Table of Contents
It is increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that practice of social work is proactively developing so that it has been divided into numerous categories. In such a way, social work addresses a wide range of problems of the modern community. Needless to say, it is a positive tendency regarding the global issues, but it is worth saying that global processes comprised by the related evidence in every single country, which has implemented social work as a regular practice in dealing with the most widespread social problems and controversies. Besides these facts, it is important to note that the majority of such practices heavily rely on the proactive involvement of case managers, who are supposed to coordinate social work in the direction towards of the desired objectives.
Taking this point into consideration, it is to be said that case management-driven practice is becoming a central interest of social work. Hence, it is important to determine the implications of this orientation in order to get sufficient knowledge for the further development of this practice. There are a wide range of social problems, to which this practice can be applied, but it is necessary to pay attention to the case management in dealing with substance abusers because it is one of the biggest problems. Actually, it is becoming increasingly apparent that this practice has not developed a clear methodology and guidelines, especially in the United States. Doubtless, this evidence has certain implications, which are supposed to be revealed. Therefore, the current paper gives an account to the discussion and analysis of the practice of case management in dealing with drug abusers in the United States.
The practice of case management in dealing with treatment of substance abusers dates back to the 1970’s when the similar support was given to homeless, mentally ill, or elder people in the United States of America. Later, this practice was switched to the counseling of drug addicts so that in 1990, USA and Canada officially started first practices. In contrast, this practice emerged in Europe only in the beginning of 2000’s. To be more exact, Belgium and Netherlands were the pioneers of the European version of this practice as long as these countries were facing a fast increase in substance abuse, which was mainly related to the criminal outcomes. In such a way, case management in dealing with drug addicts has become a commonplace practice, which is regarded as the most prominent way of socially-based treatment of substance abusers. Still, it is important to mention that this practice does not presuppose a sophisticated methodology and universal guidelines.
In fact, it is a considerable issue as the practice cannot receive a full governmental support and develop a commonly applied system of framework and guidelines. One may argue that every single case is unique so that the practice is required to stick to the individual approach. It is certainly true, and the past experience has proved that fact, but it is worth saying that the practice still is not able to develop the basic principles, which can be applied to any case. There has been a little agreement on the decision regarding an approach the practice should take finally, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that the practice evidently lacks scientific involvement from the empirical perspective. Moreover, this practice should pay more attention to the experience of clientele under the treatment because their reflexive feedback contributes much to the design of the overall framework (De Maeyer, Kolind, & Vanderplasschen; 2009). Generally speaking, the past experience has resulted in the common recognition of this practice while the issue of universal methodology remains a contemporary problem.
Regarding the current state of the practice, it is necessary to admit that it is trying to be particularly focused on the methodology of problem-solving, which occurs to be efficient concerning the social perspective of drug abuse. In fact, this methodology assumes that the related law cannot make drug addicts return to a productive life. That is why this sort of problems is commonly regarded both social and personal. Therefore, case managers take the responsibility to help drug addicts to cope with a so-called cluster of personal problems. It is becoming increasingly apparent that drug addiction is followed by the problems related to making a proper living: unemployment, lack of cash for paying rents, conflicts in the family, etc. Hence, case managers help to address these problems, as well (Castellano, 2011).
On the contrary, it is pivotal to mention that the current status of the practice presupposes a treatment from the perspective of therapy. Actually, a therapy should be conducted dynamically. Every single step should be a logical connection to the previous and the following ones. Even more, the progress of this treatment is observed not only by a therapist and a case manager but by the entire community. This aspect is included because of the necessity to make a substance abuser feel needed by the society. As a consequence, case managers usually obtain an expanded spectrum of functions as long as they are intending both to support and challenge the clientele in overcoming their problems with substance abuse. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the practice is currently attempting to formulate certain methodology by the choice of problem-solving approach, but it has not yet developed distinct sets of activities, which will meet the related objectives.
The Extents of Success in The United States
As it has been already mentioned, the practice started developing in the 70’s in the United States. Needless to say, it is mainly applied to substance addicts in jails and prisons because the majority of drug addicts have committed related crimes of various grade of severity. To be more precise, approximately 82% of imprisoned drug addicts were consuming drugs at the moment of committing an offense. Unfortunately, only 1% of them ask voluntary for help and treatment. Still, it is worth saying that the majority of these addicts recover after the treatment and start a normal life though (Gregrich, Gulotta, & Leukefeld; 2011). Actually, there are a wide range of issues involved in such low percentage, but it is necessary to place the emphasis on the fact that the practice actually demonstrates positive results. Therefore, the core of the problem is referred to some external factors.
In fact, it is mainly the matter of poor promotion and insufficient support from the side of the government. Regarding promotion, it is essential to note that it is not convincing enough. In other words, drug addicts are informed with the suggested services but they do not see a real benefit for them regarding giving up taking drugs as long as the promotion of the treatment has a vague form. In addition, the government has cut the budgeting of such programs because of numerous reasons even though it started supporting them initially. As it has been already explained, the lack of general methodology makes this practice less reliable so that it is not considered by the government as an approach which is eligible for a substantial investing. The issue of budgeting is also influenced by certain legal aspects, which also need to be discussed.
