What advocacy skills might be needed in countering the stigma attached to clients with Substance Use Disorder? What types of knowledge would Substance Use Disorder social worker policy advocates...

What advocacy skills might be needed in countering the stigma attached to clients with Substance Use Disorder? What types of knowledge would Substance Use Disorder social worker policy advocates need to possess to be effective? The class is policy practice for social workers.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The stigma of substance abuse is arguably a major impediment to recovery. Social worker advocates' access to care is improved by several measures:

  • Advocates for clients can begin by attaining an understanding of the individual's situation, and then by giving the client compassion.
  • Advocates can end discrimination against people with this illness by not perpetuating the negative connotations of words relative to substance abuse.
  • Advocates can attend substance abuse meetings with clients and demonstrate their moral support.
  • Advocates can assist their clients in learning how the rehabilitation system works.
  • Advocates can instruct clients in their rights.
  • Advocates can advise clients of what services and community agencies are available to them.
  • Advocates should work toward enabling clients to make wise decisions for themselves. 

In order to be effective, Substance Abuse Disorder advocates should be well organized and prepared for counseling a person with this disorder.

  • Advocates can enlist members of the community who have recovered and can advise the clients, offering much understanding.
  • Advocates should be solicitous and respectful in their counseling
  • Advocates should actively listen and ¨go above and beyond¨ in their concern.
  • Advocates should know of programs in which clients can enter.
  • Advocates should educate clients as much as possible about the dangers to their health and even lives that substance abuse can bring, including the dangers of mixing drugs.
  • Advocates should become actively involved in clients' concerns and interests.
  • Advocates should communicate clearly and be assertive, but respectful.
  • Advocates should seek a support person as one who has recovered from drugs who can truly aid the other by building support, and who will encourage others to tell their story.
  • Advocates can encourage the client to exercise since the endorphins, which are natural stress and pain fighters. Exercise will also improve a person's physical condition and appearance, lending the clients more confidence.
  • Advocates should encourage clients to network with others and find new interests.
  • Advocates should work toward improving the structure and support for their clients.
  • Advocates should educate clients as much as possible about the dangers to their health and even lives that substance abuse can bring, including the dangers of mixing drugs.
  • Advocates should become actively involved in clients' concerns and interests.
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