differences may play a part in the recovery process. Spiritual elements may be different for women and different ethnic backgrounds.

Affiliation, Certification, and Education of Substance Abuse Counselors


  • The International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium.
  • IC&RC’s credentials include
    • Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC)
    • Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC)
    • Clinical Supervisor (CS)
    • Prevention Specialist (PS)
    • Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP)
    • Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (CCDP)
    • Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Diplomate (CCDPD)
    • The IC&RC is currently developing a Peer Mentor (PM) credential.


  • Texas Certification Board of Addictions Professionals


  • International Association of Addictions and Offender Counseling
  • Focuses on the prevention, treatment, and description of abusive and addictive behaviors.
  • Publishes the Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling


  • National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • A national organization that certifies addiction counselors


  • In 1994 the National Board of Certified Counselors added a certification process for becoming a substance abuse counselor.

Two types of counselors

  • Recovering counselors
  • Nonrecovering counselors
Gladding, S.T. (2011). Counseling: A comprehensive profession (7th ed.). Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson-Merrill.

Preventing Substance Abuse/Addiction

Contributor: Yvette McBride Thomas

Prevention Programs

“Just Say No”

  • Sponsored by local governments and found in schools and public agencies.
  • The program’s message is incorporated into public service announcements on television to influence preteens and teens by their peers to say “no” when offered a cigarette or other addictive or dangerous substance.


  • Drug Abuse Resistance Education
  • Found in late elementary and early middle school grades
  • Uses police as instructors and provides case scenarios that challenge fifth and sixth graders to think about and answer them.

S.A.D.D. and M.A.D.D.

  • Students against Drunk Driving
  • Mothers against Drunk Driving
  • These associations help educate and orient young people about the hazards of drug abuse and the dangers of addiction

Tobacco and Cocaine Programs

  • These programs focus on the external and internal factors important to teens. External factors
  • External factors include: breath, teeth, clothes, and costs.
  • Internal factors include: lifestyle choices, time management, and nutrition.
  • Group pressure and dynamics are common elements in prevention.
  • Adolescents who get involved in the use of drugs do so because of friends who use drugs.
  • When a group perceives drugs as hazardous, its members are less likely to engage in the behavior.
  • Educational and support groups are a valuable tool to help ward off abuse and addictive behaviors
Gladding, S.T. (2011). Counseling: A comprehensive profession (7th ed.). Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson-Merrill.


Orientation includes describing to the client the nature and goals of the program; the rules of client’s conduct and the violations that can lead to disciplinary measures or discharge from the program; in the case of out-patient programs, the hours during which services are available; treatment costs that need to be paid by the client, and client’s rights.

Global Criteria

  • Provide an overview to the program, describing the program goals and objectives for client care.
  • Provide the client with a description of the program rules, and client’s obligations and rights.
  • Provide information about the program hours of operation.

Miller, Geri. “Learning the Language of Addiction Counseling.” 2nd ed.

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