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Among numerous legal requirements to the practice of treatment of substance abusers, it is necessary to highlight the obligation to hold a master’s degree for every single professional, who is involved in this practice. It is quite reasonable requirement as long as it is mainly non-healthcare-related organizations so that a sufficient level of qualification is extremely important. Actually, it is the basis for guarantees to receive a support from the side of the government. Besides that, the related legislation obliges these organizations with providing a full access to the data. In addition, a person who seeks the help and treatment should be given a necessary counseling and assistance. It is one of the most significant legal requirements so that it should be also given an account. This requirement has its peculiarities so that it will be addressed additionally.
To be more exact, non-profit organizations do not undergo any additional legislation, except the outlined one. On the contrary, it is worth saying that in case an organization is registered as for-profit, it is supposed to meet the requirements of healthcare legislation and licensing as long as it is registered as a healthcare company. Still, any of these organizations are supposed to be closely related to prisons and jails in order to create a watch list and prioritize the treatment of potential and revealed drug addicts (Hawdon & Kleiman, 2011). What is more, the related organizations are still inspected by the government. It does not suggest any particular framework and guidelines but verifies the legal perspective and measures the effectiveness of performance. It should be noted that success of performance is not judged regarding promotion or penalty of an organization. Actually, it is one of the reasons why the practice does not have the overall methodology.
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Concerning the further development of the practice, it is necessary to admit that the development is expected to be oriented at three dimensions: personal, social, and national. As for personal dimension, the practice will need to eliminate vagueness of its methodology by the implementation of involuntary-driven involvement of clientele. In other words, case managers should be more demanding towards drug addicts in order to challenge them to give up taking drugs. This approach has already demonstrated its positive results because many substance abusers simply lack motivation and desire to quit taking drugs. As a consequence, case managers take responsibility of the main guides of the treatment (Encandela et al., 1999). They coordinate the work of other specialists and strictly control individuals under the treatment. Surprisingly, such severe approach underpins the fact that substance addicts confide in case managers. It is a considerable booster for treatment as these people find real support. Psychologically, they cannot let down people they are trusting. That is why they keep following strict rules and stick to the plan of treatment, which is also regarded as an important aspect of the treatment. In such a way, the practice is recommended to take the approach of strict rules and accurate following the treatment plan. These requirements can be regarded as the main metrics of the general methodology.
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Speaking about the dimension of community, it is worth mentioning that it is able to promote this practice. First of all, a meaningful social advertising campaign can be launched in order to inform the widest range of the U.S. citizens about the fact that in case they have problems with substance abuse, they can heavily rely on the suggested help, which will be surely provided. By the same token, it is recommended to initiate public actions and meetings, which will demonstrate the support of people, who are under the treatment. It is quite essential aspect as it underpins the desire of substance abusers to proceed in the treatment process in order to return to a normal life. To the broadest extent, a society is supposed to show that it needs drug addicts to return to a normal life. In order to do that, numerous social movements can initiate meetings and public presentations regarding this practice. In addition, the influence of online-based media should be considered. This information is advised to be practically-oriented so that the target audience can clearly understand the benefits of this practice. Therefore, proactive promotion via social media platforms is an efficient way to develop the social relations of the practice.
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Finally, it should be noted that national dimension is also important because it is responsible for the amendments in the related law. As it has been already discussed, the law verifies but does not regulate the practice strongly. It is suggested to implement certain guidelines, which can be integrated with the already outlined methodology of the practice. These guidelines need to be distinct and strict as well because the efficiency of collaboration with the government should be justified. As a result, the practice will obtain a distinct and universally applicable framework. Accordingly, the government will be expected to provide a sufficient investment as long as the practice has become totally governmentally-driven. Besides that, the government is recommended to support the practice from the perspective of financing individuals under the treatment as many of them are facing hardships with making a normal living regarding family support, rent payments, etc. That will help to eliminate social as well criminal perspective of substance abuse because the majority of cases are related to social and personal problems of substance abusers.
All in all, it is to be admitted that this paper has lingered upon the discussion and analysis of the practice of case management in dealing with substance abusers in the United States of America. To be more exact, the paper has given a historical context of the issue initially. Then, the current status of the practice has been described. The study has contextualized this knowledge in terms of the United States and estimated its success. In addition, the paper has given an account to the related policies and their impacts on the progress of the practice’s development. As a consequence, the paper has suggested the direction for the further development of the practice, which should obtain three dimensions: personal, social, and national. These recommendations are related to the improvement of the promotion of the practice, formation of its overall methodology, and legal requirements, which can establish an effective cooperation with the government.
To conclude, it is necessary to admit that the contemporary state of the practice still requires a development of distinct and commonly applied framework and overall methodology. Therefore, the study has suggested the orientation at the involuntary involvement of substance abusers in the process of treatment. This approach presupposes a wide range of responsibilities for case managers as they are recommended to be the primary guides for the entire treatment. Besides that, the suggested approach considers the psychological and social perspectives as long as the majority of problems with drug addiction are related to personal and social hardships of substance abusers. Hence, the paper has recommended a strict following the plan of treatment and clientele being confided in case managers. In the end, it is necessary to suggest the direction for the further research, which will be oriented at the suggestion of a detailed improvement of the practice regarding the outlined dimensions.
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